ELTA, July 8, 2021
A general meeting of the members of the Lithuanian Jewish Community held Wednesday voted for a third time to elect Faina Kukliansky the chairwoman of the organization. Twenty-six members of the LJC’s executive board were elected at the same time.
The chairperson of the Community is elected for a four-year term by a majority of the regional Jewish communities and associate members constituting the LJC. Of the 32 organizations under the LJC umbrella, 31 representatives took part in Wednesday’s ballot. Kukliansky received 30 votes out of the possible 31, according to a press release from the LJC.
Kukliansky said her most important task as chairwoman is to inspire unity among the different Jewish communities in Lithuania. She said the LJC’s other priorities haven’t changed, but life is changing: the generation which experienced the horrors of World War II is growing old and dying, and so caring for them is becoming even more crucial.
“We are continuing to strengthen the activity of our social center, taking care of those requiring support, employing people with disabilities and engaging them in Community activities. Another important priority is preservation and putting to use the surviving Jewish cultural heritage: we have wonderful examples of restored synagogues being used as cultural activity centers,” Faina Kukliansky said.
The LJC is also preparing for a more active role in the activities of international organizations and for using the global tribunal to talk about shared human values and human rights.
“I pledge by all means available, i.e., by legal amendment and working together with international organizations, to fight Holocaust denial and distortion and hate crimes. The people, especially young people, must know the truth, and this shouldn’t be limited just to annual commemorations,” Kukliansky said.
The Community is also engaged in discussions on the commemoration of the old Jewish cemeteries of Vilnius in the Šnipiškės neighborhood and on Olandų street.
“These territories have both a religious and a symbolic significance not just to the Jewish community in Lithuania but to many Jews around the world, these locations are where their ancestors and sages revered by the entirety of the Jewish people are buried. We are seeking for the memorialization of these people to meet all the requirements incumbent upon Jewish sacred sites,” she continued.
The LJC chairwoman said the Community is prepared to present itself and its identity to the Lithuanian public and is the main voice representing Jewish culture, history and values in Lithuania. In its press release the Community said it plans to continue projects teaching the public about Jewish culture and holding series of discussions on urgent topics, as well as presenting traditional Litvak cuisine to the general public at the renewed Bagel Shop Café.