News

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community to Celebrate Birthday with Hanukkah

The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community is celebrating its 30th anniversary together with Hanukkah on December 8 at the Šiauliai Arena Conference Hall located at Jablonskio street no. 16. Tickets cost 10 euros for adults, 5 for senior citizens and children under 13 are to be admitted free of charge. Those wishing to attend should contact Antonina at the Community by November 30.

Hanukkah in Panevėžys

The Panevėžys Jewish Community invites you to come celebrate Hanukkah. At 4:00 P.M. on December 2 Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky will light the menorah on Independence Square in Panevėžys, after which the Panevėžys Jewish Community at Ramygalos street no. 18 will host a celebration including food, games and dancing.

Condolences

Arkadij Kac passed away November 21. He was born in 1947. Our deepest condolences to his wife Zinaida, daughter Marija and the entire family.

Thanksgiving Greetings from Paul Packer, Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Thanksgiving Greetings from Paul Packer, Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Dear Friends,

As families across the country gather to give thanks–for those we love, for the freedoms we cherish, for our shared heritage–I hope we’ll take a moment to consider those in need and those who cannot be with their families on this special day, particularly our brave men and women in uniform stationed around the world.

With the many challenges we face today, the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad remains strong and steadfast in our commitment to preserving the past. It has never been more important to understand our history, to find common ground through our diverse stories, and to appreciate the profound privilege of being an American.

As you spend time with your family this Thanksgiving, I urge you to take the first step toward preserving our history: tell your family’s story, where you came from and how you arrived where you are now. Give your children the gift of understanding where they come from, and on this and every Thanksgiving into the future, I have no doubt they’ll thank you for it.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

Warmly,

Chairman Packer

U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
633 3rd Street, NW
Suite 515
Washington, DC 20001

Visit the Lost Shtetlakh, the Jewish Towns in Lithuania

Visit the Lost Shtetlakh, the Jewish Towns in Lithuania

The popular Lithuanian travel page www.lietuvon.lt has been updated and now includes a new group of sites, the shtetlakh, towns which had a large Jewish population before the Holocaust.

The Lithuanian-language internet site is promising to continuously update local and regional Jewish heritage tourist routes (at https://www.lietuvon.lt/stetlai) which are being developed and advertised by local municipalities. tourism information centers, museums, libraries and individual travel enthusiasts.

This project is the fruit of a joint-venture between the Lithuanian Jewish Community and www.lietuvon.lt author Karolis Žukauskas.

The project receives support from the Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Department and the Goodwill Foundation.

Wordless Shadow Theater

Wordless Shadow Theater

The Ilan Club invites members and interested parties to attend a workshop on shadow theater at 1:00 P.M. on November 25. Those interested should send an email to sofja@lzb.lt or call 867257540.

The goal of the workshop is to create a short play based on traditional Jewish tales. The play will be expressed in light and shadow and without words. The director believes the lack of verbal content will enhance perception of the environment and people around us, thus increasing empathy and fostering new kinds of creativity. Participants at the workshop will discuss the play and will make scenography and shadow puppets with help from artists. Together with the director and actors, participants will explore different ways for characters to express themselves without using words.

Simon Karczmar Exhibit at Vilna Gaon Museum

Simon Karczmar Exhibit at Vilna Gaon Museum

The Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum at Naugarduko street no. 10/2 in Vilnius will open an exhibit of paintings and prints by Simon Karczmar at 5:30 P.M. on November 22. The exhibit will run till January 21, 2019.

Karczmar was born in 1903 and died in 1982. His most productive period came later in life. He studied art in Paris as a young man but worked in the fur industry rather than as a professional artist. At the age of 57 he developed an allergy to fur and his wife encouraged him to return to making art. As a member of an artists’ colony in Safed, Israel, to which he moved in 1962, Karzcmar painted daily life in the Dieveniškės (Diveishok, Jevenishok) shtetl. His work has been exhibited in the USA, Canada, Israel and Mexico but never before in Lithuania. A month ago the School of Business and Technology in Dieveniškės hosted the exhibit. Karczmar’s son Natan came from Israel to attend and said the exhibit in Vilnius fulfills an old family dream.

Street Named in Honor of Frankel Family in Šiauliai

Street Named in Honor of Frankel Family in Šiauliai

The city of Šiauliai turned out November 19 to unveil the first street sign commemorating the Frankel family. These Jewish industrialists contributed significantly to the development and history of Šiauliai. The family name now graces what was Elnis [Deer] street. A large audience including members of the Jewish community, municipal representatives, staff at the Aušra Museum and guests from Kaunas and Klaipėda attended the ceremony at what is now Frenkelių street no. 23.

Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon was also there, presenting warm congratulations and speaking about the need to remember and honor shared Lithuanian and Jewish history. Lithuanian MP Stasys Tumėnas and Lithuanian Jewish Community executive director Renaldas Vaisbrodas, among others, also spoke about that. Historian Andrius Kvedaras led an excursion and provided details from the biographies of Chaim and Jakob Frenkel.

Deputy mayor Domas Griškevičius was a supporter of renaming the street and said “the municipality still has to seek cooperation from businesses here so they change their signs” to the new street name, according to the newspaper Šiaulų kraštas. Griškevičius said the regional Jewish community had paid for the manufacture of the new street signs and said he hoped the city budget would soon include funding for maps for tourists of the Chaim Frenkel leather factory in the past and present.

Jewish Veterans Commemoration

Jewish Veterans Commemoration

A ceremony to commemorate Lithuanian Jewish veterans is to be held at the Jewish Cemetery in Kaunas at 4:30 P.M. on November 23. Organizers include the Kaunas Jewish Community, the Sugihara Foundation/Diplomats for Life and the Kovo 11-osios Gatvė Association. For more information send an email to kaminskas.raimundas@gmail.com or call +370 680 53 495

Second Hanukkah Candle

Second Hanukkah Candle

The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community invites you to attend the lighting of the second Hanukkah candle December 3, at Vincas Kudirka Square in Vilnius at 5:30 P.M., and again at 6:30 P.M. at the Choral Synagogue.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Holds Anniversary Concert

The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community invites the public to a concert to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the organization to be held at 7:00 P.M. on December 3 at the Polifonija chamber concert hall at Aušros alley no. 15 in Šiauliai.

Šiauliai State Drama Theater and film actress Jūratė Budriūnaitė, teacher and composer Vadimas Kamrazeris and their daughter Sofija will participate.

Trade with Iran Feeds a Nuclear Monster

Trade with Iran Feeds a Nuclear Monster

by Amir Maimon, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania, for DELFI.lt

The agreement with Iran from which the USA has withdrawn was not an effective way to turn Iran away from its nuclear program. The West must agree on universal sanctions quickly, or the consequences for the world will be dire.

Iran’s tentacles reach far beyond the Middle East. In the last several weeks the security services in a number of European countries have arrested Iranian agents who were planning terrorist attacks on European soil. The regime’s high technology is connected with financial and operational support to agents around the world, increasing the global threat the Iranian regime poses to basic Western values and freedoms.

Full editorial in Lithuanian here.

Parliamentary Cultural Committee Considers Jewish Heritage Issues

Parliamentary Cultural Committee Considers Jewish Heritage Issues

A sitting of the Lithuanian parliament’s Cultural Committee November 14 addressed Litvak heritage. The meeting was held at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Musum in Vilnius with committee chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis attending.

Three main issues were discussed:

1. Further expansion and financing of the Vilna Gaon Museum
2. Jewish heritage issues
3. Restoration of the Great Synagogue in Vilnius

MP Emanuelis Zingeris proposed a resolution for the restoration of the Great Synagogue at the meeting. The Lithuanian Jewish Community expressed a different position. LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said Lithuanian Jews are not asking and never had asked for the rebuilding of the Great Synagogue using state funds. She further noted that currently the LJC is engaged in studying other methods and problems in commemoration and preservation, having been tasked with drafting a study on Jewish heritage by the Lithuanian Government.

Special Focus on Ethnic Communities at Tolerance Day Celebration

Special Focus on Ethnic Communities at Tolerance Day Celebration

The celebration of Tolerance Day supported by the Lithuanian prime minister demonstrated sincere and exceptional attention to representatives of the ethnic communities in Lithuania.

International Tolerance Day was marked for the fifth time in Lithuanian November 16 with an event at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences supported by the Lithuanian prime minister and organized by the Department of Ethnic Minorities under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. During the event prime minister Saulius Skvernelis and department director Vida Montvydaitė honored and awarded those who had contributed most to the establishment of civil society, celebration of ethnic cultures and the fostering of intercultural dialogue in Lithuania.

Condolences

Riva Feigina, born in 1928, passed away November 19. The Lithuanian Jewish Community sends our condolences to her children and loved ones during this time of loss.

From the Vilnius Ghetto: Sutzkever’s Memoirs in Lithuanian

From the Vilnius Ghetto: Sutzkever’s Memoirs in Lithuanian

by Danielė Ūselytė

Abraham Sutzkever (1913-2010) was one of the most remarkable Yiddish poets in the 20th century, a Holocaust survivor, one of the leaders of the cultural resistance and in his memoirs “From the Vilnius Ghetto” provides a testimony of his authentic experience.

These texts were written immediately following the tragic events of World War II and were published in Moscow in 1946. These memoirs contain the living memories in the author’s mind and thus are a testimony of history. Feelings and states of mind are presented, indirectly, through specific situations, sometimes with irony, feelings of hopelessness, fear, debasement, but always the infinite desire to survive, to fight to the last breath. Resistance is supported by intense creativity in an extreme situation, in the belief its power will fortify human existence, and the historical narrative is based on this, demonstrating the possibility to write poetry in the tragic moment.

Full text in Lithuanian here.

Kaunas Jewish Community News for October

Kaunas Jewish Community News for October

In October the Kaunas Jewish Community experienced moments of celebration and painful losses, and commemorated the past.

The most momentous event in October was the celebration of the Community’s 30th birthday with a concert. The Kaunas State Philharmonic hosted the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra accompanied by harpist Gabrielė Ašmontaitė, baritone Stein Skjervold and VilhelmasČepinskis on violin. Orchestra art director Mindaugas Bačkus presented a rich program of well-known and lesser-known works by Jewish and Litvak composers of different times and in different genres. He both played cello and presented the event.

The historian Linas Venclauskas told the audience about the history of the Jewish community and current events. He spoke about the Litvak contribution to Lithuania and together with KJC chairman Gercas Žakas presented thank-you letters from the Kaunas mayor and municipal culture department to long-standing and outstanding members of the Community, including Fruma Kučinskienė, Judita Mackevičienė, Motelius Rozenbergas, Basia Šragiene, Julijana Zarchi, Simonas Dovidavičius and Gercas Žakas himself.