Report from the A Mehaye Winter Camp 2015


Pavel Guliakov, the LJC’s new director ew coordinator of youth programs, reports the A Mehaye winter camp is drawing to a close and was a wonderful success.

He said the winter camp is the largest annual youth program event with the greatest participation and requiring the most organizational work. This year a parents’ committee was called to help with organization and to draw up safety measures, rules and disciplinary measures, Guliakov reported.

A team of young but incredibly responsible and talented coordinators, counselors and professionals aided the camp leaders in their work this year. Guliakov noted there was a high level of comfort and familiarity because all of the members of the time except one (the Judaism coordinator) had themselves participated as children in Community youth programs, and besides working as camp guides were involved in all sorts of other outside activities including Jewish music and dance, art workshops and even professional cinematography.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Chairwoman Takes Stock of Accomplishments over Past Year


Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said 2015 was an important year for the Community and that she is hoping for changes in school curricula in 2016 to take into account the Jewish contributions to Lithuanian history, Jewish culture and the Holocaust.

The year 2015 was an important one for us, the community. Important changes in Lithuanian-Israeli relations were seen. An Israeli embassy was opened in Lithuania and ambassador Amir Maimon began work here. Ambassador Maimon has dedicated a lot of time to the Jewish community and has proven a reliable partner in solving various problems. Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė and prime minister Algirdas Butkevičius paid serious attention to the Jewish community and both visited Israel in 2015 and met with top leaders of the Jewish state. It was said Israeli-Lithuanian relations have never been so good and efforts to expand economic and cultural ties continue.

The Lithuanian state began to pay more attention to preserving Jewish heritage and cemeteries. Old synagogues left in small towns without any Jews were the subject of utilization agreements with local municipalities to be used for cultural uses by the public. The Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library began a significant project to digitize the archive of YIVO, which operated in Vilnius until World War II, together with the YIVO institute now located in the USA.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community appreciates that representatives of our Community are included in state visits by top leaders. This is very important to us. I took part in almost all meetings, and this fact testifies not only to the respect shown the Community, but also to the opportunity to present information first-hand, which is important to the leader as well as the Community. We are taking a successful part at all international organizations and continue our many years of cooperation with the Joint Distribution Committee, and appreciate this global organization’s support for our Community. We also thank the ORT, EJC, WJC, AJC, the Goodwill Fund, the Lithuanian Human Rights Monitoring Institute, EEA Grants and the Howard Margolis Foundation for their help. Thank you all.

Currently I am seriously reviewing the operating rules of the Community’s Social Center. We have established a steering committee for the Social Center and are seeking to expand the circle of people eligible to receive social benefits, which should go not only to support the elderly, but more to children as well. Jews are also concerned that people evacuated during the war do not enjoy equal status with deportees. After all, they didn’t leave their homes voluntarily, but receive no pensions from the state.

We should not forget that last year saw the establishment of three governmental commissions. The first was the Commission for Teaching and Holocaust Education. The goal of this commission is to place greater emphasis in the schools on Jewish history and Jewish contributions to Lithuanian history. The second is the Heritage Commission which is tasked with taking care of cemeteries and mass murder sites as well as all surviving Jewish heritage sites in Lithuania. The third commission is for the restoration of property rights to private individuals who did not have Lithuanian citizenship during the period when the law for such restitution was in force. This issue will require negotiations with the Government. Another issue is a decision on non-inherited property which will never be inherited because it belonged to people murdered in the Holocaust. The program approved by the Government back in 2011 to rename the streets of Lithuanian cities and towns in honor of rescuers of Jews and famous Jewish figures, unfortunately, still hasn’t been implemented.

After the brutal terrorist attacks in Europe last year which shook the entire continent, we also hope the issue of the safety and security of members of the Lithuanian Jewish Community will receive more attention from state institutions.

The Šnipiškės cemetery and the cemetery on Olandų street were the subject of much discussion, but I’d like to say that all issues connected with the Šnipiškės cemetery are being and will be solved under supervision by rabbis, and an agreement was signed with the rabbis in 2009. We thank mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius and director of the Pavilniai Regional Park Vida Petiukonienė, among others, for their concern with and care of the Olandų street cemetery.

We consider ourselves Europeans but to make our Jewish identity real we still have to renew our knowledge of Judaism. This year we bade farewell to our rabbi whose employment contract ended. We intensively conducted a search for a new rabbi from among many candidates, the successors to the Gaon, who wanted to begin working in Vilnius and Lithuania, to continue the Judaic Mitnaged tradition in this country, to work not just at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, but also in the community.

I am pleased that the number of Vilnius residents joining the Community is quickly growing. Although we have always said that all Jews living in Vilnius are members of the Community, today we see them becoming true members and paying membership fees, which have been greatly reduced. And non-Jews are also taking part in the Community’s work, and just as we ask for tolerance for others, we strive to be tolerant people ourselves.

The Community is hoping for more participation by the youth because we are not just elderly people. Taking a more active part means each individual may contribute according to their desire, talent and ability. If an individual wants to preserve his or her Jewish identity and those of his or her children and grandchildren, we welcome any and all such initiatives.

Steering Committee for Social Center Activities Formed

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky has issued a directive to establish the Steering Committee of Stakeholders for Social Committee Activities. The task of the committee is make and implement essential decisions on Social Center activities, including the need for specific actions, structure of the center, its budget, new programs and other matters.

The committee is constituted of the following community leaders: Faina Kukliansky; deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnik; the doctors Ella Gurina (a member of the LJC executive board) and Arkadijus Goldinas; Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas; Šiauliai Jewish Community chairman Josifas Buršteinas; ghetto organization representatives Rozeta Ramonienė and Gita Grinmanienė; and JDC representatives Baltic Region director Moni Beniosev and Baltic States Welfare director Marina Astanovskaja. Simas Levinas and Michailas Segal represent the LJC Social Center on the committee. The meeting was exemplary with Žakas, Grodnikienė, Beniosev and the doctors Gurina and Goldinas sharing interesting ideas.

Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky summed up the meeting and promised to consider the committee’s proposals in drawing up the LJC budget for 2016. Meetings are planned every quarter.

Lithuanian Jewish Student Union Celebrates Hanukkah


Lithuanian Jewish Community Student Union director Amit Belaitė furnished the following information and responses from facebook.

This year we began celebrating Hanukkah at the Vilnius Choral Synagogue. Then we went to Roshon, the only kosher restaurant in Vilnius. It was great to see several dozen happy faces and that Rabbi Samuel Daniel Izakson joined our group. Before we began to eat dinner, we lit menorahs. Michaelis Frišmanas, who recently started his own beautiful family, led the getting-acquainted game in which we all shared our hopes and dreams. Hanukkah is inconceivable without playing the dreidel game. We decided to play in an unusual way, a true competition! Five players made it to the finalists’ table and the winners were Michaelis Frišmanas’s wife Gintarė and Rachmilas Garberis. The restaurant surprised us with a fantastic dessert: small kosher doughnuts in the shape of a dreidel! We would like to thank the staff of the Rishon restaurant very much, and especially Aleksandras Arončikas, for performing a Hanukkah miracle and helping us hold the celebration. We would also like to thank Lithuanian Jewish Community program coordinator Julija Lipšic, and the LJC for financial support. Now we know for sure that miracles really do happen during Hanukkah!

Lithuanian Jewish Community Student Union Invites You to a Quiz

You’re invited to a quiz moderated by Rachmilas Garberis at 6:00 P.M. on Sunday, December 20 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community located at Pylimo street No. 4 in Vilnius. Good company and prizes are promised! Each contestant should register individually and teams will be formed at the event. No need to worry about language, either, the questions will be mainly musical and visual, and there will be plenty of people on hand fluent in a variety of languages.

Please register by sending an email to

See you there!

Maestro Anatolijus Šenderovas at the “Destinies” Series at the LJC


The twenty-second installment of the “Destinies” series regularly organized by Lithuanian Jewish Community deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnikienė featured one of the most famous of contemporary Lithuanian composers, National Prize recipient Anatolijus Šenderovas. Kamilė Rupeikaitė-Mariniuk, PhD, deputy director of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum and an expert in cantillation and music, led the conversation with the composer.

Šenderovas, considered modern composer of unique talent, spoke cheerfully of his life and his musical career. Lithuanians seem quite proud of their composer. His works are performed by many musicians and orchestras, and new variations upon them constantly appear. Many people turned out for the “Destinies” event and left the auditorium inspired by his amazing energy.

ORT Media Center and Lithuanian Jewish Community Organize Computer Courses

The ORT Media Center and the Lithuanian Jewish Community are offering the public the chance to improve their IT skills. Two different courses are planned: a series of Cisco network administration courses with exams and qualifications, and a general computer literacy course including Google products and electronic banking. For more information on the two Cisco network courses, contact . For more information on the general computer literacy class, contact

Lithuanian Jewish Community Welcomes New Youth Programs Coordinator


The LJC welcomes to our staff Pavel Guliakov, the new coordinator of youth programs for the community.

The son of members of the community, former Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium student and college student graduated with honors, Pavel is now our coordinator of youth programs and assistant to Valentin Solomiak. His bachelor’s work, not coincidentally, focused on the history of Jewish Vilna. Many of us already know him since he has worked as a volunteer at youth clubs for about a decade now. Pavel has the true calling of a teacher and likes working with children. Currently the work schedule of the coordinator is filled with meetings and lessons at the regional communities. Events will be held in Šiauliai and Kaunas in the near future. Last week Pavel attended the seminars held by the JDC for Jewish communities aimed at providing greater academic qualifications called “Project Organization, Problem Solving.” The new coordinator says he learned a lot of useful things he will apply in his main work with the Ilan, Knafaim and Students Clubs.

We wish him all the success in the world in his new post, coordinating the very future of the Community.

Knafaim and Ilan Clubs to Meet

This weekend we will host the following programs :

KNAFAIM – Friday 18:30 P.M. We are taking teens for a special event to Labirinthus (see and we will celebrate Sabbath there.

ILAN – Sunday at 3.00 P.M. Kids will have a peula on the topic of Jewish values. At about 4:30 P.M. there will be a quiz. Havdala ceremony and story at around 5.30 P.M.

Training for camp and club counselors – Sunday 12 noon. Around 20 young leaders will gather
to acquire more knowledge on Jewish topics.

Jewish Family Service party

Jewish Family Service party

On Sunday, September 13, just before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish Family Service of the Social Center at the Lithuanian Jewish Community hosted a holiday activities event for children. Children with their parents’ help painted Rosh Hashanah symbols and New Year’s greetings on silk. There were also traditional holiday treats. About 30 people attended, including parents and children of different ages.

Exhibit of Works by the in Plein Air L’école de Paris Art Workshop Opens

Exhibit of Works by the in Plein Air L’école de Paris Art Workshop Opens

The opening of an exhibition of works produced by participants in the edcuational workshop Litvak Artists: The L’école de Paris Period 2015 has taken place. Dozens of people attended the event at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius, demonstrating something important and significant has taken place.

All of us together–the in plein air workshop participants, teachers and those just beginning to do art, plein air organizers and Jewish Community members and staff–have created something which has provided new opportunities for every participant and has given rise to a new creative artistic group. The result is a wonderful exhibit which surprised everyone. Most of the ceramics and painting works were done by people who have never worked with oil paints or clay before in their lives.

We hope this is only the beginning and that the creative work will continue.

Everyone is warmly welcomed to visit the exhibition.

Plein Air Painting Workshop Begins

Plein Air Painting Workshop Begins

The first day of the LJC “en plein air” arts workshop opened at the Įlanka farm in the Molėtai region of Lithuania with 40 people gathering to spend 5 creative days together. Some said this was their first attempt at painting and ceramics, while more experienced artists called it an opportunity to share their skills as well as to do a few paintings in this corner of paradise on the shore of Lake Bebrusai. The first paintings and first pottery works have already emerged. Everyone assembled for the official opening of the Plein Air together with some of the community’s favorite violinists.


Film about Lithuanian Conductor Saulius Sondeckis Screened at Lithuanian Jewish Community

On May 21, 2015, founder and organizer of the on-going Likimai [Fates] cycle of seminars and deputy chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community Maša Grodnikienė hosted a public screening of a long-awaited film about famous Lithuanian musician and conductor professor Saulius Sondeckis. The moderator for the event was professor Leonidas Melnikas, who spoke about the concerts conducted by the maestro and his interpretations. Professor Melnikas said this is Lithuania’s musical legacy. The maestro himself thanked his parents for his successful musical career, noting stories of their good deeds circulated by word of mouth: the charity work of his mother, a teacher, to help poor students, and the deeds of his father, the burgermeister of Šiauliai, in saving Jews from the Holocaust.

Melnikas said from childhood the future conductor and teacher was sensitive to true human values and led an upright life. The film, lasting more than an hour and a half, features wonderful music, but also brings viewers face to face with Saulius Sondeckis as he speaks, whereas at concerts viewers usually only see the conductor’s back. Also in attendance at the screening were the conductor’s wife Silvija, herself a professor and a wonderful violoncellista, and their son Saulius.

Picture galery:

A Meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania at the Lithuanian Jewish Community

A Meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania at the Lithuanian Jewish Community

Israel’s first ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon was the guest at the 31st meeting of the “Likimai”[Fates] cycle of seminars initiated and organized by Lithuanian Jewish Community deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnikienė on June 9, 2015.

The event was billed as an opportunity for LJC members and the general public to get to know ambassador Maimon better. Opening the event, Grodnikienė said it was the first actual meeting of the ambassador with the LJC members, because not all were able to attend the historic opening of the first embassy of the State of Israel in Vilnius earlier this year.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chair Faina Kukliansky also delivered a warm-hearted and friendly introduction, but cautioned that the State of Israel and the Lithuanian Jewish Community were two entirely different entities and sometimes held differing positions.

Ambassador Maimon beamed confidently at the full third-floor auditorium and said he disagreed with Kuklianksy. He said both the local community and the state were essentially the same thing: the Jewish community. After that he launched into a retelling of his life and career starting with his great-grandparents’ generation and his ancestors who lived in Yemen. His entire talk was marked by a kind of joviality which occasionally manifested as humorous remarks, all of which were faithfully and accurately translated.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Winter Children’s Camp at Šventoji, Lithuania

Lithuanian Jewish Community Winter Children’s Camp at Šventoji, Lithuania

Eighty children aged from 7 to 18 from Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai came together for the LJC winter camp at the end of December. The camp held at the Šventoji, Lithuania recreational and health resort Energetikas lasted six days. The children were treated to an intensive program of activities prepared by the camp leaders as well as having an opportunity to enjoy the seaside and one another.

 Dorin Rosenkova, the camp leader, was a participant at such camps not so long ago but is now the director responsible for all children. She said everyone was satisfied with this camp.