The Lithuanian Jewish Community in cooperation with the Vilnius city municipality will light up three bridges in the Lithuanian capital on the evening of April 14 to celebrate the 73rd Israeli independence day.
From Wednesday evening to sundown on Thursday blue and white lights will illuminate the White, Green and King Mindaugas Bridges. These colors were chosen for the flag of the state of Israel by Dovid Volfson who was born in the small town of Darbėnai in Lithuania in the mid-19th century.
“Around the world Vilnius is known as the Jerusalem of the North because of the important Jewish cultural and historical figures who were born, grew up and studied here. A number of them actively contributed to the creation of fortification of the independent state of Israel, forging extremely strong and deep ties between Vilnius and Israel and its people,” LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said.
The Lithuanian capital is suffused with Jewish heritage even today. There are traces of the Jewish cultural, architectural, artistic and culinary heritage on every street and in every building in the Vilnius Old Town. Chairwoman Kukliansky says public interest in Jewish history and culture has grown visibly in recent years with ever more Lithuanians discovering the Litvak legacy. There is also growing interest felt from the Israeli side, and before quarantine measures the number of Israeli tourists visiting Lithuania searching for their roots and visiting historical sites was accelerating.
Vilnius has a long tradition of marking important dates and anniversaries by illuminating different parts of the city.
“I like that Vilnius will be illuminated in the Israeli colors today, so demonstrating friendship with Israel. The Jewish cultural legacy in Vilnius is one of the most important and oldest ties that bind, but Israeli is interested in us not just because of the past, but also because of the future: Vilnius and Lithuania are being discovered by Jewish businesspeople,” Faina Kukliansky remarked.
The State of Israel was established officially in 1948, three years after the end of World War II. Litvaks and their descendants were among the most active artists, most renowned politicians and national leaders in the young country and now, for example, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the grandson of Natan Mileikovski, a Litvak who left to settle in Palestine in 1930. Israel now has a population of over 9 million.
Contact person: Michail Segal, mobile telephone 8 650 75939, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Full press release in Lithuanian here.