Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 9:39 P.M. on Friday, June 14, and concludes at 11:30 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region.

Condolences

We are saddened to report Mikhail Filippov-Yablonsky died June 12. He was born in 1947. He was a great soul beloved by everyone, an artist, musician and singer and a long-time member of the Fayerlakh Jewish song and dance ensemble. May he rest in peace. We extend our deepest condolences to Misha’s wife, children and many friends and family members.

Happy Shavuot

Happy Shavuot

Dear readers,

Happy Shavuot!

Today Jews around the world celebrate Shavuot, one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar for centuries, with not one but several significant meanings.

The first is the religious one which tells the story of how seven weeks after the Hebrews left Egypt, God gave the gift of the Torah to Moses and the entire Jewish people, the sacred text in the form of the Pentateuch with 613 mitzvot, or laws. Shavuot is also called the Feast of Weeks. Traditionally Jews do not sleep on this night and spend it studying Torah, intoning the morning prayer when dawn breaks.

This is an especially important holiday because God’s Ten Commandments have determined the whole course of human morality and civilization. Having received the oral Torah, only a portion was written down, with the rest inscribed only 1,500 years later, after the destruction of the Second Temple.

Shavuot is also the celebration of the first harvest, featuring abundant dairy products and homes decorated with flowers. Traditionally Jews make pancakes with curds and cheesecake, and eat ice cream, drink milk shakes and consume other treats.

Have a delicious holiday!

Litvak Literature Conference

Litvak Literature Conference

The Vilnius Jewish Public Library will host a conference on Litvak literature on Sunday, June 22, at 1:00 P.M. Yuri Greisman, Arkadijus Vinokuras, Elena Suodienė, Samoilas Lormanas, Leonida Kriščiūnienė and others will give presentations in Lithuanian. The Vilnius Jewish Public Library is located at Gedimino prospect no. 24 in Vilnius.

IDF Rescues 4 Hostages Including Noa Argamani

IDF Rescues 4 Hostages Including Noa Argamani

JTA–Israeli forces rescued four hostages held since October 7 in the central Gaza Strip, including Noa Argamani, the festival-goer who was filmed screaming as she was carried away by terrorists on a motorcycle.

In addition to Argamani, 26, the army said in a statement that Almog Meir Jan, 22; Andrey Kozlov, 27; and Shlomi Ziv, 41, were rescued Saturday in the raid. All four were attending the Nova music festival on October 7 when Hamas terrorists killed approximately 1,200 people and abducted some 250, launching the war.

The army said special forces carried out the operation in Nuseirat in the center of the coastal territory. Arnon Zamora, a commander of the operation, was killed in the battle.

Hamas initially said “dozens” of Palestinians were killed in the operation. Media later quoted the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry as saying the number was more than 200. It did not report what proportion were civilians and what proportion were combatants.

Lithuanian Makabi Triumphs in Table Tennis Tournament

Lithuanian Makabi Triumphs in Table Tennis Tournament

Last weekend the 50th annual Lithuanian ping-pong championship was held in Kelmė. Congratulations to Rafaelis Gimelsteinas representing the Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club who took away one gold and two bronze medals.

Playing singles and doubles in the 45-49 age group with partner Jurgita Grucytė from the Sostinė club, Rafaelis competed against the strong team of Aidas Čeponka and Anželika Petrauskienė who have won before. After pitched battle, in the fourth set Rafaelis and Jurgita only needed one more point to win, and concentrated sufficiently to get that point, winning 3:2 and taking gold.

“I dedicate this victory to the Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club and trainer Alirgdas Majorovas,” Rafaelis Gimelsteinas said, adding there would be chess and table tennis tournaments next Sunday at the Cvi Park space in Vilnius where he will be taking on contenders.

Condolences

Jevgenija Feldman passed away on June 7. She was born in 1939. She was a member of the Klaipėda Jewish Community and a client of the Saul Kagan Welfare Center. Faina Kukliansky and the entire Lithuanian Jewish Community send our deepest condolences to her daughter Maja and all her family and friends.

Germany Bestows Award on Faina Kukliansky on D-Day

Germany Bestows Award on Faina Kukliansky on D-Day

Yesterday, on historic D-Day, “decision day” marking the entry of the western Allies into Nazi-occupied France and the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany, German ambassador to Lithuania Cornelius Zimmermann presented Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany for her tireless work commemorating Lithuanian Holocaust victims and long-term efforts to unite the LJC including enhancing the organization’s role on the national and international level.

Ambassador Zimmermann presented the honor, saying Germany’s responsibility for the Holocaust will remain forever. He said the Holocaust was a barbaric crime against humanity which led to the death of 95% of the Lithuanian Jewish community. He also said the small Litvak community which survives plays an important role in Lithuanian political life and in the international community, thanks to the efforts of the exceptional person occupying the post of leadership at the LJC.

“I received this award truly not only because my parents were imprisoned in a ghetto and experienced other horrors of the Holocaust, along with other Lithuanian Jews. Their children are not presented medals because of that. I hope this award is an evaluation of preserving memory. I’m not the only person doing this, each of our communities in every region where they have been established are doing everything possible to maintain the old cemeteries and restore synagogues. Sometimes I’m asked why we are doing this if there are no Jews left in the towns anyway. In order to preserve their memory. We no longer possess our parents’ candelabra which every family had for lighting the Sabbath candles. The only thing we have left is memory and respect, and not just self-respect, but also that of the state of Germany which, despite the tragic lessons of history, today is a shining example in many regards. I truly cherish this award because it wasn’t presented to me personally but as an assessment of the work by the entire Jewish community,” chairwoman Kukliansky said, thanking the German president, ambassador Zimmermann and previous German ambassador to Lithuania Matthias Sohn.

Rafailas Karpis and Vilnius State Choir Take Audience on Musical Journey through Jewish History

Rafailas Karpis and Vilnius State Choir Take Audience on Musical Journey through Jewish History

On June 4 the St. Kotryna (aka Catherine) Church in Vilnius was the gathering place for LJC members, foreign embassy staff, members of the Christian community and friends from Israel who came to take in another Shalom Culture and Music Festival in which opera soloist Rafailas Karpis, the Vilnius State Choir conducted by Artūras Dambrauskas, violinist Borisas Kirzneris and pianist Vincenzo de Martino performed an exceptional program of Jewish music with vocal works in Yiddish, Hebrew, Latin, English and Lithuanian, a musical journey through millennia of Jewish and Litvak history.

Art Exhibit at Kurkliai Wooden Synagogue

Art Exhibit at Kurkliai Wooden Synagogue

The recently-restored wooden synagogue in Kurkliai in the Anykščiai region recently opened its doors to the public again with an exhibit of paintings and graphic designs by Vytautas Kasiulis. The images were of different snapshots of Jewish life. The characters featured gracefully against a backdrop of town streets, natural scenes and indoors. The artist and his wife Bronė had donated the paintings to Lithuania in 2010. At the opening ceremony for the synagogue exhibition soloist Judita Leitaitė performed a concert. Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman and Panevėžys Jewish Community member Albertas Savinčius with his wife Virginija attended.

Kofman delivered a welcome speech and read written greetings from Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky.

There was a relatively large Jewish population in the village of Kurkliai in the early 20th century, exterminated during the Holocaust. The small village had had a population of about 90 Jews before that, and the Jewish community centered around the synagogue.

News from Panevėžys

News from Panevėžys

Former board member, poet, musician and chanson enthusiast Aleksandras Krasnačiarovas and wife Galina have made their customary visit to the Panevėžys Jewish Community.

The formerly long-time members of the Panevėžys Jewish Community now live near Tel Aviv in Israel. They shared memories about life in Panevėžys and told many fun stories from their time in Lithuania.

They also shared a lot of information about the situation in Israel. The married couple said they were glad they had found a relatively peaceful location in Israel to spend their retirement, but that Hamas is a continuing concern. They met their daughter Ekaterina in Panevėžys as well. She is a member of the Panevėžys Jewish Community executive board.

Aleksandras Krasnačiarovas has published five books of his poetry and donated editions of all five to the Panevėžys Jewish Community library. The pleasant trip down memory lane was complemented by Aleksandras singing Jewish songs with acoustic guitar.

Ilan Club Ending Season

Ilan Club Ending Season

After a fun, intriguing and crazily fantastic season for the Ilan Club for children, the closing ceremony should be just as much fun. It happens this Sunday. To find out where and when, register by sending an email to levickajasimona@gmail.com. Please register by June 8.

Let’s Celebrate Shavuot

Let’s Celebrate Shavuot

The Saul Kagan Welfare Center and the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s social services department greet you on the up-coming holiday of Shavuot and invite members and clients to a holiday concert. The Jewish song and dance ensemble Simcha from the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium promise a fun and interesting experience.

Registration required by sending an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt or by calling (+370) 678 81514.

Time: 1:00 P.M., Monday, June 10
Place: Third floor, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

Israeli Ambassador Visits Panevėžys

Israeli Ambassador Visits Panevėžys

Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein visited the Panevėžys Jewish Community recently where she met with chairman Gennady Kofman and the board of directors. Kofman gave a brief sketch of the life and activities of the Panevėžys Jewish Community and showed the ambassador their archives including thousands of testimonies from Litvak who once lived in the city.

Kofman escorted the ambassador to the former yeshiva building there, the former market square, the Hera Torah synagogue, the Jewish cemetery and Memory Square with the monument Sad Jewish Mother. He told her as well about the JDC’s work in Lithuania between the two world wars and they laid a wreath at the marker showing the location of the former ghetto gate.

He also took her to the city hall where he introduced her to Panevėžys mayor Rytis Račkauskas. They discussed various forms of cooperation.

Following in Kanovitch’s Footsteps

Following in Kanovitch’s Footsteps

June 9 will mark the 95th birthday of late Litvak novelist Grigoriy Kanovitch. The Kaunas Jewish Community and the Palanga Jewish Community recently celebrated his memory with a procession and walking tour through Kanovitch’s native town Jonava with Jonava Regional History Museum guide Giedrė Konbtrimė. They visited the sites where the writer spent his childhood and youth. Felikas Paulauskas is also putting the finishing touches on an installation which should open in a few weeks in Jonava which will also present to the public of the inner worlds of the Litvak writer.

Remembering David Brenner

Remembering David Brenner

Viktor David Brenner (1871-1924) is probably best known as the artist responsible for the Lincoln one-cent coin design, the U.S. penny, but was also a versatile artist, sculptor and designer with many works to his credit. Back in 2016 late novelist and long-time director of the Vilna Gaon Museum Markas Zingeris spoke at the unveiling of a plaque commemorating Brenner in the latter’s home town Šiauliai saying the commemoration of the famous Litvak V. D. Brenner gave rise to wider thoughts on historical memory, identity, national traditions and culture.

There will be a commemoration at the commemorative plaque on the Šiauliai Bank building in Šiauliai at 12:00 noon on June 12, with plaque authors and creators Vaidotas Janulis and Jonas Nekrašius, with a musical interlude by violinists from a local music school.

At 5:30 P.M. the same day the Šiauliai Jewish Community at P. Višinskio street no. 24 will open an exhibit of reproductions of works by Brenner including coins, medallions and bas-reliefs from the collection of the M. K. Čiurlionis Museum, with a discussion over tea and coffee moderated by Jonas Nekrašius. Šiauliai Bank is sponsoring these events.

Jerusalem Day

Jerusalem Day

Today, the 28th day of the month of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar, is the Israeli national holiday Jerusalem Day, commemorating Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War in 1967 and the return of the ancient capital to the Jewish state.

It has been declared a minor religious holiday by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and it is a holiday on which Israelis get a day off work. It is also a day when schools, government offices, and many businesses are closed.

Art Studio Ends Season with Exhibit

Art Studio Ends Season with Exhibit

The Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Art Studio under the tutelage of master painter Raimondas Savickas is ending the season with an exhibit of works by participants. Everyone is welcome, but registration is required by sending an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt.

Time: 6:00 P.M., Friday, June 7
Place: Third floor, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius