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Much Noise, Few Jews

photos by V. Ščiavinskas courtesy of

Faina Kukliansky Says Election of Simonas Gurevičius as Vilnius Jewish Community Chairman Invalid

Is this an insurgency against the current leadership of the community, or also against dialogue with the Lithuanian state? This question needs to be asked because of the growing conflict among Lithuanian Jews.

Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) and Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said she still hasn’t decided whether to offer hew candidacy for a second four-year term. But long-time former Simonas Gurevičius, who left the community earlier, is already attacking the current leader on all fronts.

Incidentally, one of Gurevičius’s main supporters is US Jewish activist Dovid Katz, who constantly accuses the Lithuanian state of anti-Semitic policies.

Arkadijus Vinokuras: A Community Divided

Yesterday, on May 24, 2017, in an uprising against Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, the 15 men of the executive board conducted, according to the current chairwoman, illegitimate elections, thus dividing the community.

I, Arkadijus Vinokuras, a legitimate candidate, refused to take part in these elections for three reasons, which can be summed up in the cynical words of newly elected [sic] Vilnius Jewish Community chairman Simonas Gurevičius: “The unity of the community is important. But unity was never a synonym for idiocy. The community is united in pursuing its goals, in improving conditions, in mutual aid, in growth, in perfection, in other positive matters. Not in silence over dishonesty and apathy.” Did you get it? The unity of the community is considered a synonym for stupidity. Apparently striving for the unity of the community (but not confusing this in any way with a uniform opinion) is also idiotic. That the new “chairman” considers members of the VJC idiots and fools, and that the defense of morality has become a farce, was shown by him immediately during the election, when I withdrew from the elections and that very same minute a new candidacy was raised “in the name of democratic elections.”

Why I Refused to Participate

First. Because of the moral dilemma. There are 2,200 members in the Vilnius Jewish Community. These elections for the post of VJC chairman were attended exclusively by Gurevičius’s supporters, just 260 people. I, on the other hand, want to be a candidate for all members, regardless of whether they are proponents or opponents. That’s the correct and fair way. Thus my legitimate hopes and expectations as a legitimate candidate were not satisfied.

Second. Only Gurevičius’s supporters participated in these “elections.” He was elected by 246 people. I cannot countenance these elections turned farcical with no chance for an independent candidate.

Third. These elections didn’t contain even a trace of democracy. First of all, the conflict which arose between the executive board and the chairwoman was born in immorality. Whether there were good grounds for it or not, I won’t get into, I won’t go into the legal arguments. But it’s not just the legal aspect that matters in this small community, it’s the aspect of fairness and justice. So the chairwoman was accused of usurping power and manipulating the regulations of the VJC. All the problems of the VJC were placed at the feet of the chairwoman.

Flawed Regulations

But–at least the question arises in my mind–where were these members of the executive board of the VJC, these allegedly intelligent 15 men, these last four years? Why didn’t they over the course of those years do anything to change these flawed rules and regulations which allowed for manipulations using these regulations as seen fit and as desired by the chair and the executive board? Why did these 15 men, who placed the blame for the conflict on one woman, begin this conflict which has led directly to the schism in the community?

Important Information for Social Programs Department Clients

The Social Programs Department of the Lithuanian Jewish Community has learned members of the Vilnius Jewish Community have been getting telephone calls with requests for information about the assistance and/or compensation they are receiving and asking for personal information. If this happened to you, you WERE NOT called by the Social Programs Department which is not conducting any such surveys.

Please be careful and critical, telephone scammers are very good at what they do. Do not divulge any information to people you don’t know over the telephone or by email. These criminals specialize in gaining the confidence of their victims in order to steal their money. If you received a suspicious telephone call, please report it to the Social Programs Department immediately:

telephone (8 5) 2613 003

Meeting with LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky at Panevėžys Jewish Community

Members of the Panevėžys Jewish Community turned out May 17 to meet Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky. She provided a brief synopsis of LJC activities and answered questions. Afterwards there was discussion of social welfare issues and an exchange of opinions about current events and trends within the LJC.

“Thank you, Faina, for your assessment of the Panevėžys Jewish Community, for sharing your insights and for answering questions of concern to us. We are not just the Panevėžys Jewish Community, but also part of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, so these sorts of meetings are important to us and pleasant,” Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman said.


Vaclovas Petras Baltusevičius, a member of the Kaunas Jewish Community, passed away May 17. He was born June 16, 1940. We express our sincere condolences to his loved ones.

LJC Support to Rescuers

The Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Social Programs Department is continuing the project begun in 2014 in 2017 to provide aid to elderly WWII-era rescuers of Jews from the Holocaust, financed by the Goodwill Foundation.

Seventy-six Righteous Gentiles received personal letters wishing them good health and wellness. Each rescuer will receive up to 326 euros this year.

Director Sought for New Jewish Kindergarten

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has announced a candidate search for the best person to fill the post of director of the planned private Jewish kindergarten Shalom. Requirements include perfect fluency in Lithuanian and specific levels of proficiency in English, Russian and Hebrew.

Full details in Lithuanian here.

Gesher and Kaveret Clubs to Screen Zookeeper’s Wife in Russian

The Gesher and Kaveret Clubs of the Lithuanian Jewish Community are to screen a Russian-language version of the film the Zookeeper’s Wife (2017) at 7:00 P.M., May 22, 2017, on the third floor at LJC headquarters located at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. The American film is about the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust by the Warsaw Zoo zookeeper and his wife. For more information, call Žana Skudovičienė at 370 678 81514.

Thank You

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky received the following thank-you note from the granddaughter of a Lithuanian woman who rescued Jews from the Holocaust.


My grandmother Stasė Minelgienė (a recognized Righteous Gentile) asked me to thank you for the card [debit card] which she received as a gift. She also asked me to wish you a nice day, good health and the highest success.

Her granddaughter,
N. Žvirblytė

Misha Breakfast Program at Choral Synagogue

Dear Community members,

Before his death, long-time client of the LJC Social Programs Department Avishalom Moishe Fishman left a last will and testament donating his savings to the Lithuanian Jewish Community who had cared for him in his latter years.

To honor Moishe Fishman’s wishes, LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky proposed using the funds for the needs of the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius.

In furthering Jewish traditions of charity, it was decided with Vilnius Jewish Religious Community chairman Simas Levinas to use the funds received to set up a free-breakfast program in the cafeteria on the second floor of the Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street no. 39, Vilnius.

Moishe lived alone and was a client of the Social Programs Department for about 18 years.

The Community and its members, and especially members of the seniors club, became his second home and family.

Let’s remember together this enlightened man beloved and honored by all who knew him.

For the first time a plaque will be placed on the wall of the synagogue to thank and remember a local philanthropist, rather than a donor from abroad.

Everyone knew him as Misha, so this has been dubbed “Misha’s Breakfast Project.” It will begin Monday, May 15. The breakfast program will take place at the synagogue from 9:00 to 10:00 A.M., Monday to Friday.

Abi Men Zet Zich Club Celebrates Victory Day

The Lithuanian Jewish Community celebrated Victory Day 2017 inviting the public to the Abi Men Zet Zich Club at the Community. The event included a ceremony to honor the heroes of World War II, our veterans and Community members.

An overflow crowd of about 140 people crammed into the hall and foyer to honor the memory of the fallen and to celebrate humanity’s victory over the Nazi death machine. Time has taken its toll on our veterans and now there are only 14 Jewish WWII veterans still living in Vilnius.

The event was organized by LJC Social Programs Department coordinator Žana Skudovičienė with the aid of volunteers and colleagues, with musical performances by Michailas Filipovas ( Jablonskis), Vadim Volkov and Rita Alterman. The Bagel Shop Café and Natali Restaurant catered the event and Arikas Krupas provided special beverages to the veterans as he has for many years now.

Our thanks go to everyone who took part and especially to the students in the woodwind orchestra of the Santara Gymnasium and Pre-Gymnasium in Vilnius and orchestra conductor Linas Avižienis.

Thank You

LJC Social Programs Department coordinator Žana Skudovičienė thanks everyone who helped make this year’s Victory Day celebrations at the Community such a success for our members and veterans. About 140 people attended Community events for VIctory Day on May 8. A big “thank you!” goes out to the singers Michailas Filipovas ( Jablonskis), Vadim Volkov and Rita Alterman, and to the Bagel Shop Café and Natali Restaurant for the wonderful treats, and to Arikas Krupas who has provided and paid for special beverages for the veterans for many years now. Thank you!

Meeting with Actors from Moscow’s Vakhtangov Academic Theater

In mid-April a meeting with an overflow audience was held at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius to meet the actors of the famous Vakhtangov Academic Theater in Moscow who are performing the play “Nusišypsok mums, Viešpatie!” [Smile upon Us, O Lord] under the direction of Rimas Tuminas. Actors at the meeting included Sergey Makovetsky (playing the character Efraim Dudak), Aleksei Guskov (Shmule-Sender Lazarek), Yevgeniy Kniazev, Viktor Suhorukov (Avner Rosental) Julia Rutberg (Ožkytė) and Viktor Dobronravov (playing Hloyne-Geneh).

Twenty years after its premiere at Vilnius’s Small Theater, the play was performed at the Yevgeniy Vakhtangov Theater in Moscow in 2014, where Tuminas has been director since 2007. The tour of the play in Lithuania this time is dedicated to the late actor Vytautas Šapranauskas, who died in 2013 and was unable to play again the role of Chloinė Genech in Tuminas’s presentation of the drama in Moscow. The play originally performed at the Little Theater on Gedimino prospect in Vilnius travelled around the world, winning numerous awards at drama festivals. In 1995 Tuminas won the title of best Lithuanian director for his direction of the play and the prestigious Kristoforas statue. Drama score composer Faustas Latėnas and Gediminas Girdvainis, who created the character of Avner Rozental, also won the same awards in separate categories.

The new production of the play is also a world traveller and has been seen in New York, Toronto and Tel Aviv.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Social Programs Department Clients Give Back

Last week the staff of the Social Programs Department at the Lithuanian Jewish Community received an unexpected gift: a giant Lithuanian šakotis pastry!

The brothers Antanas Kaplanas and Leonas Janušauskis of Raseiniai, Lithuania, rescued from death during World War II, sent the gift to thank SPD employees for the services they provide.

The SPD has been supplying them with coal for heating during the cold months along with help in acquiring needed medications and food products.

We are proud of our clients as well as our staff who work so professionally and with such great dedication.

Vilnius Seniors Visit Panevėžys

A group of members of the Vilnius Jewish Community’s Seniors Club, directed by Žana Skudovičienė, visited the Panevėžys Jewish Community. Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman spoke about the history and life of the Panevėžys Jewish Community in a pleasant setting, sipping tea around a table with fresh bagels brought from the Bagel Shop Café in Vilnius. Several of the Vilnius members’ parents had lived and worked in Panevėžys and were greatly interested in the Panevėžys Jewish Community’s Museum of History. Mutual interest led some of the seniors to tell about the life and fate of their parents in greater detail.

Guests visited the site of the Panevėžys Jewish cemetery and heard about its tragic destruction in 1966, and how headstones were used as decoration for the wall of the Juozas Miltinis Theater.

Žana Skudovičienė in the name of all club members expresses their gratitude for the warm reception.

Frankfurt Jewish Community Looks Forward to Passover

Frankfurto žydų bendruomenė taip pat laukia Pesacho šventės

Employees of the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Social Programs Department are currently visiting the Frankfurt Jewish Community in Germany. Under the EU’s ERASMUS program, ten center employees will learn from colleagues in Germany, Poland and France this year how best to expand the care and services network for the elderly and how to provide higher-quality services to our clientele.

Our employees studying practices in Germany are being hosted by our partner-organization Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der Juden in Deutschland or ZWST. This is one of the organizations with the longest experience serving the elderly. Their main clients are Jews and their families who have immigrated from Eastern Europe. The LJC Social Programs Department wants to learn more about the standards of services provided, European perspectives and how to apply them in dealing with the problem of aging in the Community.

Below you will find some pictures and descriptions of the Frankfurt Jewish Community, the second-largest Jewish community in Germany about 60% of whose members hail from Russia, Ukraine and other countries. Members pay a membership fee based on their income tax.


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.

LJC Gešer and Kaveret Young Families Clubs Putting on Purim Party

The Gešer and Kaveret Young Families Clubs invite you to come celebrate the happiest Jewish holiday of the year, Purim, with a Purim Carnival, with music and atmosphere from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s and the unforgettable Michailas Frišmanas and DJ Titas Morkūnas.

The Carnival theme is стиляги (hipsterism), including foxtrot, jive, boogie woogie and rock’n’roll. Recommended attire includes loud shirts and dresses of all eras, colorful jackets, ties, umbrellas and fedoras, but use your imagination and go wild, hipsters come in all shapes, sizes and historical eras. Only those in costume to be admitted.

The party starts at 7:00 P.M. on March 17 at the Natali restaurant located at Žalgirio street no. 92. The cost of ticket per person is €10.00 and reservations may be made from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. from March 7 to March 14, please call Žana Skudovičienė at 8 678 81514

Lithuanian State Auditors Find Compensation for Jewish Property Used Appropriately


Vilnius, February 9, BNS–The Lithuanian State Auditor has no complaints on the use of compensation for Jewish religious communal property this year, although they found irregularities last year.

The State Auditor’s Office reported finding no violations in the 2016 audit of the use of such funds.

The year prior to that auditors said the foundation dispensing the funds had used some monies from the state allocated under the Lithuanian law on goodwill compensation for pre-Holocaust Jewish real estate had been used in the 2012-2015 period for matters not defined in the law, namely, to pay for administrative expnses of the disbursing foundation. In 2016 the Lithuanian parliament amended the law to allow for the Goodwill Foundation to pay its own administrative costs.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Birthdays in February

LŽB 2017m. vasario mėnesio jubiliatai

Vilnius Jewish Community:

Jelizaveta Rodionova (February 3)
Aleksandras Rutenbergas (February 7)
Viktor Chramcov (February 8)
Jefim Pesin (February 10)
Isaak Štargot (February 12)
Ravelis Kozlovas (February 14)
Šura Cechanovskaja (February 15)
Valerij Šulman (February 20)
Inesa Fainštein (February 21)
Valentina Ivanuškina (February 23)
Vladimir Savenkov (February 27)

Kaunas Jewish Community:

Feiga Tregerienė (February 17)
Maksimas Rudekas (February 19)

Klaipėda Jewish Community:

Michail Muruzov (February 15)
Igor Zamanskij (February 26)

Šiauliai Jewish Community:

Garold Vaisbrod (February 13)
Chaimas Šeras (February 24)


Antanas Kaplanas (February 22)


Grigorijus Kušneris (February 2)