The Jonava Regional History Museum invites the public to attend a walking tour of Jewish sites in the now-lost shtetl at 6:00 P.M. on July 19, starting in the courtyard of the museum. Participants will walk through the former Jewish section of the town and learn about the Jewish history of Jonava. The tour will follow the motifs in Grigory Kanovich’s novel Shtetl Love Story. For more information, visit the Jonava Tourism Information Center or call +37061421906
As archaeological work concludes for the summer season of 2019, archaeologists are reporting a number of unique discoveries.
The press is invited to the unveiling of the discoveries at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 18, features hitherto not found in historical sources and blue prints. This includes a basement chamber under the central bimah which likely collapsed before World War II when the synagogue was still in use. This probable collapse preserved gold-plated memorial plates with inscriptions in Hebrew characters. Also among the new discoveries is a silver coin from the late 18th century bearing the likeness of Catherine the Great. Lithuanian archaeologist Justinas Račas called the finds “of global significance, a unique discovery, and there have been no other basements discovered under bimahs in Lithuania.”
The Goodwill Foundation contributes financially to the archaeological research at the former Great Synagogue in Vilnius. Other project partners include the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the City of Vilnius.
Lithuanian Jewish Community and Goodwill Foundation chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist Jon Seligman and Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Protection Department archaeologist Justinas Račas will reveal these historic discoveries to media representatives and officials at 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, July 18, at Vokiečių street no. 3a in Vilnius.
The official opening ceremony for a new memorial commemorating the memory of the Jews of Jurbarkas, Lithuania, will be held at 12 noon on July 19 at Kauno street no. 64 in Jurbarkas. At 2:30 P,M. the choral group Aukuras from Klaipėda will perform at the Transfiguration of Christ Orthodox church. At 3:30 there will be a look back at the Synagogue Square Memorial Project at the Grybas Museum at Vydūno street no. 31, and at 4:30 there will be a meeting and discussion with the authors and creators of the memorial at the Jurbarkas Regional Public Library at Vilniaus street no. 4.
A day-long commemoration of Righteous Gentile Ona Šimaitė lasting into the evening will be held in Akmenė, Lithuania, July 22. “Šimaitė Invites You to Speak” is a project dedicated to honoring the local Jewish community and Ona Šimaitė and Righteous Gentiles in general. It was initiated by the Marijus and Diana Lopaitis family with the Akmenė regional public library and with support from the Akmenė town community, the Lithuanian Cultural Council, the Jakovas Bunka support fund, the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community and the Akmenė regional administration to be held on the birthday of the town of Akmenė.
Events will take place at the Akmenė Regional History Museum at Kasakausko street no. 17 and the Akmenė House of Culture at Sodo street no. 1 in Akmenė.
11:00 Conference “Šimaitė Invites You to Speak” (Akmenė Regional History Museum)
part 1: The history and fate of the Akmenė regional Jewish community
part 2: Ona Šimaitė: The Story of a Righteous Gentile
part 3: Official openings of exhibits including of manuscripts by Šimaitė, a photo exhibit called “Kaddish for the Wooden Synagogues of Lithuania” and carvings and the exhibit “The Litvak Literary Legacy” by the Akmenė regional public library.
6:00 P.M. Screening and discussion of the film Gitel directed by Robert Mullan, 2016, at the Vincas Kudirka Public Library, A. Mapu street no. 18, Kaunas.
7:00 P.M. Thematic tour “Holocaust in Lithuania” at the Ninth Fort Museum, Žemaičių highway no. 73, Kaunas.
8:00 P.M. Screening and discussion of the film “Devil’s Arithmetic” directed by Donna Deitch, 1999, at the Ninth Fort Museum, Žemaičių highway no. 73, Kaunas.
5:00 P.M. Free guided tour called “Voices of Hope” starting at the Kaunas Municipal Museum, Petrausko street no. 31, Kaunas. Registration required, call (8 37) 731 184 or email email@example.com
The European Days of Jewish Culture celebrations are scheduled to kick off September 1 and around that date. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Days. As in previous years, Lithuania is participating, although the theme for this year’s events in Lithuania is yet to be announced. The provisional theme announced by the main organizers is “innovation.”
More information here.
The summer archaeological dig at the site of the former Great Synagogue in Vilnius is set to resume this year starting July 1 and running to July 19. The team includes archaeologists from Lithuania, the USA and Israel. The continuing exploration of the site is being supported by the Goodwill Foundation in partnership with the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the Lithuanian Jewish Community.
In 2011 the team discovered the exact boundaries and fragments of the former building. In 2016, 2017 and 2018 they explored the former mikvot, or bathhouses used for ritual purification and located the central bimah of the synagogue.
This year they hope to continue exploring the remains of the building and to locate the aron kodesh, the ark used to house the Torah scroll in synagogues. Within the first three days of digging the team had already uncovered the rear entrance to the main hall of the subterranean synagogue, a set of descending steps located near the mikvot.
Events have begun in Kaunas to mark the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto there. On June 15 the Kaunas Drama Theater staged Getas [Ghetto] directed by G. Varnas and on June 29 the Kaunas City Museum invited the public to a free guided tour called Voice of Hope where museum specialist Aušra Strazdaitė-Ziberkienė told of the Jewish musicians who worked at the Kaunas State Drama Theater and the music school, the conservatory and other venues, and their contribution to establishing and enriching Lithuanian music and popularizing Lithuanian composers. She also spoke about the tragic mass murder of the Jews in the Holocaust. The tour was followed by a screening of Seserys [Sisters] by L. Kopač and D. Selčinskaja telling the story of the rescue of Danutė Pomerancaitė, the accomplished violinist.
Those who missed the event can attend repeat performances at 5:00 P.M. on July 12 and 12 noon on July 13. Please register either by calling (8 37) 731 184 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the tour is available in Lithuanian here.
The Kaunas Jewish Community, the city of Kaunas and the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite you to attend events to mark the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the Kaunas ghetto.
12:00 Commemoration at the stone marking the site of the ghetto gate at Kriščiukaičio street no. 12/Linkuvos street no. 2, Kaunas
1:00 Guided tour through Kaunas ghetto territory and unveiling of new commemorative steles (Kaunas ghetto gate to Democracy Square)
5:00 Concert at the Kaunas State Philharmonic with performances by the Kuryat Ono youth orchestra from Israel, the St. Christopher Chamber orchestra and Lithuanian Jewish tenor Rafailas Karpis
All events are free and open to the public. Come join us.
The City of Šiauliai and the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community invite you to attend events to mark the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Šiauliai ghetto on July 15, 2019.
11:30 Placing of flowers, wreaths and stones at the base of the monument stone marking the gate of the Šiauliai ghetto (on the corner of Trakų and Ežero streets).
12:00 Official ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Šiauliai ghetto at the Haim Frankel Villa Park.
3:00 Unveiling ceremony of plaque commemorating Right Gentile father Jonas Borevičius, SJ (Vilniaus street no. 245).
4:00 Ceremony to honor the victims at the Kužiai mass murder site at Norutaičiai village, Kužiai aldermanship, Šiauliai region.
5:30 Ceremony to honor ghetto inmates sent to concentration camps at the Radviliškis train station.
Artūras Visockas, mayor, city of Šiauliai
Naum Gleizer, chairman, Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community
The Kaunas Jewish Community invites the public to come and commemorate the victims of the Lietūkis Garage massacre at the monument to them located at Miško street no. 3 in Kaunas at 4:00 P.M. on June 28. Following that ceremony there will be ceremonies held at the Slobodka (Vilijampolė) Jewish cemetery located on Kalnų street in Kaunas, the Seventh Fort in Kaunas and the Žaliakalnis Jewish cemetery on the Radvilėnų highway in Kaunas to honor Holocaust victims.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you to a plein air outdoor painting workshop over five days and four nights with famous artist Raimondas Savickas. Lodging will be double rooms at the Karvys manor on Karvys Lake in Paežeriai village, Maišiagala aldermanship, Vilnius region (http://www.karviodvaras.lt/kontaktai/) with three meals per day, activities and personal consulations with teachers, running from July 27 to August 2. Cost per person is 180 euros. Registration is open till July 12. For more information, contact Žana Skudovičienė by email at email@example.com or by telephone at +370 67881514.
Bank transfers can be made to the Lithuanian Jewish Community, corporate code 190722117, VAT code LT100010504214, bank account number LT09 7044 0600 0090 7953 at SEB Bank. Please indicate the payment is for Educational Plein Air 2019 and the name and surname of the person for whom the payment is being made.
Vytautas Magnus University pro-rector for international relations professor Ienta Dabašinskienė and Dr. Vilma Gradinskaitė are presenting a new exhibit about the famous Soloveitchik family of rabbis from Kaunas in Kaunas at the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library located at Daukanto street no. 25 on June 25. Peter Salovey, an American psychologist, professor and president of Yale University, comes from this family and is scheduled to receive the regalia of an honorary doctorate at Vytautas Magnus University on June 20.
The Soloveitchik family is known for its many accomplished rabbis and Talmudic scholars. Their roots reach back to the early 18th century in Lithuania. They are Levites who are commanded by the Torah to sing in the Temple in Jerusalem. The surname comes from the diminutive of the Russian word for nightingale. The Kaunas branch of the family gave rise to the famous rabbinic dynasties in Volozhin and Brest-Litovsk.
The exhibit will run till the end of September.
The Augustinas Savickas Picture Gallery is pleased to invite you to a ceremony to unveil a plaque commemorating the late artist Augustinas Savickas. The ceremony will take place at the home where he lived and worked from 2008 to 2012, at Vytauto street no. 19 in Trakai, near Vilnius, at 12 noon on Tuesday, June 25. Participants include Lithuanian culture minister Dr. Mindaugas Kvietkauskas, Trakai regional administrator Edita Rudelienė, actor Juozas Budraitis, sculptor Zigmas Buterlevičius, art historian Saulius Pilinkus and the son of the winner of the national prize for literature and art, Raimondas Savickas. At 12:30 P.M. the exhibit “I Love Trakai” of works from the plein air outdoor art workshop of the Savickas Art School will open at the Trakai regional administration.
Savickas Picture Gallery, Basanavičiaus street no. 11/Teatro street no. 1, Vilnius
Raimondas Savickas: +370 699 63522, Birutė Savickienė: +370 685 62637
Registration is underway for the first modern Litvak scouting summer camp called “History Continues”
When? July 28-August 2
Where? Kernavė forest (coordinates 54.857231, 24.868243)
Who? firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 867216114
Lithuanian Jewish scouts will have their own sub-camp at the summer camp of the Kernavė group of Lithuanian scouts.
First stage of registration (by July 7):
The Balys Dvarionas Music School in Vilnius, the Kiryat Ono Conservatory from Israel, the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Israeli embassy to Lithuania invite you to attend a concert by the big band students’ group of the Kiryat Ono Conservatory at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon Museum in Vilnius at 5:00 P.M. on July 17.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry and the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite the public to attend an unveiling ceremony of a plaque to commemorate the site of the former headquarters of YIVO in Vilnius at 3:00 P.M. on June 20 at the building now located at Vivulskio street no. 18 in Vilnius. YIVO, the most significant center for the study of Jewish culture, history and languages in Eastern Europe, was located near this site from 1925 to 1941. Its founder moved its activities to New York which became world headquarters following the German invasion in 1941.
Participants at the ceremony are to include YIVO director Jonathan Brent and YIVO board of directors deputy chairwoman Irene Pletka.
Lithuania’s Memory of the World registry now contains the manuscripts of the Vilna Gaon and a manuscript fragment by Simonas Daukantas, the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library reported.
The 18th century manuscripts of Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the Vilna Gaon, are a collection of works published in different cities and countries of Europe between 1799 and 1940. They include several very rare publications and almost all of them exist as a single copy in Lithuania.
The library said the Vilna Gaon never published any of his texts, but his teaching was scrupulously written down and compiled by his students, sons and sons-in-law and were edited and published after his death.