The quizzes go on, this coming Sunday around the topic of Jewish theater. Come and show off your knowledge, or learn something new. Presented by writer, philosopher, mime and circus performer Arkadijus Vinokuras, the quiz will take place at the Bagel Shop Café at Pylimo street no. 4 at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday, March 19. Register by sending an e-mail to Katrina at email@example.com.
LJC Chairwoman Delivers Purim Treats to Ukrainian Child Refugees
For the second year now the Lithuanian Jewish Community has reached out to child war refugees from the Ukraine on Purim, in additional to aiding Jewish families who have fled the war zone there. This year LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky visited a Ukrainian school in Vilnius with several trays of hamentashen pastry. The school has about 800 students currently. Kukliansky shared the story of Purim with children and young people there, spoke about the traditions associated with Purim and spent time with the unusually welcoming staff who transformed a ruined building into an educational institution by hand over the course of a few months.
“We understand well that material aid is needed during time of war… Even so, we can’t just cry about everything, so we are trying to spread some joy as well. Purim is, after all, the happiest Jewish holiday of the year. I am glad we have shared at least a little bit of that with the children from the Ukraine,” Kukliansky said.
Purim Wouldn’t Be the Same without Hamentashen
Purim starts tonight at sundown when the 14th day of the month of Adar begins on the Jewish calendar. One of the constituent features of Purim is the traditional pastry known as hamentashen. Although everyone has their own special recipe, Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky makes her family’s version with poppy-seed filling, the traditional Litvak treat. The recipe dates beck to the period between the two world wars.
“This recipe was probably used earlier and recalls the time when the aroma of the pastry filled the Vilnius Old Town and many other cities and towns where Jews lived in Lithuania. Although you can purchase this version now, it’s always more fun to make it yourself,” she commented.
Happy Purim! Hag Purim sameakh!
Faina Kukliansky’s hamantashen recipe:
Discussion Club Topic: The Three Abrahamic Religions
The next meeting of the discussion club #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai will be held at 5:00 P.M. on March 8 at the Bagel Shop Café at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. The topic will be “The Three Major Religions’ Attitude towards One Another, towards Responsibility, Love, Morality, Punishment and Politics.”
Moderator Arkadijus Vinokuras says there is a lack of interfaith dialogue in Lithuania. The benefits of interfaith discussion on society is obvious because of existing superstitions people hold regarding other religions and a general lack of knowledge.
Discussion panel participants are to include Simas Levinas, Lithuanian Mufti Aleksandras Beganskas, author and Catholic priest Mozė Mitkevičius and Arkadijus Vinokuras.
Purim Celebration with the Fayerlakh Ensemble at the Bagel Shop
The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Fayerlakh ensemble invite you to a Purim celebration.
The celebration will include the traditional Purimshpil carnaval, costume contest, live music and other diversions.
Attendees are expected to dress up for the occasion. Tickets are €30 for adults and €20 for children 13 and under.
Tickets and more information available by calling +370 687 79309.
When: 4:00 P.M., Sunday, March 5
Where: Bagel Shop Café, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius
First Quiz Held
The Bagel Shop Café hosted the first quiz in what is to become a regular event. Last Sunday’s topic was Jewish Music. Participants didn’t just squeeze their brains, they also sang, trying to recall the tops songs from various historical eras. It’s safe to say most of the participants learned some new facts along the way. The moderator, writer Arkadijus Vinokuras, was accompanied by son Saulius, with help formulating questions from Sholem Aleichem music teacher Ūla Marija Barbora Zemeckytė. While the initial plan was to hold the quizzes every Sunday, the plan now is hold one per month on a Sunday, so stay tuned for the next round. You can check here or consult the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s facebook page.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you to a new series of quizzes on Sundays on Jewish history. Writer Arkadijus Vinokuras will moderate the quiz at the Bagel Shop Café on Sundays with a new topic every week. Come and show off your knowledge, or just come to learn something new. The first quiz will be held at 2:00 P.M. this Sunday, February 12, at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. The topic will be Jewish music, with musc professor Leonidas Melnikas offering his expert opinion as judge. Register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discussion Club: Was Jewish Life Wonderful under Smetona?
The #ŽydiškųPašnekesiai discussion club will address the topic “Was Jewish Life Great during the Smetona Era” at the Bagel Shop Café at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius at 5:00 P.M. on February 8. The discussion will be live-streamed on the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s facebook page.
In the broader public discussion of whether to erect a statue to the interwar Lithuanian president and dictator Antanas Smetona, proponents have begun saying he defended Lithuania’s Jewish population and was even known as “King of the Jews.” Opponents of the monument counter there were no stops placed on anti-Semitism in Lithuania in the period between the two world wars, meaning the entire span of Lithuanian independence, and Jews were banned from public service and elsewhere.
What do today’s Jews and Lithuania’s current crop of historians think about these issues? Attend or tune in to find out.
Moderator and club founder Arkadijus Vinokuras will put the question to Faina Kukliansky, chairwoman, Lithuanian Jewish Community; Žygimantas Menčenkovas, member of the Leftist Alliance, philosopher, teacher and activist and via internet Linas Venclauskas, historian and author of a recent book on Lithuanian anti-Semitism prior to 1940.
You and your family are invited to a Sabbath celebration under the tenets of progressive Judaism in the run-up to Hanukkah, the holiday of light and miracles, at 6:30 P.M. on Friday, December 16. The prayer service will be held on the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius followed by kiddush at 8:30 P.M. at the Bagel Shop Café at the same address. The Sabbath ceremony and Sabbath dinner will be followed by a Hanukkah surprise. To register, write email@example.com or call +37067250699.
LJC Celebrates Tolerance Day with Darna Event
The first Darna event was held in 2020 during the corona virus panic. Despite many restrictions that time we were able to do more than we had expected, creating an entire virtual festival to mark the International Day of Tolerance. We tried to show during that tough time what diverse and interesting things we have right here in Lithuania, and how these differences are not only interesting, but complement one another perfectly. Today we are very happy to announce we can continue this event for its third year in a row, only this time we can meet face-to-face at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. Everyone of all religious, ethnic and other backgrounds and of all views is invited to come have a cup of tea or coffee, listen to live music and sample Israeli street food from our Cvi Park kiosk starting at 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, November 16, at the LJC. Note: please disregard earlier announcements which stated the event would be held at the Choral Synagogue. It will be held on the third floor of the LJC at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius.
The event program is available here. Musical performers, cooking workshops and meaningful conversations from the first Darna festival can be found here. More information about this iteration of the celebration can be found here.
Thank You, Rabbi Nathan Alfred
The Lithuanian Jewish Community thanks Rabbi Nathan Alfred for three meaningful and fascinating days spent with our community.
We took some snapshots of the Kabalat Shabbat on Friday and the Shacharit prayer service last Saturday morning, below.
Romany Language Day
November 5 is celebrated as International Romani Language Day by UNESCO, Croatia and by Roma and friends around the world. One’s mother tongue is an important element of identity maintaining community cohesion and the sense of belonging. The Lithuanian Jewish Community and partner organizations including Padėk Pritapti will hold a celebration of the international day at 5:30 P.M. on November 8 this year at the Bagel Shop Café at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. There will be readings from the Lithuanian Roma oral history archive and traditional song and dance. Participants will also receive postcards created by children containing a short Romany-Lithuanian vocabulary. The event is free and open to the public.
More information available here.
Three Days with Rabbi Nathan Alfred
“Raising Children in the Jewish Family,” 7:00 P.M., November 3, Conference Hall, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius.
“Sabbath for the Whole Family” under the tenets of Progressive Judaism, 6:30 P.M., November 4, prayer upstairs followed by kiddush at the Bagel Shop Café. Cost is 10 euros, young people 16 and under enter free.
Morning Prayer Service:
Shakharit, 10:30 A.M., November 5, at the site of the former Great Synagogue, Vokiečių street no. 13A, Vilnius.
To attend any or all of these events and for more information, please register by contacting Viljamas at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling +37067250699.
Yom Kippur at the Choral Synagogue
Yom Kippur at the Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street no. 39, Vilnius:
Monday, October 3:
6:30 P.M. Preparations for Yom Kippur, lesson on the holy day, kapparot ritual
Tuesday, October 4:
5:30 P.M. Supper before fast
6:10 P.M. Kol Nidre
6:30 P.M. Fast begins
Wednesday, October 5:
10:00 A.M. Shacharit morning prayer
12:00 noon Izkor
5:30 P.M. Mincha prayer
7:30 P.M. Niila prayer
7:38 P.M. conclusion of fast, dinner
Telshe Yeshiva Restored
As reported earlier, the city of Telšiai has been restoring the world-famous Telshe (Telz) yeshiva there over the last few years. A reader sent in some snapshots of the interior at the re-opening, below.
Kabalat Shabat on September 30
A Kabalat Shabat ceremony and dinner according to the tenets of progressive Judaism will be held at 6:30 P.M. on September 30 with the main ceremony the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius and kiddush downstairs at the Bagel Shop Café. The price is 10 euros, children and minors 16 and under are free. For more information and to register, contact Viljamas by writing email@example.com or call +370 672 50699.
Lost Shtetl Museum Takes Part in Blue Family Picnic in Šeduva
On the last weekend of summer we participated in the Blue Family Picnic which has been held in the Šeduva city park for seven years now. The Blue Family Picnic is intended to strengthen community, reduce social inequality and carry on family traditions.
We came up with all sorts of activities for attendees, including recognizing Jewish religious regalia, teaching them to write their names in Hebrew, a puzzle made up of period photographs of the town/shtetl, how to make traditional Sabbath challa and how to set the Sabbath table. Younger attendees made models of the shtetl, learned how to arrange food items on the plate for Passover seder and spun and taught other children to spin the dreidl. We treated everyone to traditional Litvak dishes as well.
So many friendly and eager to learn families came to the picnic. We wanted to share with them in a fun way the culture and traditions of the Jewish community of Šeduva and to remind them of the town’s not-so-distant past, the shtetl of Šeduva where Jews and Lithuanians lived peacefully together. Two special guests attended, two women from Šeduva for whom the shtetl isn’t lost in the mists of time. They spent their childhoods in the shtetl and have shared their memories with us numerous times.