Jewish Cuisine

Sampling Kosher Food in Ukmergė

Monday Ukmergė Jewish Community member Elena Jakiševa met Viktorija Marija Lukoševičiūte from Vilnius, a student from Vilnius University who is writing her final bachelor’s work on kosher food. She conducted an interview and then they both went to the hotel/restaurant Big Stone in Ukmergė (Vilkomir), which has kosher dishes on offer. Big Stone makes kosher dishes in cooperation with members of the Ukmergė Jewish Community, including Elena Jakiševa.

Israeli Independence Day Celebration at Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium

“I thank God He has sent us the sun. And I thank God we will be celebrating the 70th birthday of the State of Israel next year,” Miša Jakobas, principal of the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium told a large crowd of students, teachers, parents, prominent members of the Jewish community and well-wishers on Tuesday at a celebration of Yom haAtzmaut, Israeli independence day, in the athletics field behind the school.

Children assembled well before the official start of the celebration to practice singing and dance moves, and slowly the crowd coalesced into a ring around pupils performing songs in Hebrew, including haTikvah, the Israeli national anthem, and Yerushalayim shel zahav, Jerusalem the Gold, as a warm golden sun promised the belated onset of spring. Small plastic Israeli flags were distributed to everyone who wanted one. On the track field a group of primary-grade students performed a flag marching ceremony, followed by a group of speakers on the opposite side of the crowd where the children had sung.

Principal Miša Jakobas was followed by Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky who asked some of the wilder children to settle down, joking such behavior didn’t belong on the playground, although it is acceptable at synagogue. She pointed to a building in the back corner of the school yard and said if things go to plan, this would be a new Jewish kindergarten in Vilnius where Jewish children would receive priority of place. Currently the Jewish kindergarten in Vilnius, Salvija, just across the river from Sholem Aleichem, accepts a large number of non-Jewish children as well and promotes itself as a inclusive multicultural environment, although it emphasizes Jewish holidays and culture.

Old Jewish Cemetery in Šeduva Receives Special Mention in Europa Nostra Heritage Protection Awards

Šeduvos žydų kapinių įamžinimą įvertino Europos Komsijos įkurta Europa Nostra!

Work in Šeduva, or more precisely work already completed, hasn’t gone unnoticed by Europa Nostra, the heritage protection organization established by the European Commission.

Europa Nostra under a jury selected by the European Commission awarded the Lost Shtetl Project special mention.

Special mentions in the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards 2017 were made public today by Europa Nostra and the European Commission. This year the jury granted special mention to 13 heritage achievements from 11 European countries taking part in the EU Creative Europe program.

Special mention goes to outstanding contributions in the conservation and enhancement of European cultural heritage which are particularly appreciated by the jury but did not make it into the final selection to receive an award.

Old Jewish cemetery in Šeduva, Lithuania

In restoring and maintaining the Jewish cemetery in the town of Šeduva, the local community has succeeded in its efforts to restore, commemorate and respectfully maintain the memory of members of their community who, since the Holocaust, no longer live in the town.

For more information, see:

Fun Passover Celebration at Šiauliai Jewish Community

On April 15 the Šiauliai Jewish Community celebrated Passover. Community chairman Josif Burštein welcomed participants and Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon and wife were the guests of honor, speaking about the story of Passover and the meaning behind eating matzo.

Lithuanian art critique, theater expert, writer and doctor of liberal arts Markas Petuchauskas also attended with his wife. The evening included performance of Jewish song and dance, provided by the benefactor Vadim Kamrazer.

Thanks go to the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Social Programs Department and the Goodwill Foundation for making the wonderful holiday possible.

Shlisl Challa

Schlissel challah

There is an interesting tradition still followed in some Ashkenaz Jewish communities of baking challa in the shape of a key for the first Sabbath after Passover. The challa may be shaped as a key, the dough be impressed by actual keys or it may contain a real key inside. It is called shlisl challa, from the Yiddish word for key. The tradition is still followed in Lithuania, Poland and Germany.

According to one version, shlisl challa is connected with a Passover prayer. The key recalls the door to Heaven or Paradise. It is said the upper gates of Heaven open during Passover, and after they close again. To open them, Jews place a key inside the challa loaf. Other Jews object to the entire practice as misguided, superstitious or even idolatrous.

A Different Sort of Passover

At 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, we will meet at the cozy Beata’s Kitchen (Beatos virtuvė) on Gedimino prospect in the heart of Vilnius. This year for Passover not only will we enjoy a delicious meal, but we’ll make it ourselves. Our guide on this culinary journey will be writer, cook and wife of former Lithuanian ambassador to Israel Nida Degutienė.

Degutienė moved to Israel and lived there 5 years, studying at Herzliya University and learning about Israeli culture and cuisine in her free time.

Her book Taste of Israel has won awards in the category of Jewish cooking. Her recipes on her internet page and the facebook page are also quite popular.

Accompanying us will be Rabbi Shimshon Isaacson who will help us learn more about the traditions and religious significance of this holiday.

Please register by internet:

Kosher Kitchens Goes In at Choral Synagogue

Vilniaus Sinagogoje įrengta košerinė virtuvė

The Vilnius Jewish Community is happy to announce a new kosher kitchen was set up at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius. The minimal but tasteful kitchen interior fits in with the existing space, uses the same combination of colors, has wooden components and didn’t disturb the existing wooden floor. The renovation was designed by Viktorija Sideraitė who is a contractor to the company Real Taste under the direction of Saulius Blaževičius.

The kitchen space at the synagogue has been awaiting renovation for a very long time. Here’s a “before” picture:

Pictures of the new kosher kitchen space can be seen here.

Vilna Gaon Museum on New Jewish Museum Proposal

The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum has issued a statement via press release about a recent proposal by Lithuanian officials to set up a Holocaust-free new Jewish museum in the Palace of Sports or next to it on land which contains the centuries-old historic Jewish graveyard of Vilnius.

Let’s Create a Strategic Strategy for Jewish Heritage, Not Disneyland

The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum was disappointed by information appearing in the press last week about plans by government institutions to establish another Jewish museum in the Lithuanian capital instead of assuring support for existing projects.

The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, whose sections are housed in authentic buildings closely connected with the Jewish history of Vilnius, has recently been undergoing an intense and productive period. We host international events at the highest level, for example, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance conference held on March 22 and 23, and the number of visitors is constantly growing. New permanent exhibitions are being created for installation in our historic buildings, including the opening this fall of a new Samuel Bak Museum, showcasing the Litvak painter’s life and works, and in the near future we also intend to open the Museum of Lithuanian Jewish Culture, aka the Litvak Center and a dedicated Lithuanian Holocaust and Vilnius ghetto memorial museum, which has attracted the attention of international museum organizations including ICOM.

The latter museum is to be housed in the historical building on Žemaitijos street (former Strashun street) which was listed as a cultural treasure last month. This is the building which housed the Mefitsei Haskalah library before World War II and the Vilnius ghetto library during the war. which organized cultural events inside the ghetto and served as a secret meeting place for members of the ghetto resistance organization. In 1945 Holocaust survivors established the short-lived Jewish Museum in the building, quickly shut down by the Soviet government. The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum intends to reutilize the building for Holocaust education. After the museum has these additional sections, a unique route will be created for the visitor to explore Jewish Vilna.

Come Observe Passover at the Choral Synagogue

Dear Community members,

We invite you to come to a kosher Passover Seder at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius at 9:00 P.M. on April 10.

The cost is 7 euros.

Please pick up an invitation at the synagogue on workdays from 9 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

For those who wish to pray, please come to the evening prayer on April 10 which will begin at 8:00 P.M.

Panevėžys Jewish Community Passover Celebrations

The Panevėžys Jewish Community greet you on the upcoming holiday of Passover and invite you to a series of events for the holiday:

April 6 Concert “From a Forgotten Book” at the Gabrielė Petkevičaitė-Bitė Panevėžys Regional Public Library, Respublikos street no. 14 at 5:00 P.M.

April 10 First Passover Seder at the Rojaus paukštė café, Respublikos street no. 4A at 6:30 P.M.

April 11 Second Passover Seder at the Panevėžys Jewish Community, Ramygalos street no. 18 at 2:00 P.M.

April 14 Third Passover Seder and Sabbath at the Panevėžys Jewish Community, Ramygalos street no. 18 at 2:00 P.M.

Israeli Exchange Students Feel at Home in Kaunas, Lithuania

For a decade now there has been a club for Israeli young people studying in Kaunas. The club meets at what is called the Kaunas Jewish Center in the center of town. Currently about 130 students from the Lithuanian Health Sciences University attend regularly and all Jewish students in Lithuania are welcome.

The center features a synagogue, the student club and a kosher food restaurant for students, and hosts events and holiday celebrations. A mikvah for married women is to be set up before Shavuot this year. Rabbi Moshe Sheynfeld and his right-hand man Aleks Minin run the center. Minin helps with the daily tasks and making new ideas real. The founder, financial supporter and tutelary spirit of the center is William Shtern, who says he’s happy the students have found a small piece of Israel in Kaunas, their second home, where they can further their own identities, but he says he is even more glad they are meeting one another, becoming friends and even starting families.

The Kaunas Jewish Community has been working with Shtern and his center for several years now and acts as partner in certain center projects, and people from the center attend Kaunas Jewish Community events. Every Friday people from the center donate fresh challa bread for the Kaunas Jewish Community’s Sabbath dinner.

You can find out more about the Kaunas Jewish Center here.

Matzo Brei with Spinach

The Bagel Shop Café has started selling matzo and matzo flour, so we’d like to present some traditional Jewish dishes made from these items.

Matzo brei also known as matzo metugenet is a simple Ashkenazi dish whose name refers to matzo being fried. The dish is often made for breakfast during Passover.

You will need:

2 cups boiling water
5 eggs
6 matzo bread wafers

Matzo Is Here!

LŽB logo paveiksliukas1Macai

Members of the Vilnius Jewish Community are invited to pick up a box of matzo bread in room 201 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius on workdays between 8:30 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. from March 22 to March 28. On Sunday, May 26, please come between 11:00 A.M and 5:00 P.M. Try to remember to bring you membership card!

Please note: Matzo will be distributed to social program clients separately. They are invited to pick up a box of matzo bread in the computer classroom on the first floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius on workdays between 11:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. from March 21 to April 4.

Every member will receive a full box of matzo without charge, but due to financial constraints we are unable to provide more than one box per member. Additional boxes may be purchased at the Bagel Shop Café for €3.50 per 1 kg box.

Special Celebrations at the Šiauliai Jewish Community

Last weekend was special for the Šiauliai Jewish Community. Friday many members of the community gathered to celebrate the Sabbath conducted properly by Rabbi Kalev Krelin. The men went for prayer to the synagogue and the women lit the candles to the kiddush and challa. We had a special guest: Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon paid an unofficial visit.

At the culmination of the evening the entire community enjoyed kosher floimen-tzimmes.

Early Saturday morning the men gathered again for prayer at synagogue with the rabbi.

In the evening all members of the community dressed up in carnival costumes and masks and gathered to celebrate Purim. Rabbi Kalev Krelin read from the Book of Esther and all of us, together and loudly, wiped the name of Haman from history.

This year the holiday coincided with the 27th anniversary of modern Lithuanian independence and the community didn’t neglect that holiday either, singing the Lithuanian national anthem (and Hatikvah).

With our feasting and fun we celebrated Purim according to all the Jewish traditions.

Purim at the Kaunas Jewish Community

Kauno žydų bendruomenės Purimo šventė

Members of the Kaunas Jewish Community celebrated Purim wishing one another good fortune, joy, success and inner and world peace. As in earlier years specially-baked homentashen added to the festivities. The Lithuanian Jewish Community’s social programs department and the Goodwill Foundation helped make the celebration possible.

Purim at the Panevėžys Jewish Community

Purim is the spring holiday when we celebrate the rescue of the Jews from death in Babylon. On March 12 the Panevėžys Jewish Community began the celebration with chairman Gennady Kofman reading the Purim story out loud, the Book of Esther from the Bible which tells of the destruction facing the Jews living in Babylon and the miracle of their rescue due to the efforts of queen Esther, the Jewish wife of the Persian king. Not only were the Jews saved, they defeated the king’s evil vizier Haman who chose the day for the destruction of the Jews by casting lots, but who was himself punished. Many children attended the Panevėžys Jewish Community’s Purim celebration. There was a dining table for children, the children put on plays and watched films and concerts in connection with Jewish history. Purim is the happiest Jewish holiday and there was much song and much laughter. Everyone received a small gift as well.