Our deepest condolences to Bagel Shop employee Valentina Kot-Osipian on the loss of her beloved father.
The Bagel Shop Café is celebrating its first birthday and asked its most loyal customer who came in the very first day and still visits often for her thoughts. Violeta Palčinskaitė is a poet, playwright, scene designer and translator, but is perhaps best known as a writer of children’s books. Several generations have grown up loving her poems and stories.
“Of course I have been visiting the Bagel Shop from the first day. It’s comfortable and feels like home, and the bagels really remind me of the baronkos of my childhood, which mother used to coat in half and spread with butter. Memories gently returned when I tasted that first bagel. The important thing is that you will something here which you will nowhere else! I like spending time here because all other cafés are more or less the same, but here you make real Jewish treats thanks to the creative women in charge who have inherited the food-making methods and can pass it on from generation to generation, and without whom that legacy would perish. I remember how I searched for the treat of my childhood, unsweetened baronkos, but it was never the same. Traveling in foreign countries, I once discovered the bagel in America, then in Israel, and I was overjoyed. That’s why I find it a very happy thing to come to the Bagel Shop in the center of Vilnius, besides which, it has the very best coffee which I have ever had in the city.
“I like the atmosphere, the café is cozy, it feels like being at home. I come often, whenever I can, and it doesn’t matter if beigalakh were supposed to be for breakfast or lunch. I can eat bagels day and night. My favorite is the bagel and lox, and with sprat, another smoked fish. I like the teiglakh the most, and I bring friends from Vilnius and foreign visitors in. They are very satisfied. I told my friend about the best coffee just last night. So let them all come and sample, and not just the coffee,” Palčinskaitė said, asked what draws her to the Bagel Shop.
Currently she has many meetings with her readers. Her book “Atminties babilonai, arba aš vejuos vasarą” is one of the selections for Book of the Year. It’s a collection of memories from her happy childhood home in Kalvarija. It’s a complex testimony of the Soviet era and self-deprecating look at her own daily life as a writer, and stories about important Lithuanian cultural figures.
Palčinskaitė says it’s difficult to find time for all the meetings with readers. “Readers who would vote for my book are waiting for me. And the Book Fair is coming soon, the meetings are increasing, and there isn’t enough time to go to the Bagel Shop today,” she told us.
photo: Vidmantas Balkūnas / 15min.lt
The Bagel Shop Café is gradually becoming an unofficial Lithuanian Jewish Community tourism center. Although there is an official tourism center in Vilnius, it’s not as successful. So if you want to get the newest information about what to see, what to taste and with whom to speak, you’ll likely find it at the shop at Pylimo street no. 4. It should be noted it wasn’t supposed to serve this function. In 2014 the project, still in draft form, was born as a tolerance campaign against public expressions of anti-Semitism and hate. But in the end it became a real, cozy place.
Full story in Lithuanian here.
One beautiful December afternoon director Vida Pulkauninkienė and members of the Dukstyna Tolerance Education Center travelled to Vilnius to meet with Jewish Community member Geršonas Taicas. The knowledgeable Taicas took them on a tour of the Vilnius Old Town and told them about famous Jewish personalities.
During the walking tour Taicas took them to the remnants of the old city wall where in the early 17th century the Bastillion was built at the Subocz Gate. This is a defensive fortification consisting of a tower, an artillery section and a tunnel connecting them. From there they walked to a location where the city and its surrounding areas are clearly visible and took in the view.
On Strazdelio street they saw the building where the Romm publishing house operated.
They also saw the building where Jascha Heifetz, the famous 20th century violinist, studied.
Travel journalist and photographer Evgenii Golomolzin from St. Petersburg, Russia, has written a long piece about the culinary experiences available in Vilnius, with the Bagel Shop featured prominently.
Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city where all sorts of ethnic dishes are on offer, he writes. As a heavily Jewish city of many centuries, it has preserved Jewish traditions even after the Holocaust. There is an old Jewish quarter. A year ago the Bagel Shop Café appeared as well. The kosher café the Bagel Shop is an exotic attraction. The Bagel Shop is located at Pylimo street no. 4. The café is not large and is very simple, but original. It feels like a small apartment with the books and knickknacks on the shelves. You can read the books as you sip coffee, you can buy a Hebrew dictionary or a Jewish calendar. But people come here not for the books, but for the real Jewish treats and the bagels (€0.85 apiece). Five kinds are sold at the café.
The display case also has lekakh, a Jewish sweet-cake; imberlakh, a pastry made of carrots, ginger and orange; and teiglakh, small cakes cooked in honey. You can order something more filling, for example, soup with dumplings (€2.00), an egg-salad sandwich (€3.60), tuna sandwich (€3.60) or hummus sandwich (€3.60). It’s all delicious. The café opened just recently—in 2016—but has already become a tourist attraction, the St. Petersburg-based travel publication writes.
Full story in Russian with very nice photographs here.
Chuck Hughes, the Canadian celebrity chief who has an entire collection of series on Canada’s Food Network cable channel and the owner of two renowned restaurants in Montréal, visited the Bagel Shop Café last week.
Best known for his show Chuck’s Day Off, now carried by the Cooking Network on cable networks in the United States as well, Hughes has a special place in his heart and his kitchen for seafood.
The LJC’s Ilona Rūkienė caught up with Chuck last week and asked him a few questions.
The Israeli booth at the annual International Christmas Fair on December 4 at Old Town Hall Square in Vilnius, set up jointly with the Bagel Shop of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, offered passer-by kosher snacks and kosher wine and all types of souvenirs. Young female volunteers from the Bagel Shop Café “manned” the booth and cheerfully explained every item on offer to visitors. The embassy of the State of Israel and the Lithuanian Jewish Community were both very happy with the success of the joint venture and with having the opportunity to contribute to the noble goal of the fair. The Israeli embassy booth took in 1,310.80 euros during the event.
Our deepest gratitude goes out to the volunteers:
Eglė Rimkevičiūtė, Unė Kormilcevaitė, Agota Laurinavičiūtė and Naomi Alon
This fair brings together for charity work annually representatives of the different embassies in Vilnius who present hand-made items for sale to city residents and guests. Thirty-four different countries and a number of communities as well as five international schools in Vilnius are represented traditionally at the winter holiday fair. Income from the Christmas charity fair goes to the coffers of a charity fund which currently supports 10 organizations: The Raseiniai Special-Needs School, the Way of Hope Raseiniai day center, the Vilijampolė social welfare home, the Visaginas social services center, the Overcoming Crises Center, a home for the elderly in Alanta in the Molėtai region, the hospital of the Lithuanian Health Sciences University, the Tautmilės Globa animal shelter, the Family Home of Mother Teresa and the Vilties Namai charity and welfare fund. The International Women’s Association of Vilnius of women from Lithuania and foreign countries who are temporarily living and working in Vilnius stages the International Christmas Charity Fair annually.
Recently events held by the Lithuanian Jewish Community have surpassed one another in the quality of organization and the positive emotional interest and participation by Community members have been a source of joy. LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky would like to thank organizers and participants:
“All of your contributions have made the life of Community members more interesting and diverse. We will remember the warm and moving moments we spent together when we all kneaded dough together with our daughters and grand-daughters, with our friends and guests during Sabbath challa-making events at all the communities in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Panevėžys, Ukmergė and Šiauliai, all of us joining together for the first time in the global Jewish Shabbos Project. I thank project coordinator Dovilė Rūkaitė, all the heads of the regional Lithuanian Jewish communities and the Bagel Shop cooks who participated together. I also thank the Lithuanian Cultural Council who supported the project.
I would also like to thank the organizers of the Mini-Limmud conference and its main supporters, the European Jewish Fund and the Goodwill Foundation, who supported the preparation of the program and the organization of interesting meetings. The traditional Limmud conference never fails to attract a group of concerned and engaged members of the LJC and their families to its ceremonial Sabbath dinner. It is important for us to come together and talk, to spend time in a pleasant environment, so we always strive to gather on weekends, in a beautiful natural setting at a good hotel, and to invite interesting guests to take part in a meaningful program, see famliar faces and discuss current events. Mini-Limud coordinator Žana Skudovičienė, who fields all preferences and ideas for the conference and balances different interests, insured that this year’s Limmud was memorable and event which provided good emotions and rest and recreation.
Thank you, all of you!
Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman
Lithuanian Jewish Community
The International Women’s Association of Vilnius invited guests to a prayer brunch at the embassy of the United Kingdom Thursday. Here for the fourteenth time an international charity Christmas fair was presented. This year the charity fair’s organizing committee is led by a member of the International Women’s Association of Vilnius, wife of the British consul Ethel Cushing. She said preparations for the fair are a long process demanding a lot of energy and time which takes almost an entire year.
This year the Bagel Shop was invited to participate.
An International Food Fair will also cause a stir at the Old Town Square in Vilnius December 3 with booths representing Turkey, the Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Japan, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and the International Women’s Association of Vilnius.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Shabbos Project event on Thursday, November 10, attracted a large number of participants including a majority of young people.
The event was held in the large space behind the Bagel Shop on the first floor.
Mainly girls and women but also a few young men took up stations around a number of tables preset with ingredients and mixing bowls. Different tables had different dominant languages. The largest group pushed two tables together, and spoke mainly English with some Hebrew, members and friends of the Lithuanian Jewish Student Union mainly in their 20s. United States ambassador to Lithuania Anne Hall and LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky shared a table with staff from the Bagel Shop. Another table conversed in Russian, another in Lithuanian, and children and younger people predominated at a normal and a small table near the back, including several students from the Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium.
From the stage a presentation of challa and the Sabbath was provided, including a symbolic lighting of the Sabbath candles. A Sabbath song was performed by the cantor of the Choral Synagogue accompanied by violin. Rabbi Shimson Izakson was on hand for the entire event as well.
The Gesher Club and the Kaveret Club for young families at the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite you to attend a warm and cozy Sabbath celebration at 7:00 P.M. on November 11 on the third floor of the LJC at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. For more information please contact Žana Skudovičienė at telephone number +370 678 815 14.
Press release, November 9, 2016
For the third year in a row Jewish communities around the world will host challa baking events and Sabbath celebrations. More than 1,006 cities around the world are participating in this enchanting event, and this year Vilnius is one of them. The Lithuanian Jewish Community officially joins the Shabbat Project Thursday, November 10, when we will host an evening of baking that special Jewish bread called challa with Community members and friends.
Challa is a special bread baked for Sabbath and holidays among Jewish families. The process of making and breaking challa is deeply rooted in tradition and religion. The word’s primary meaning is that of loaf or bun, as recorded in the Book of Numbers or Bamidbar in the Old Testament or Tanakh, and was one of the first commandments given the Israelites as they were preparing to leave the wilderness for the Promised Land: “Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering: as ye do the heave offering of the threshing floor, so shall ye heave it.” (Numbers 15:20)
The event will feature a brief history of the Sabbath, music and hymns, kneading the dough together and baking traditional Sabbath challa. Ester Izakson, the wife of the rabbi of Vilnius, will lead the event. She will present the ceremony of separating a portion of the dough for the cohen, the haFrashat khalva, one of the three commandments incumbent of women in Judaism.
We’ll begin activating the yeast at 6:00 P.M. on November 10 at the Bagel Shop Café, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius. The Lithuanian Cultural Council is supporting the event.
The event will be attended by Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky with family members, foreign ambassadors and guests.
For more information, contact Dovilė Rūkaitė, director of projects for the Lithuanian Jewish community, at email@example.com
The international Shabbat Project involves more than a million Jews in 84 countries
Tel Aviv is epicenter of global Shabbat initiative in Israel.
Shabbat Project participants baking challah together in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The number of cities expected to join in this week’s annual global Shabbat is approaching 1,000, and organizers expect it to surpass that number.
This is the third year of the Shabbat Project since it launched in 2014, and the number of participants has grown exponentially from year to year, with an estimated one million having taken part last year in 919 cities and 84 countries across the globe.
This year, 57 new cities have committed to take part, from Lodz in Poland, to Hoorn in the Netherlands, Alphaville in Brazil and Hollywood, USA.
The tag line of this year’s Shabbat Project is “Shabbat can do that.”
“In 2014 and again in 2015, through the transformative power of Shabbat, we’ve seen individuals and communities accomplish great things; things that before were not thought possible,” explains the brains behind the initiative, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein. “We’ve seen walls torn down, families rejuvenated, deep feelings awakened, deep friendships formed. This is what Shabbat can do,” he adds.
Full story here.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you to participate in the international Shabbos project!
We’re inviting all Community members to come bake challa and celebrate the Sabbath together on November 10 in Vilnius!
Jewish communities around the world will be baking traditional challa bread on November 10. This fun project has been going on for three years and includes Jewish communities in 65 countries. This is the first time the Lithuanian Jewish Community is participating. We’re inviting all regional communities, families, mothers and daughters to gather together and bake challa together in their own communities. Grandmothers, mothers, granddaughters, we’re hoping you will all come knead challa together at one table!
Registration is required because space is limited. goo.gl/fEmzp4
6:00 P.M. We activate the yeast and knead the dough
6:30 P.M. The story of the Sabbath
7:00 P.M. We braid the challa
7:30 P.M. We bake the challa
More information available here.
Sukkah at Bagel Shop Café on central Pylimo street in Vilnius
Sukkot, the Jewish feast of tents which is often translated in English as the feast of tabernacles, begins on the evening of October 16 this year, or Tishrei 15 on the Jewish calendar. A booth is built for Sukkot called a sukkah where for seven days the family has dinner, children play and as much time as possible is spent. That’s how it works in warmer climates, and today there are sukkah houses outside homes across Israel. Many Jews build the shelters in their yards or even on apartment balconies.
Why spend time in temporary shelters? The answer comes from Leviticus (Vaikra) 23:42-43: “Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
It’s traditional to place the four species or arba minim in the tent or booth during the holiday. These are the etrog (a specific kind of citrus fruit), and branches from palm trees, willows and myrtle trees. Leviticus 23:40: “And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.” The branches and fronds are traditionally used to decorate the booths and waved during the holiday.
Jews often take their evening meal in the shelter and recall the flight of their people from Egypt. However you choose to celebrate the holiday, the Lithuanian Jewish Community wishes you and your family a happy Sukkot!
Žydų gatvė (Jewish Street, aka Yidishe Gas, aka ulica Żydowska), where the traditional Jewish quarter and the Great Synagogue of Vilnius was located, got a new sign in Yiddish and Hebrew Tuesday.
This was one in a continuing series of new signs in foreign languages, a controversial effort by Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius to showcase the multicultural identity of the Lithuanian capital. Earlier signs in “minority” languages included ones for Islandijos [Iceland] street, Washington Square, Varšuvos [Warsaw] street, Rusų [Russian] street and Totorių [Tatar] street in Vilnius.
The Community’s kosher café the Bagel Shop invites you to come in and try some of new menu items for fall, including new bagels, Israeli salads and fresh-squeezed juice. Our new menu is displayed below and you can download it as well, or just stop by at Pylimo no.4 in Vilnius during regular business hours and see if you don’t find something which makes your mouth water. Oh, and we’re baking fresh challa bread every Friday.