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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Members of the Choral Synagogue minyan were treated to a breakfast made by the Bagel Shop Café at the Lithuanian Jewish Community with LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky in attendance on the first day of calendar summer, June 1.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call +370 611 52760.
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.
The Bagel Shop Café is offering prepared Passover seder meal kits this year. One package costing 45 euros serves two but contains enough to share with children as well. Orders will be accepted until March 24. To order, go to the internet form in Lithuanian at http://bit.ly/Pesach_užsakymai
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.