The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Gesher Club invite you to a special Sabbath just before the Purim holiday on Friday, March 6, where violin virtuoso Ana Agre will perform. The event starts at 7:00 P.M. in the Heifetz Hall of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. For information and to reserve a table, call 867881514 or write firstname.lastname@example.org
To the honorable Lithuanian Ambassador to Israel Mrs. Lina Antanavičienė
12 Aba Hillel Silver Street, 17th Floor
Ramat Gan 5250606
Re: Republic of Lithuania Independence celebration
Dear Ambassador Antanvicienė,
Thank you for the ”save the date” to the Lithuania Independence Day celebration to be held on March 16, 2020. Unfortunately, we shall not attend. The Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel made a decision within its board of directors meeting of February 20, 2020, not to participate in the festivities until we have a sound solution to the proposed resolution to the Seimas by Mr. Gumuliauskas to absolve Lithuania and Lithuanians of their active participation in the Holocaust and in the murder of Jews during the period of World War II.
We have cooperated fully with the restored Independent Republic of Lithuania regimes in combating anti-Semitism and promoting historical recognition of that dark period of World War II between the years 1941-1945.
As the Vilnius Book Fair ramps up this year, Grigoriy Kanovitch’s “Miestelio romansas” (the Lithuanian translation of his “Shtetl Love Song”] is reappearing on bookshop shelves. The novel tells the stories of people in small-town Lithuania, including Jews, Lithuanians, Poles and Russians, in the period between 1920 and 1941. Kanovitch’s son Sergejus, also an accomplished author, interviewed him in a press release for the book fair.
How does Shtetl Love Song fit in the context of your entire corupus? How important is it that the Lithuanian edition has gone into its second printing?
Shtetl Love Song is my most personal book. It’s the most biographical. I wouldn’t say I’m spoiled by second editions. Of course there have been some. But I should consider the additional publication of Shtetl Love Song the most important. News of this made me extraordinarily happy.
An autobiography in Lithuanian by noted Lithuanian attorney Samuelis Kukliansky who miraculously survived the Holocaust is available at the Vilnius Book Fair. His story is about maintaining human dignity and keeping alive that core of humanity in every person. The book “Samuelis Kuklianskis- teisininkas” [Samuelis Kuklianskis, Attorney] is for sale at the Vilnius Book Fair at the Adrena booth, booth no. 5D01, in hall 5.
This year’s annual Vilnius Book Fair will feature some interesting presentations involving Jewish topics.
At 3:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 20, Moi Ver’s “Ghetto Lane in Wilna” album will be presented by Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, Lolita Jablonskienė, Nissan N. Perez, Yossi Raviv and Sigutė Chlebinskaitė in Hall 3. The discussion will be held in Lithuanian and English.
At 12 noon on Friday, February 21, Matilda Olkinaitė’s book “Atrakintas dienoraštis” will be presented by editor Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas with Dr. Irena Veisaitė, Laima Vincė and Neringa Danienė participating.
At 6:00 P.M. on Friday, February 21, Dr. Lara Lempertienė, Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas and Rimantas will present “Dešimt eilėraščių/Ten Poems,” a selection of poems by Abraham Sutzkever, at the Writers’ Corner.
At 3:00 P.M. on Saturday, February 22, the book “Žydų kultūra paveikslėlių knygose: Karaliaus Motiejuko karalystė (pagal Januszą Korzcaką)” will be presented by Anna Czerwińska and Iwona Chmielewska at conference hall 5.3. The discussion will be held in Polish and English.
Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda issued awards to people for contributing to the Republic of Lithuania and making Lithuania known on February 16, Lithuanian Independence Day.
The executive board of the Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulated Community members who had received state awards on the eve of February 16, the pre-war Lithuanian Independence Day.
Vocalist Rafailas Karpis, named soloist of the year by the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater and Linas Vildžiūnas, editor of the Seven Days of Art weekly newspaper and recipient of the Leonidas Donskis prize, were recognized. Daumantas Levas Todesas, an active cultural figure, supporter of culture and long-time member of the LJC, who was elected chairman of the Ethnic Communities Service for the term between 2020 and 2024, was also recognized.
Journalist and public figure Eugenijus Bunka, named Tolerant Person of the Year, was also recognized and sent a greeting to the audience on the eve of February 16. His brief address follows.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Rikudei Am Israeli dance club invite everyone to a dance workshop from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. every Sunday at the LJC, Pylimo streeet no. 4, Vilnius. The cost is 5 euros per session, or 16 euros in advance for 4 sessions. For more information and to register, call 8 659 55 965 or email email@example.com
Information from the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, URM.lt
A new exhibit called “Lithuanian and Irish Jewish History” opened in Dublin February 3 to mark 2020, the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Vilna Gaon, declared the Year of the Vilna Gaon and Lithuanian Jewish History by the Lithuanian parliament.
The exhibit covers Jewish life in Lithuania from settlement in the Lithuanian Grand Duchy in the 14th century to the present and the history of Lithuanian Jews in Ireland.
Lithuanian ambassador to the Republic of Ireland Egidijus Meilūnas said at the opening ceremony next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between the two republics, although Litvaks had brought the two countries together 150 years ago.
The event attracted a large audience, including members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Irish and Lithuanian Jewish communities, politicians, cultural and academic figures and reporters.
Students, staff and teachers of the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius marked Lithuanian Independence Day February 16 with a full day of events.
The program included song and dance in the late morning and afternoon Friday to celebrate the day in 1918 102 years ago when the modern state of Lithuania was born. Pupils performed Lithuanian folk dancing and sang the national anthem.
Acting principal Ruth Reches said: “Children of different nationalities attend our gymnasium and one of our aims is to teach them citizenship, and to teach both the children and young people dates and holidays important to both Jewish and Lithuanian families. The day of the restoration of Lithuanian statehood celebrated on February 16 is very important to all of us, to our freedom and self-expression, and we, the entire school community, celebrated this independence day enthusiastically and ethnically.”
A commemorative event was held in honor of Righteous Gentile Ona Šimaitė February 12 in the Vilnius University library where she once worked.
As a librarian, Šimaitė carried books back and forth into and out of the Vilnius ghetto, and also messages. She also hid Jews and Jewish cultural treasures. Risking her life every day to help others, she was eventually discovered, arrested and tortured, but survived. She was one of the first Lithuanians to receive Yad Vashem’s Righteous among the Nations award in 1966.
Those attending the commemoration included Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Julija Šukys, poet, writer and translator Marius Burokas, editor Saulius Repečka, Judaica Studies Center director Dr. Lara Lempert, poetess Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, writer Saulius Stankevičius, literary critic Virginija Cibarauskaitė, members of the Jewish community and numerous others. Modestas Saukaitis, who does art restoration professionally, unveiled his own portrait of Šimaitė in the antechamber of the Lithuanian Studies Reading Room at Vilnius University during the commemoration.
Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has tasked the country’s medical experts and scientists with creating a vaccine for the Wuhan corona virus. “I instructed the Biology Institute and the Health Ministry to undertake the creation of a vaccine for the new coronavirus,” he told Israeli media.
Netanyahu made the statement following a discussion held in Jerusalem on February 2 on stopping the spread of the new virus. “We have just concluded a deep and broad discussion with all members of the Israeli cabinet on how to fight the coronavirus outbreak,” Netanyahu said.
He said the main goal of the Israeli leadership at the current time was to “postpone” the corona virus’s entry into the country. “I say postpone, because its arrival is inevitable,” Netanyahu explained.
Full story in Lithuanian here.
Eugenijus Bunka was named Tolerant Person of the Year February 2 in Kaunas. Bunka is the creator of the Litvak Memorial Garden, a regional historian, writer and journalist. At the awards ceremony he said he was carrying on the work of his father, Jakovas Bunka. The Bunka welfare and support fund finances children’s camps, meetings at schools and other events.
The award comes from the Sugihara Foundation/Diplomats for Life, which has been giving the award since 2001. They said Bunka received the distinction for his many years directing the Jakovas Bunka fund and carrying out civic and educational initiatives, commemorating the Jews of Plungė, Žemaitija and Lithuania both in his own region and around the world.
The foundation said Bunka in 2019 undertook active educational work, refuting the wartime and postwar stereotype of Jews as Communists specifically in the administration in Plungė using arguments and facts. They also noted his research into Louis Armstrong’s Litvak foster parents in America, Leiba and Tilė Karnovskiai from Vilkija, Lithuania.