A Remarkable Event: Litvaks from around the World to Gather in Vilnius

A Remarkable Event: Litvaks from around the World to Gather in Vilnius

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is inviting Litvaks from around the world to come to Vilnius from May 23 to May 26, to visit the land of their ancestors and to take part in the Fifth World Litvak Congress. The four-day congress has a program which includes discussions, tours of historical sites and different cultural activities dedicated to Jewish heritage in Lithuania and achievements by Litvaks on the world stage.

Events include the opening at the Lithuanian parliament and a concert by American cantor and professor Joseph Malovany at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius in an evening of concerts called “A Date with Vilne” which will include Lithuanian musicians and actors paying homage to the memory of the Jews who lived and worked in Lithuania.

Lithuanian parliamentary speaker Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen is the official patron of the Fifth World Litvak Congress. She said: “This Litvak Congress is happening while aggression is running wild in the Ukraine, when war fever has infected the entire region, which is significant to Lithuania historically and today, and to the entire world of Yiddish culture. In the face of blind brutality and violence it is always important to emphasize humanitarianism, empathy, the highest spiritual values from which the long Litvak tradition has always taken strength. This is especially urgent today when in the east of Europe an aggressive and imperialistic anti-Semitism has again raised its head, distorting historical facts and manipulating peoples’ emotions. We must oppose this.”

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said: “The World Litvak Congress in Vilnius sends a message to the whole world that Jewishness in Lithuania doesn’t just have a past. Over these days we invite participants to an open discussion on the future of Litvak culture and about how important it is to pass this culture on to our children and grandchildren. I am convinced that the Lithuanian state, as well, has an interest in insuring that all Litvaks of the world would feel at home in the native land of their ancestors.”

The culinary legacy occupies a special place in Litvak heritage, so the Bagel Shop Café located at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius is inviting Congress attendees, local residents and guests to come sample Litvak dishes.

“I am certain many visitors will be amazed by the close connections between historical Litvak and Lithuanian cuisine. This just goes to show yet again how we lived together and forged our lives next to one another for centuries. Communicating with one another, sharing food and recipes, we created close and sincere connections between our communities which are impossible to deny,” Faina Kukliansky said.

Full article in Lithuanian here.