Photo: Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, director, Lithuanian Literature and Folklore Institute, reads poems by Abraham Sutzkever
The European Day of Jewish Culture was celebrated September 4 in Vilnius with a klezmer music concert and Yiddish poetry readings. We are glad it was such a real holiday, and proud of its organizers!
Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky thanks everyone who contributed to organizing the event and who sacrificed their time for the Jewish community’s benefit.
“Thank you to the staff of the Bagel Shop Café who prepared special Jewish treats for everyone. Only though joint effort can our small community organize celebrations of such high caliber and take pride in them along with a large group of friends and guests. Thank you to the small group of volunteers who truly helped. Thank you to the Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium, fostering students who honor and are interested in their roots and culture, the young Europeans for whom understanding of tolerance and civic-mindedness is an urgent matter. Thank you to the gymnasium students who took part in the celebration,” chairwoman Kukliansky said.
The event “Vilnius Speaks Yiddish Again!” hosted at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius began with breakfast at the Bagel Shop in the morning, followed by an invitation by Dr. Ruth Reches, author of the Small Illustrated Hebrew-Lithuanian Dictionary for Beginners, to children and parents to attend Hebrew lessons. Chairwoman Kukliansky addressed participants, as did Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius and Cultural Heritage Department director Diana Varnaitė. Fania Brancovskaja, a Holocaust survivor and Jewish partisan who is now librarian at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University, read poetry by Moyshe Kulbak in Yiddish. LJC heritage protection specialist Martynas Užpelkis led a discussion on heritage protection of Lithuanian Jewish architectural sites. The Rakija Klezmer Orkestar added to the festivities with a concert of klezmer music. Towards evening the Bagel Shop Café took on a sort of cabaret atmosphere with a poetry reading by Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, who read his translations of the poetry of Abraham Sutzkever.
Our thanks also go out to the Lithuanian Radio and Television reporters who documented the event.
Two collections of photographs from the event are available:
Photos below by Dovilė Abromavičiūtė: