Bagel shop

New Jewish Calendar Available

New Jewish Calendar Available

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is happy to announce our annual Jewish calendar has been printed and is ready for distribution. This year’s calendar, for the year 5782, features the communities and people who lived in Lithuania before the Holocaust, with period photography from shtetls across the country. The format this year is smaller and hopefully more convenient and functional but contains the features from past years, including local times for Sabbath, fasts and holidays. It will be made available to the public starting Thursday, September 9, at the Bagel Shop Café.

European Day of Jewish Culture Events Program

European Day of Jewish Culture Events Program

The Lithuanian Jewish Community again marks the European Day of Jewish Culture with a series of events on Jewish culture and the Litvak legacy to contributions to Lithuanian history and culture.

The theme this year is dialogue.

Please register, space is limited.

Topic for This Year’s Jewish Culture Day: Dialogue

Topic for This Year’s Jewish Culture Day: Dialogue

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has been celebrating the European Day of Jewish Culture for a number of years now on the first Sunday in September with events in Vilnius and at associated LJC member communities around the country. The topic this year is dialogue, #Žydiškipašnekesiai, revealing different aspects of Jewish culture, the Litvak contribution to Lithuanian history, culture and democracy and the living Litvak legacy. The LJC usually opens its doors, the Choral Synagogue and other locations to visitors on this day with lectures, musical performances and authentic Jewish food. This year the event will take place on the eve of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. Stay tuned for the full program.

Dancing at Cvi Park

Dancing at Cvi Park

Have you visited what we’re calling Cvi Park, on Petras Cirkva Square in Vilnius? Come enjoy the company and authentic Israeli street food, and watch how they dance to bachata music on hot July evenings.

Gathering of Seniors at Cvi Park

Gathering of Seniors at Cvi Park

Our seniors in the Lithuanian Jewish Community Social Center program gathered one July afternoon recently at the park across the street from the LJC building in Vilnius, Petras Cvirka Square. They chatted, shared news and sampled an assortment of treats from the Bagel Shop Café, also located across Pylimo street on the first floor of the LJC, with a separate entrance

Forgotten Names: The Symbol of Lithuania in Works by Musicians Scattered around the World

Forgotten Names: The Symbol of Lithuania in Works by Musicians Scattered around the World

The spiritual formation of an artist is impossible without a creative environment. This is indivisible from the specific people who set a great example, who direct the artist, enrich the artist spiritually, and support and encourage the artist. That sort of environment is exactly what existed in Vilnius in the early 20th century, giving rise to wonderful musicians including Jascha Heifetz, the Schneider brothers, the Reizenberg sisters, the great Hofmekler family and others.

Some left Lithuania and made incredible careers, others remained and became known in their homeland. Their lives were different, but their legacy is very clear. Let’s remember them, let’s enjoy their works. We will discover a world we didn’t know which was hidden from us for almost a century.

During the event we will learn about the lives of these renowned musicians and their works will be presented.

Faina Kukliansky Re-Elected Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community

Faina Kukliansky Re-Elected Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community

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.

Israeli Street Food Booth Open for Business

Israeli Street Food Booth Open for Business

An Israeli street food kiosk called “Tzvi in the Park” opened on July 2 in the Petras Cvirka Square park across the street from the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. The food booth is offering humous, carrots with anise, chicken shwarma and other traditional foods with pita bread, with ingredients to order by the customer. The menu is planned to expand over time. While the food kiosk is the initiative of the culinary masterminds at the Bagel Shop Café across Pylimo street, the food booth will offer different dishes and hopes to inspire people to linger and talk.

“When we set up the Bagel Shop, we wanted to offer people delicious food, but also to offer them a way to have a good time, to hang around and talk about different things, even such sensitive and important topics as tolerance, human equality and so on. So this summer we want to create a space for city residents and visitors where they can spend some time in the green space of the park and learn about Israeli culinary culture,” LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky commented.

While the Bagel Shop offers more traditional Litvak fare, the food kiosk will present characteristically Mediterranean food, the new director of the Bagel Shop and of the Israeli food kiosk Aistė Košienė said. She said Israeli street food has distinct characteristics, but the main features are that it’s healthy and of good quality.

Israeli Street Food Kiosk to Operate All Summer in Vilnius

Israeli Street Food Kiosk to Operate All Summer in Vilnius

The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Bagel Shop Café are pleased to announce a kiosk serving authentic Israeli street fare will operate in the center of the park across the street from the LJC and café in central Vilnius, next to the Petras Cvirka statue. The plan is for it to keep serving the public until autumn. Stay tuned for more information.

Bagel Shop Café Repoens April 29

Bagel Shop Café Repoens April 29

The Bagel Shop Café will repoen at 11:30 A.M. on April 29 for coffee and lunch as a sidewalk café. We have a new coffee blend served as espresso and drip and a new menu. so come check it out.

Baristas Sought at Bagel Shop Café

Baristas Sought at Bagel Shop Café

The Bagel Shop Café is looking for an experienced and an assistant barista. Candidates must be able to be legally employed in Lithuania and should be prepared to deal with customers in Lithuanian and Russian. Please send your CV to aiste@lzb.lt or call +370 611 52760.

The Seder Table: A Jewish Tradition Unchanged for Millennia

The Seder Table: A Jewish Tradition Unchanged for Millennia

Passover, the most important Jewish holiday which lasts for eight days, begins on March 27 this year. The date for celebrating Passover is set by the lunar calendar: the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The name of the holy day comes from “pesakh,” meaning passed over, recalling the story of the Angel of Death which passed over the Israelites before Moses led the slaves out of Egypt.

“The symbolic meaning of this holiday is that it wasn’t separate Jewish families which came out of Egypt, but a single, united Jewish people. The Jewish people throw off the yoke of slavery and leave in order to reach the Promised Land, and there create their nation,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky explained.

Passover Traditions over the Millennia

Keeper of Jewish cultural and religious traditions Natalija Cheifec said although the exodus from Egypt occurred more than 3,300 years ago, Passover traditions have remained almost unchanged over the many centuries. The main feature of the eight-day holiday is the seder dinner when the Hagada is read out, prayers are made and people sit at the seder table and eat from the seder plate, or ke’are.

Bagel Shop Café Offering Passover Matzo

Bagel Shop Café Offering Passover Matzo

The Bagel Shop Café at the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius is offering Passover matzo for sale from March 15 to March 26. The café will operate from 10 A.M. till 3:00 P.M. from Monday to Friday. A one-kilogram box of matzo costs 5 euros and payment may only be made using a bank card.

Order Matzo by Internet

Order Matzo by Internet

This year again the Lithuanian Jewish Community is asking members to order matzo via internet with home delivery. The cost for one one-kilogram box of matzo is six euros. The LJC is partially subsidizing delivery costs. This is only being offered in Vilnius for the time being and orders will be taken till March 25.

How to Order and Pay

1. Fill out the form at https://forms.gle/wRSoZ1Sf4kvVPxFj7
2. Open your internet banking profile.
3. Transfer funds to the Lithuanian Jewish Community at account number LT09 7044 0600 0090 7953 to the amount of matzo you wish to purchase.

You must indicate in the payment field the information we need to deliver the matzo to you, namely, your name and surname, exact postal address, telephone number, email address and the exact number of boxes you are ordering.

Family Recipe for Hamantaschen

Family Recipe for Hamantaschen

Photo: Tarbut Gymnasium students in Pabradė prepared for the Purimspiel, March 3, 1939. Courtesy YIVO.

Purim starts February 25 this year. Purim is the happiest of Jewish holidays dedicated to remembering the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people from destruction. Traditionally the triangular pastry Hamatasch are eaten on this day and the Lithuanian Jewish Community will share them with the leaders of the state this year as well.

“The essence of Purim is to celebrate life in all its fullness. This is a happy holiday, on this day you need to eat deliciously and much, especially the traditional hamantaschen pastry. This traditional treat reminds us that the plans of evildoers often turns back upon them, while wise rulers always receive the help to make the right decisions. We will also be sending hamantaschen pastry to the leaders of the country, wishing them to make wise decisions beneficial to the people,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said.

Vilnius Jewish Religious Community director Simas Levinas recalls the Purim story which reaches back into biblical times when the Jewish people were exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. Although the king married the Jewish beauty Esther, the magnates and bureaucrats of Babylon really hated the Jews in their country, who weren’t there by their own choice. The vizier Haman came up with a plan to exterminate all Jews and cast lots (פור) to discover an auspicious time for this.

Hamantash

Hamantash

The Bagel Shop Café will make hamantash available for Purim from February 23 to 25, made in the traditional manner with poppy seeds and raspberry jam. The cost will be 12 euros per kilogram (about 30 to 35 individual hamantashen) and smaller orders are also possible. Please reserve your pastry now or at least by February 23 so we’ll know how many to make. The Bagel Shop Café itself is closed for repairs so customers will be able to pick up their orders in the foyer at the main entrance to the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. Pick-up will begin on February 23 and run till February 25, from 12 noon to 4:00 P.M. Payment may only be made by bank card.

Reservations: https://forms.gle/YhmP2nt82uoUALbc8

Bringing Bagels Back to Vilnius

Bringing Bagels Back to Vilnius

by Wailana Kalama

After a long absence, the Jewish staple has returned to the Lithuanian capital

Most food historians place the origin of the bagel somewhere vaguely in the Jewish alleys of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In those days in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius–also known as Vilna, the city once dubbed the “Jerusalem of the North”–bagels were ubiquitous, sold on the streets, and in the bakeries and markets. In modern times, however, the bagel had all but been erased from popular memory. Until now.

For centuries, the city’s Old Town was home to a thriving community of Litvaks, as local Jews referred to themselves. The district was lauded for its cultured elite and a Great Synagogue that attracted scholars from all over Europe. All that changed with the Holocaust, during which 95% of Lithuanian Jews were deported and murdered. Now, all that remains in the Old Town are monuments to what once was: street signs in Yiddish, inscriptions educating about the ghetto, a bust of the famed intellectual Vilna Gaon.