Announcements

Hanukkah in Panevėžys

The Panevėžys Jewish Community invites you to come celebrate Hanukkah. At 4:00 P.M. on December 2 Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky will light the menorah on Independence Square in Panevėžys, after which the Panevėžys Jewish Community at Ramygalos street no. 18 will host a celebration including food, games and dancing.

Visit the Lost Shtetlakh, the Jewish Towns in Lithuania

Visit the Lost Shtetlakh, the Jewish Towns in Lithuania

The popular Lithuanian travel page www.lietuvon.lt has been updated and now includes a new group of sites, the shtetlakh, towns which had a large Jewish population before the Holocaust.

The Lithuanian-language internet site is promising to continuously update local and regional Jewish heritage tourist routes (at https://www.lietuvon.lt/stetlai) which are being developed and advertised by local municipalities. tourism information centers, museums, libraries and individual travel enthusiasts.

This project is the fruit of a joint-venture between the Lithuanian Jewish Community and www.lietuvon.lt author Karolis Žukauskas.

The project receives support from the Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Department and the Goodwill Foundation.

Wordless Shadow Theater

Wordless Shadow Theater

The Ilan Club invites members and interested parties to attend a workshop on shadow theater at 1:00 P.M. on November 25. Those interested should send an email to sofja@lzb.lt or call 867257540.

The goal of the workshop is to create a short play based on traditional Jewish tales. The play will be expressed in light and shadow and without words. The director believes the lack of verbal content will enhance perception of the environment and people around us, thus increasing empathy and fostering new kinds of creativity. Participants at the workshop will discuss the play and will make scenography and shadow puppets with help from artists. Together with the director and actors, participants will explore different ways for characters to express themselves without using words.

Simon Karczmar Exhibit at Vilna Gaon Museum

Simon Karczmar Exhibit at Vilna Gaon Museum

The Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum at Naugarduko street no. 10/2 in Vilnius will open an exhibit of paintings and prints by Simon Karczmar at 5:30 P.M. on November 22. The exhibit will run till January 21, 2019.

Karczmar was born in 1903 and died in 1982. His most productive period came later in life. He studied art in Paris as a young man but worked in the fur industry rather than as a professional artist. At the age of 57 he developed an allergy to fur and his wife encouraged him to return to making art. As a member of an artists’ colony in Safed, Israel, to which he moved in 1962, Karzcmar painted daily life in the Dieveniškės (Diveishok, Jevenishok) shtetl. His work has been exhibited in the USA, Canada, Israel and Mexico but never before in Lithuania. A month ago the School of Business and Technology in Dieveniškės hosted the exhibit. Karczmar’s son Natan came from Israel to attend and said the exhibit in Vilnius fulfills an old family dream.

Jewish Veterans Commemoration

Jewish Veterans Commemoration

A ceremony to commemorate Lithuanian Jewish veterans is to be held at the Jewish Cemetery in Kaunas at 4:30 P.M. on November 23. Organizers include the Kaunas Jewish Community, the Sugihara Foundation/Diplomats for Life and the Kovo 11-osios Gatvė Association. For more information send an email to kaminskas.raimundas@gmail.com or call +370 680 53 495

Second Hanukkah Candle

Second Hanukkah Candle

The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community invites you to attend the lighting of the second Hanukkah candle December 3, at Vincas Kudirka Square in Vilnius at 5:30 P.M., and again at 6:30 P.M. at the Choral Synagogue.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Holds Anniversary Concert

The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community invites the public to a concert to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the organization to be held at 7:00 P.M. on December 3 at the Polifonija chamber concert hall at Aušros alley no. 15 in Šiauliai.

Šiauliai State Drama Theater and film actress Jūratė Budriūnaitė, teacher and composer Vadimas Kamrazeris and their daughter Sofija will participate.

Hanukkah Coming Soon

Hanukkah Coming Soon

Hanukkah is coming soon and several events are already scheduled. On December 2 there will be a Hanukkah celebration for children at 12 noon at I Future Live, located at Upės street no. 9 in Vilnius. A Hanukkah celebration for the whole family will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Konstitucijos prospect no. 20 on December 9, with music by the Israeli neo-klezmer band Gefilte Drive. More information to follow.

Retrospective of Photography by Antanas Sutkus

Retrospective of Photography by Antanas Sutkus

The National Art Gallery Friday opened a retrospective called Cosmos on the work of photographer Antanas Sutkus. It is a comprehensive presentation of the 79-year-old artist’s work and the first exhibit of his work to appear in over a decade. It includes more than 300 items.

Photographer Gintaras Česonis, one of the curators of the Cosmos exhibit, said Sutkus is an exceptional figure in Lithuanian photography.

“Sutkus is extraordinarily important for all time. More than one generation has grown up with his work. It’s not a simple matter to take a fresh look at it. When people delve into Sutkus’s archives many come to the conclusion his creative work cannot be comprehended, it is the entire universe. And this is probably where the name Cosmos came from for the exhibit, the totality of unbounded things and time,” Česonis commented.

Curator Thomas Schirmböck said Sutkus is one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.

An album of Sutkus’s photos of Vilnius and Kaunas ghetto inmates called In Memoriam with the text in English was published two years ago.

The exhibit will run till January 13.

Evening to Remember Pianist Nadežda Dukstulskaitė

Evening to Remember Pianist Nadežda Dukstulskaitė

The Lithuanian Jewish Community will host an evening to remember the pianist and teacher Nadežda Dukstulskaitė at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 15. The evening will feature memories and performances by Rafailas Karpis, Robertas Bekionis, Dmitri Bulybanko and the Ąžuolai men’s choir. Dr. Leonidas Melnikas will moderate.

Nadežda Dukstulskaitė (1912-1978) was born into the family of a musician. In 1918 the family moved to Kaunas where from the age of 7 Nadežda attended private lessons in piano under Herbeck-Hansen. She was graduated from the Stern Conservatory in Berlin in 1926 and from 1926 to 1929 studied at the High Musical School in Berlin.

She was a concert master and soloist on Kaunas and Vilnius radio from 1929 to 1953. She toured Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden in 1934, 1937 and 1938 and performed works by M. K. Čiurlionis, Juozas Naujalis, Stasys Šimkus, Juozas Tallat-Kelpša, Juozas Gruodis and Juozas Karosas.

She escaped the Kaunas ghetto towards the end of World War II with help from the writer Kazys Binkis and his wife Sofija. She hid in different locations around Kaunas for several days and then walked to Vilnius. From 1953 to 1959 she was the concert master of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic’s philharmonic, and from 1959 to 1978 concert master and piano teacher for the Ąžuoliukas choir.

Her students included the opera singer Vladimiras Prudnikovas and the pianists Robertas Bekionis, Dmitri Bulybenko and Leonidas Melnikas.

Celebrating Vidmantė Jasukaitytė’s 70th Birthday

Celebrating Vidmantė Jasukaitytė’s 70th Birthday

The Lithuanian Writers Union is holding a birthday party for the late writer Vidmantė Jasukaitytė from 5:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 8, 2018. The event will be held at the Writers Club located at K. Sirvydo street no. 6 in Vilnius and is open and free to the public. The program includes a reading of Jasukaitytė’s “The Sixth Commandmant: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Subačiaus Street. The Ghetto” based on her experience living at the former HKP Nazi labor camp in Vilnius, set to music and performed by Arkadijus Gotesmanas on percussion and Dimitrijus Golovanovas on piano. Jasukaitytė’s daughter Kunigunda, an artist in her own right, and a number of notable Lithuanian writers and poets are to attend and speak.

Renaissance Photo Exhibit at Pakruojis Wooden Synagogue

Renaissance Photo Exhibit at Pakruojis Wooden Synagogue

by Vilijus Žagrakalys (pictured above)

Renaissance, an exhibition of photographs at the Pakruojis synagogue from November 10 to 30, 2018, with the opening at 5:00 P.M. on November 9.

Everything that’s old comes back around. The 19th century was the period when photography began and flourished. The application of various techniques for forming an image on a plate progressed from wet-plate collodion to silver compound gelatin which dominated until the advent of digital cameras. The silver process gave rise to a surge in photography studios which captured portraits of their time in single and group portraiture. All sorts of visual photo albums were made. Silver gelatin emulsion was relatively easy to get and made this possible.

At around the same time the platinum method was discovered, dated at 1873 in the history of photography. William Willis patented the method in 1881. He received official awards for this in Great Britain in 1885. The method was popular until World War I, when platinum acquired greater value, and the technique gradually dropped out of use.

Around 1970 the technique was revived in the USA. It is now known as the king of the printing process.

When I began to get interested in photography techniques, I attempted to print several photographs. After much experimentation I seized upon the platinum/palladium method. The fragments of photographs in this exhibition were printed using this method.

Searching for Friend from Gulag

Emilija Dadurkevičienė (Sudvajūtė), born in Sudvajai village in the Alytus district in 1930, is searching for Dora Gershanovitch Kustanovitch, with whom she was imprisoned at a gulag during the Stalin era. In 1961 both women were moved to a gulag in Mordovia.

Fellow inmate Ira Verblovskaya recalled more about Dora in her memoirs:

“In the same construction brigade there was Dora Gershanovitch, from a repatriated family who had returned from America to ‘victorious socialism,’ working towards a new life. How could the family who had left the Ukraine in 1918 fleeing the pogroms live in a foreign country when such great events were taking place at home? People such as Dora’s father were needed as specialists in Moscow, where the family lived safely for several years. In 1937 her father and mother were arrested and shot.

“Dora was left on her own. She had relatives in the Baltic states so when the opportunity arose in 1940 she left for Estonia… She knew Estonian and Latvian well, and English of course as well.

“She made friends with the locals and didn’t differ in her habits from the Estonians or Lithuanians. She avoided strangers and might have appeared arrogant to others. In any event it was understood she had her own narrow circle of relatives and wasn’t prepared to expand that circle. It was only because of unexpected misfortune which overtook her and for which she gained sympathy not just from her friends that she became more open. Dora worked in the construction brigade with other strong and resilient women.

“Once she was cutting a piece of wire with an axe to make a nail and she was injured when a piece of the wire went into her eye. The eye couldn’t be saved and Dora was disabled. She was depressed to be in this state. After the war she went to Tartu where she taught English, and the first chance she got she went to America, although she was old, ill and alone. What later became of her is not known.”

If anyone knows Dora or knows of her, please write communications@lzb.lt

Exhibit: Reflections in a Broken Mirror

Exhibit: Reflections in a Broken Mirror

You are invited to attend the opening of the exhibit Reflections in a Broken Mirror detailing Litvak life in the period between the two world wars, in the atrium on the fifth floor at the Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library at 3:00 P.M. on November 12. Judaica Research Center director Dr. Lara Lempert will present the exhibit. After presenting the exhibit she will also talk about the work of this center and new discoveries in Jewish heritage.

Vilnius Regional Jewish Community

Vigil for Pittsburgh Victims at the Choral Synagogue Tonight

B”H

Saturday morning during Sabbath services an extremist opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, shouting “All Jews must die” and killing eleven worshipers. At least another six people were wounded, including police officers who entered the synagogue to stop the shooting.

The Choral Synagogue in Vilnius will hold a vigil to express the deep loss we feel and to express solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community today, October 29, at 6:00 P.M.

Everyone is invited to come a light a candle in memory of the victims.

Vilnius Jewish Religious Community
Lithuanian Jewish Community
Lithuanian Jewish Religious Association

Litvaks in the Creation of Modern Lithuania and Israel

The Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas Library is to host a conference called “Together towards the Modern State: Litvaks in the History of Lithuanian and Israeli Statehood” on November 13 to mark the 100th anniversary of Lithuanian and 70th anniversary of Israeli statehood.

Speakers are to include Lithuanian and Israeli academics who will present the contribution Lithuanian Jews made in the creation of the Lithuanian state in 1918 and the contribution Litvaks also made to foundation of the state of Israel. Lithuanian students will also present their research on the life of local Jewish communities.

Please register before November 12 by sending an email to gustas.siauciulis@praktika.urm.lt

The conference will begin at 10:00 A.M. on November 13 at the national library.

The library’s Judaica Research Center will also present an exhibit during the conference called “Reflections in a Broken Mirror” presenting the life of the Lithuanian and Vilnius Jewish communities in the period between the two world wars.

Information available in Lithuanian here.

Book Launch: And the Goat Does Bring Happiness

You are cordially invited to attend the launch of Ilja Bereznickas’s book Ir ožka neša laimę [And the Goat Does Bring Happiness] on Monday, October 29 at 6:00 P.M. at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. The author will be there along with illustrator and publisher Leonardas Armonas, and there will be a screening of Ilja Bereznickas’s animated film Ne ožkoje laimė [Happiness Is Not Found in a Goat], perfectly suited for adults and children alike (film and book in Lithuanian).

Global Sabbath

The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community invites you to come celebrate the Sabbath during the global Shabbat project on Friday, October 26. Millions of Jews around the world are participating. We’ll be meeting at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius Friday evening, with prayer services scheduled to begin at 5:30 P.M. Food will be served after. Wherever you find yourself, you can keep Sabbath in solidarity with millions of others.

It all started in South Africa in 2013, when Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein called on the community to keep the Shabbat of October 14 together–to astonishing effect. In the days and weeks that followed, communities across the Jewish world lit up with the excitement of the prospect of bringing the Shabbat Project to their city.