Programmes

A Mekhaye Winter Children’s Camp 2016

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The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Joint Distribution Committee traditionally hold the A Mekhaye winter camp for Children and did so late last year in 2016 as well. The camp is held in Dubingiai, Lithuania. It usually includes about 90 children who spend the holiday period together. This year as in earlier years we assembled a great team, people who know their work and who have been part of camp staff for several years now.

This year the theme was “Hanukkah in the shtetl,” since the camp coincided with the holiday. Each day camp counselors introduced a new topic and taught the children about it. Besides just being fun, the camp is very educational, even if information comes through games, as it often does. The children and staff say they feel right at home in Dubingiai now, as if it were their second home.

Greetings from Lithuanian Jewish Community Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky

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Dear members of the Jewish community, greetings to all on this holiday of Hanukkah!

I hope good feelings and warm and pleasant moments with loved ones will accompany you as you light the first Hanukkah candle. I wish you health and concord in your family, and that our children would grow up safe, dignified and happy and be proud of their parents and their roots.

It is a happy thing that there is ever-growing interest in the rich history of the Jews, and I probably won’t be making a mistake to say that there was never so much interest in the Jewish community as there is now, although so few Jews are left in Lithuania. The Jewish Community works actively to insure the rights and freedoms of our members and to promote Jewish interests. Unfortunately we weren’t able to achieve all our goals in 2016, but we will continue to strive after them in the coming year: monuments to those who shot Jews need to be removed, and Vilnius needs to have a monument commemorating those who rescued Jews from the Holocaust. We will continue to work on the issue of restitution of private property.

The Jewish Community is investing in the future, issuing scholarships and stipends for Jewish students and accomplished athletes. Plans for a new kindergarten have been completed, a kindergarten which will insure Jewish values are passed down to the youngest members of our community and prepare them for further education at the Jewish school.

One of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s top priorities is to improve the living conditions of clients in our Social Programs Department. We help when emergencies and misfortune occur. This will remain our priority in 2017. We also help rescuers of Jews, whose humility and sincere gratitude encourage us to grow and improve. I would like to thank Jewish rescuer Regina for the gloves and socks she knitted.

The Community building itself has become lighter and cozier. We have new audio-visual equipment in the Community concert hall and there are always new and different exhibitions on display. It’s a great joy that there is cultural life, ferment and creativity in the community, and that performers from Lithuania, Israel, the USA, the Netherlands, Romania and other countries perform concerts here. It is also a happy occasion that we have deepened our contacts with the foreign embassies, other countries, municipal institutions and NGOs. Thanks to this cooperation legal amendments were finally adopted to make it easier for Litvaks to restore Lithuanian citizenship. We signed an agreement on cooperation with the American Jewish Committee, we are enjoying wonderful relations with other world Jewish organizations and we are expanding contacts in the West as well as in the East, with the Jewish communities in India and Japan.

Interest in religion is reviving as well. We have two rabbis working at the Community who give lessons educating young and old on various topics in Judaism.

In cooperation with international Jewish organizations and based on their recommendations, we have increased security at the Community and synagogue buildings, and are approaching western standards of security.

We have the only kosher café in Vilnius. The Bagel Shop has attracted significant attention and television crews from Canada, Germany and of course Lithuania, too, have featured the café. It has become a place where not only Jews gather, but also aficionados of Jewish cuisine and culture. Our challa-baking event was a good time for all, and US ambassador Anne Hall was enchanted by the experience. The Jewish languages project carried out with the Cultural Heritage Department attracted much attention by many residents of the Lithuanian capital and visitors from elsewhere. In greeting you all, I invite Community members to show even greater initiative and self-confidence in proposing ways to make their hopes and dreams come true, because the Community exists to benefit its members.

My holiday greetings go out as well to Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon and the chairmen of the regional communities: Gennady Kofman, Gercas Žakas, Artūras Taicas, Feliksas Puzemskis, Moisej Šapiro and Josifas Buršteinas. Thank you all for the active roles you play and for working together.

Khag Khanuka Sameakh!

Holiday Performance by Bubble Theater for Children in Jewish Family Services Program

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A holiday performance by the Bubble Theater from Ukraine took place at the Dance Theater last Saturday, December 17. The “Soap Opera” was the first and so far the only appearance by the troupe in Lithuania, combining humorous stories and dialogue with a lively display of soap bubbles, enchanting the audience with their special effects. Thanks to the financial support of the Goodwill Foundation, children in the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s social program were able to experience the unique event. This time we had participants from as far away as Kaunas. A total of 50 children and their parents in the program attended the event.

Dubi Club Announcement

Dear parents and Dubi Club members,

Club activities won’t be held on November 27, 2016. The next activities will be on December 4, 2016.

We remind you Dubi Club is for 4-6-year-olds.

Club activities usually take place every Sunday from 11:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.

For more information, please contact Dubi Club coordinator Margarita Koževatova by telephone: +370 618 00577

A Mehaye Winter Camp 2016!

Dear parents, please register now for your children to attend the annual A Mehaye winter camp, organized every winter by the Lithuanian Jewish Community with the financial support of the Joint Distribution Committee. Children and youngsters aged 7 to 17 are invited to come, have fun, make new friends, see old ones and learn while they’re at it! The camp is scheduled for December 24 to 30.

To register, or for more information, please contact:

soniakaplan@mail.ru
telephone +37067257540

Happy Birthday, Maša Grodnikienė!

Happy birthday, Maša!

Lithuanian Jewish Community deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnikienė is celebrating her 70th birthday! Maša is the initiator and intellectual force behind many of the cultural events held by the Community and has been deputy chairwoman for over 20 years now. Thanks to her the first World Litvak Congress was held in Vilnius in 2001, marking a turning point within the Community and the renaissance of Litvak culture in Lithuania. Maša has contributed so very much to fostering Litvak culture within the Community and in the world.

On the occasion of her birthday, the Community has nothing but the most heart-felt words to say to Maša. We congratulate her on her birthday and wish her the best health, joy at home with her grandchildren, many more creative initiatives in the Jewish Community, a great mood and many more warm moments in life. Happy birthday!

Mazl tov!

Rules for the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community’s Taharat ha’Kodesh aka Choral Synagogue

Vilniaus žydų religinės bendruomenės Taharat ha‘Kodeš sinagogos taisyklės

Adopted by a meeting of the executive board of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community on September 22, 2016, act no. 06

Introduction

The rules have been put in place in light of ever-more-frequent attacks against Jews in Europe and the growing danger posed by terrorism around the world. These rules must be followed strictly and are aimed at insuring the physical safety and spiritual dignity of those who pray at the Taharat ha’Kodesh aka Choral Synagogue.

The mitnagedim Taharat ha’Kodesh synagogue, built in 1903 and belonging to the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community, is the only synagogue in Vilnius which has survived the Holocaust and the Soviet occupation.

Every Jew has the right to visit and pray at the Taharat ha’Kodesh synagogue on the condition she or he follow the rules provided below.

Rules of Behavior at the Taharat ha’Kodesh Synagogue

1. The synagogue is public place of worship where the proper human respect for the site and the congregation is shown.

2. All synagogue activities, prayer and services are based on mitnagedic traditions.

3. Public order must be maintained during all prayer services and afterwards in the synagogue. Public order means the general rules of public behavior operating in society based on principles of morality and mutual respect.

4. Adherence to these rules insures the normal course of life in society, tolerant communication, civilized manners of resolution of conflicts arising between people and abstinence from aggression in pursuing individual interests. The following are banned in the synagogue: rude or belligerent behavior, issuing threats, demonstrating disrespect to those around you or the location itself through mockery or acts of vandalism, disturbing the public order and peace, use of profanity or lewd behavior, disrupting services, making noise or otherwise disturbing prayer.

5. Prayer services are performed exclusively in one of the halls, rooms and spaces of the synagogue.

6. A person who wants to make a public address at the synagogue must receive permission to do so from the rabbi working at the synagogue.

7. Personal arguments as well as arguments over the performance of prayers and other religious rites are banned in the synagogue. Suggestions on the performance of prayers and other religious rites may be discussed with the rabbi only when prayer and other religious rites are not happening. These rules also apply to the Kiddush and lecture room.

8. The opening and closing times of the synagogue are set by the executive board of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community and are publicly announced. Security and technical personnel are hired and their working hours are set based on these times. In special circumstances they may be subject to the discretion of the chairman of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community.

9. The person reading the Torah, leading the prayer service, is designated and hired by the chairman of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community with the approval of the executive board of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community. All people in the synagogue during that time must adhere to this established order.

10. People visiting the synagogue must be dressed appropriately. For men, that means wearing a yarmulke (kippah), a hat or a scarf to cover their head. Mobile or cell telephones are prohibited during prayer.

11. People armed with firearms or other weapons, or items which could be used as weapons, are not allowed to enter the synagogue (except for security guards). Also, intoxicated people or people arousing suspicion are not allowed to enter. It is also forbidden to bring in bags containing food products and larger packages (backpacks, purses, suitcases, luggage or other packages). These must be left with the person on duty at the entrance.

12. Without permission from the chairman of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community, it is forbidden to hold meetings, protests and rendezvous in the synagogue, or to set out a table with food, or to engage in commercial activity.

13. Members of the congregation and visitors to the synagogue are required to obey the directions of the chairman, elder and security personnel operating in the name of the executive board of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community.

14. People who violate these rules are asked to leave the synagogue and might be barred from entry in the future. Violation of public order and other actions prohibited by the laws of the Republic of Lithuania could also incur legal accountability.

15. The keys to the synagogue and entry to all communication are protected and managed by the chairman of the Vilnius Jewish Religious Community.

16. All people inside the synagogue must obey the orders of security personnel. The security guard is equivalent to the person in charge of performing the functions of public administration.

Shmuel Levin, chairman
Vilnius Jewish Religious Community

LJC Camp Counselor Seminar in Dubingiai

LŽB Vadovų (madrichų) seminaras Dubingiuose

The recreation and conference center ORO Dubingiai hosted a seminar of LJC camp counselors in September. The seminar was intended to raise the qualifications of counselors and better coordinate the Ilan, Knafaim and Regional Clubs. Attendants were the team of counselors and experienced coordinators who shared their knowledge with the young group directors.

The counselors were able to demonstrate their leadership characteristics and other talents and abilities, revealing themselves as good people capable of working in a team. They demonstrated that teamwork playing group games and preparing a program for period until the next season, the winter children’s camps. The coordinators were able to come up with interesting programs for children and adolescents to make this season a memorable one and attract more participants next year.

LJC Olameinu International Children’s Camp 2016

LŽB tarptautinė vaikų stovykla Olameinu 2016

Lithuanian Jewish Community youth programs coordinator and camp programs director Pavel Gulyakov reported the only negative at the camp this year was some not-so-great weather, it rained, preventing the children from visiting beautiful Lake Asveja at times. The camp went international this year with children from Jewish communities in all three Baltic states.

Happy 75th!

Sveikinimas

The Lithuanian Jewish Community wishes member Dr. Eva Ščupak a happy 75th birthday! Eva is a neuropathologist who has devoted so much of her time to doing volunteer work at the Community. We wish you great health and long and peaceful life! Joy and success to you, your children and your grandchildren! Mazl tov! May you live to 120!

En Plein Air Outdoor Painting Workshop at Įlanka Farm in Šaukšteliškiai Village

Plenerassu R.Savick2

Another outdoor painting workshop, or “plein air,” took place from August 8 to 14 at the Įlanka farmstead in Šaukšteliškiai village in the Molėtai region of Lithuania, organized by the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Participants stayed in and painted a scenic natural location where the surrounding lake, skies and fresh air inspired creativity. The program included ceramics as well as painting and featured professional teachers and lecturers and a significant recreational component. Participants included two recognized Lithuanian folk artists.

Jewish Family Service Goes to the Movies

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On August 14 the Jewish Family Service of the Lithuanian Jewish Community hosted a wonderful outing for children. The Forum Cinema of Vilnius has been showing different animated films for children with discounted prices for groups of children. The Jewish Family Service decided to make use of the opportunity and Sunday morning parents and children attended a showing of the Little Prince. Although it is an animated film based on moral values for children, the parents were also able to take some real insights away from the experience. Twenty-eight program participants took part and the program coordinator said it was a great success.

“This is a way to spend some very meaningful time and it also compels thinking and discussing the film viewed,” one mother who took part said.

The program coordinator plans more such trips to movies, selected by hand and heart.

Summer Camp

The Dubi Club invites kids to the summer day camp!

A day camp for children aged 3-and-a-half to 7 will be held at the naturally scenic recreation complex Viva Green Resort.

Camp program:

Educational activities with experienced teachers, excursions, nap-time for the younger kids, and three meals a day.

The day camp will be held from July 18 to 29, 2016.

Cost is 130 euros per child, or 110 per child for two children.

Registration is open until July 8.

Youth Activities in May at the LJC

Lithuanian Jewish Community youth activities coordinator Pavel Guliakov has provided a report on youth activities for the month of May as most children in Lithuania have finished school and are busy enjoying the first weeks of summer vacation.

The Ilan Club is closing for summer and getting ready for summer camps, but had three activities in May. On the 15th children and parents visited a fire station, got to try out firefighting equipment, learned about how firefighters live and had an informative outing. On May 22 the kids learned about the Israeli military and the life of Israeli soldiers at the Lithuanian Jewish Community. On May 29 the club had an end-of-season closing event called Jewish social networks where counselors presented an interesting activity involving social media and mobile telephones, which most of the children already use regularly and enthusiastically.

Summer Camp Schedule and Registration

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Dear Parents,

Ensure your children’s place at the Dubingiai recreational site!
Camp sessions and dates:

  • First session: July 4-13, ages: 7-12
  • Second session: July 18-28, ages 13-18
  • Szarvas International Camp: August 4-21, ages: 13-17

Children’s and Youth Club Activities in April

The Ilan Club and its young directors continued their work and planned for the end of the season and children’s camps. There was a drop-off in attendance as the weather improved and parents kept their children home Sunday afternoons.

April 10, 2016: Activities at the Children’s Club of the LJC. As usual, children came to have both a fun and informative time. This time the activities centered around Jewish love and weddings. We spoke about customs and traditions.

April 17: These activities at the Children’s Club were regarding the upcoming Eilat Beach Party. We had fun, played games and tried to give a sense of the pleasantness of Eilat.

New Space Created for LJC Youth

The Lithuanian Jewish Student Union is pleased to announce the beta phase of the project Moadon Helimudim. We have officially opened the doors to the new educational space where young people can meet daily. It includes computers, internet, wifi connection, and coffee and tea!

Please come in and make use of the new space at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius.

Contact person: Ziv Atlas
For more information write lujsinfo@gmail.com with Moadon Halimudim in the subject line.
The space is open from 5:00 P.M. onward.

Olameinu Mishpakha Camp for Young Families 2016

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Dear parents,

You are invited to register for the Olameinu Mishpakha Baltic Camp for Young Families 2016 to be held June 21 to 26 in Dubingiai, Lithuania. The camp is intended for Jewish families with children 12 and under.

There will be a packed program of activities for the parents as well as the children, including discussion of current events, interesting lessons and lectures, unforgettable evenings and recreation for the entire family surrounded by friends.

Registration forms are available here.

Please register quickly because the number of places is extremely limited.

Meet the American Virtuosi

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The Destinies series of talks will host an evening with the American Virtuosi musical ensemble moderated by professor Leonidas Melnikas. The event will be moderated in Russian and entry is free to the public. The event will be held at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 19 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius.

On Jewish Motifs, Historical Facts and Lithuanian Identity in Kristina Sabaliauskaitė’s Work

Kristina Sabaliauskaitė

The 24th meeting in the Destinies series of seminars and lectures took place at the Lithuanian Jewish Community on February 17, called “Jewish Motifs in the Works of Writer and Art Historian Dr. Kristina Sabaliauskaitė. Teacher and essayist Vytautas Toleikis moderated the meeting and LJC deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnikienė, the organizer, served as MC and introduced Sabaliauskaitė in person to the audience, noting she was very popular outside of Lithuania as well in Poland and Latvia.

Moderator Toleikis addressed the full hall saying “Kristina has returned Lithuania’s historical memory. She brought back 200 years of history which, due to [historian] Šapoka’s paradigm were lost to Lithuanian consciousness. ‘Silva Rerum’ [‘Forest of Things’ trilogy by Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, 2008, 2011 and 2014] is for us an unexpected historical good fortune, as if the nation had won the lottery. We are lucky Kristina has brought back centuries of history. The author’s memory is not selective, she writes about everything in the past, about Poles and Jews as if they were her own people. This is the attitude of a 21st-century person, it could not be otherwise.”

The conversation during the Destinies meeting revolved around Jewish characters and how the figure of the Jew came to be included in Kristina Sabaliauskaitė’s works in a way very different from the more common portrayal found in Lithuanian literature. Sabaliauskaitė chose the elite person of the doctor Aaron Gordon.