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Aaron Klug Dead at 92

Aaron Klug Dead at 92

One of several Lithuanian Jews to have received the Nobel prize, Aaron Klug passed away November 20, 2018, at the age of 92.

Klug was born in Želva (aka Zelva, Zelvas) near the town of Ukmergė (Vilkomir) in the Vilnius region of Lithuania on August 11, 1926, to Lazar and Bella (née Silin) Klug. Lazar Klug received both a secular and Jewish religious education, and raised and sold cattle as his father did. Aaron Klug wrote he remembered nothing of his place of birth, and the family moved to Durban, South Africa, when Aaron was about two. Aaron Klug was graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg with a bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry and biology. He married dancer and choreographer Liebe Bobrow in 1948. Klug received a master’s degree from the University of Cape Town where he did work on X-ray crystallography. He then went to the UK, where he received a PhD in solid state physics at the University of Cambridge in 1952. Klug then worked with X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin at Birkbeck College, University of London, exploring the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus. The nucleoproteins of the virus were at that time too big for imaging with X-ray crystallography but too small to see with optical microscopes. Electron microscopes could only provide two-dimensional images, and Klug pioneered a method for making 3-D images, called crystallographic electron microscopy, for which he received the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1982. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988. Besides his many other contributions, he and his colleagues were responsible for mapping about one third of the human genome in the Human Genome Project. He taught at Cambridge and served as the president of Britain’s Royal Society from 1995 to 2000. He also worked with Francis Crick, who received the Nobel prize with Watson for discovering the helical structure of DNA.

Condolences

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has received the following message and we express our deepest condolences over the death of Judith Schlesinger, wife of the esteemed rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger, president of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe.

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It is with great pain and sadness that we announce the passing of the great Lady Rebbetzin Mrs. Judith Schlesinger, wife of our esteemed president Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger after recent illness.

The esteemed Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger and his sons including Rabbi Yeshaya Schlesinger are spending the week of shiva (seven days of mourning) at their house.

With best wishes,

Rabbi Abraham Ginsberg
executive director, Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe

When Moshe (Misha) Arens Called from Vilnius, or, the End of World War II

When Moshe (Misha) Arens Called from Vilnius, or, the End of World War II

by Sergejus Kanovičius

The internet didn’t exist yet, and the way to connect from Israel with parents and friends left in Lithuania was by fax or telephone. There wasn’t a surplus of money and both means were very expensive, so hearing the voice of a loved one was the greatest gift; letters are fine, but human nature it seems is such that we need living emotion, moments which dissolve in the past… When you hear the voice of your Father, or Mother, or grandfather, it feels as if you are with them, much more than reading a letter which has been in transit for a long time. Sometimes the people who helped us in so many ways in saving our son knew the longing for loved ones, they knew what longing means, because they themselves had experienced these separations and knew what they meant. The independency of Lithuania was going slowly, so it was expensive to call from Israel to Lithuania and from Vilnius to Tel Aviv. As I remember it, from Vilnius you longer had to wait for a previously ordered international call, all you had to do was dial 8, wait for the tone and then enter the number. But it wasn’t raining and isn’t raining money anywhere, neither there where rivers of milk flow along banks of honey, nor there where pack-ice gently caresses the banks of the Neris. Sometimes the worst thing you could pull out of the mail box was a nostalgic numerical reminder for some month, sometimes the telephone bills were such that you wanted to take that apparatus to a bank and lock it in the safe.

Moshe Arens, Former Defense Minister and Envoy to Washington, Dead at 93

Moshe Arens, Former Defense Minister and Envoy to Washington, Dead at 93

by Haviv Rettig Gur

“I loved you as a son loves a father,” says Netanyahu of his mentor, a founding member of Likud credited with shepherding advances in Israel’s military capabilities

Moshe Arens, an English-speaking US-educated aeronautical engineer who rose to become Israel’s three-time defense minister and mentored a young Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of his career, died on Monday at age 93.

Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1925, Arens moved with his family to Riga, Latvia, in 1927, then to the US just before World War II in 1939.

Full story here.

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This year the Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Inmates lost ten of our members. The tenth was Anastazija Baltusevičienė of Kaunas, mother of Robertas Baltusevčius. She was born June 17, 1942, and passed away on December 25, 2018. Our deepest condolences to her son Robertas and sisters Filomena, Liucija, Elžbieta and Elena.

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Amos Oz (aka Amos Klausner) passed away December 28, 2018, following a battle with cancer. He was born in Jerusalem on May 4, 1939. His father was a Litvak from the Vilnius area who studied comparative literature. Our condolences to his friends, family and many fans.

Amos Oz, Saintly Intellectual Who Turned Israel’s Reality into Art, Dead at 79

Amos Oz, Saintly Intellectual Who Turned Israel’s Reality into Art, Dead at 79

(JTA)–Amos Oz would often speak in the kind of tossed-off epigrams that come only with a lot of practice. But just when you wanted to smack him for his breezy erudition, he would redeem himself with a flash of spot-on–and hilarious–self-awareness.

In 2011, speaking at the 92nd Street Y about the novel he’d just published in English, “Scenes from Village Life,” Oz said that 99 percent of the typical media coverage of Israel involves extremist settlers, ultra-Orthodox fanatics and brutal soldiers “and one percent saintly intellectuals like myself.”

Oz died Friday at age 79, having won nearly every literary prize short of the Nobel and having become perhaps Israel’s most widely translated author. If Jews were in the canonization business, Oz would have earned his wings (halo? robe? my theology is shaky) on the basis of “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” his 2002 novel cum memoir. Like so much of what he wrote, the book is not just autobiographical, but a biography of Israel itself. Although his story ends before he is out of his teens, the young Amos bears witness to the destruction of European Jewry, the height of the British mandate, a Hebrew renaissance in Jerusalem, the great Zionist debates (and debaters) of the day, the rise of the kibbutz movement and the birth of the state.

Full text here.

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Anastazija Jadvyga Baltusevičienė passed away December 25. She was born in 1942. Our deepest condolences to her children and sisters.

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Marija Rusak, born in 1935, passed away December 27. Our deepest condolences to her husband Leonid and daughter Alla.

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With great sadness we report the death of Šlioma Šperling on December 19. He was born in 1940. Our deepest condolences to the Community’s long-time volunteer doctor Liusia Šperling on the death of her husband, and to their daughter.

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Viktor Chramcov, born in 1927, a Holocaust survivor who was imprisoned at Dachau, has passed away. The Lithuanian Jewish Community sends our deepest condolences to his wife Svetlana and daughters Neli and Tatjana.

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Our deepest condolences to Social Programs Department director Mikhail Segal on the death of his grandmother. We are with you in this time of great loss.

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Judita Rozin passed away December 12, 2018, following a battle with illness and a recent debilitating fall. She was born January 8, 1937 in the Birobidzhan Autonomous Jewish oblast (the Birobidzhan ASSR) located in the Soviet Far East. She was graduated from High School No. 6 in Vilnius in 1955 and matriculated at the Philology Faculty at Vilnius University specializing in Russian language and literature. After being graduated she worked for the next 32 years at the Vilnius Teachers School in Naujoji Vilna. She worked at the History Department of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum from 1992 until 2012, and volunteered at the museum even in retirement up to the present time. Judita was unusually fluent in English even by current Lithuanian standards and used to say she preferred being called Judith; “That’s my real name in Hebrew.”.

A wake and funeral for Judith will be held in hall 4 at the Vilnius Funeral Home located at Olandų street no. 22 on Friday, December 14, starting at 11:00 A.M. The coffin will be transported to the Jewish cemetery at Sudervės road no. 28 at 1:34 P.M.

Rest in peace, Judith.

Condolences

The Lithuanian Jewish Community notes with deep sadness the death of Anatolij Krivulin after a protracted battle with illness on Friday, November 30, 2018. He was born August 4, 1959, and is survived by his wife Maria, daughter Aleksandra and son Konstantin. Krivulin was the manager of the Pitarija Fire Place Israeli restaurant located near the Jewish cemetery in Šnipiškės, a neighborhood of Vilnius. Our deepest condolences to his many friends and family members. He was buried at the Jewish cemetery on Sudervės road in Vilnius on Saturday evening.

Nun Who Helped Abba Kovner Dies at 110

Nun Who Helped Abba Kovner Dies at 110

Sister Cecylia Maria Roszak passed away at a convent in Cracow on November 16 at the age of 110, the archdiocese of Cracow reported. She was probably the oldest Catholic nun in the world at the time of her death. She was also a Righteous Gentile who harbored Jews in Nazi-occupied Vilnius, including writer and partisan leader Abba Kovner.

Maria Roszak was born March 25, 1908, in Kiełczewo and joined the Dominican order at the Gródek monastery (named after an old fortification and now neighborhood, adjacent to the Church of Our Lady of the Snows) in Cracow at the age of 21. In 1938 she and several fellow nuns were sent to Vilnius, then Wilno under Polish control, or more precisely to Naujoji Vilna outside the city, where the order had a wooden house and chapel on five hectares of land and intended to set up a monastery under Anna Borkowska, aka Mother Bertranda. World War II cut short these plans.

Vilnius came under Soviet occupation and then Nazi occupation. During the Nazi occupation Roszak and fellow nuns under Mother Bertranda hid 17 members of the Jewish resistance at their convent, including future ghetto underground leader, partisan and writer Abba Kovner.

Condolences

Arkadij Kac passed away November 21. He was born in 1947. Our deepest condolences to his wife Zinaida, daughter Marija and the entire family.

Condolences

Riva Feigina, born in 1928, passed away November 19. The Lithuanian Jewish Community sends our condolences to her children and loved ones during this time of loss.

Condolences


Photo: Antanas Sutkus

With deep sadness we report the death of Dmitrijus Kopelmanas at the age of 90. He was born in 1928. The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners send deepest condolences to his friends and loved ones.

Condolences

Galina Babickaja passed away November 9. She was born in 1937.

The Social Programs Department of the Lithuanian Jewish Community send their deepest condolences to her husband and daughter on our shared loss.

Choral Synagogue Commemorates Jews Murdered in Pittsburgh

Choral Synagogue Commemorates Jews Murdered in Pittsburgh

The Jews murdered in the tragedy in Pittsburgh were commemorated on Monday, October 29, at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, Lithuania. Lithuanian Jews expressed their solidarity with American Jews and lit candles in remembrance of the victims.

Members of the Lithuanian Government came to pay their respects along with foreign diplomats and non-Jewish members of the public as well. Lithuanian Government chancellor Deividas Matulionis, deputy Lithuanian foreign minister Darius Skusevičius and Lithuanian MP Emanuelis Zingeris attended, as did a number of ambassadors to Lithuania.

United States ambassador to Lithuania Anne Hall said: “I never though these kinds of mass murders could happen in the USA. We have to all we can so similar sorts of tragedies don’t happen.”

Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon and Lithuanian MP Emanuelis Zingeris spoke about unacceptable anti-Semitism and the ideology of hatred.

Vilnius Jewish Religious Community chairman Simas Levinas said: “It’s difficult to imagine a more horrible and cynical crime than murder committed during Sabbath prayers.”

Choral Synagogue rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky said: “Despite the tragedy of this terrorism, we must be stronger in our faith, to follow G_d’s commandments, because over the ages religion has inculcated the eternal values in people, the universal morality of man, upon which this challenge has trampled.”

Choral Synagogue cantor Shmuel Yatom sang the prayer Merciful G_d in memory of the victims.