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.

Rabbi Sacks Issues Statement on Pittsburgh Attack at Tree of Life Synagogue

Rabbi Sacks Issues Statement on Pittsburgh Attack at Tree of Life Synagogue

Upon hearing the horrific news of the attack in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Rabbi Sacks issued the following statement:

The deadly attack inside a synagogue earlier today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has pierced the heart of Jewish communities worldwide. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who have lost loved ones–may they be comforted among all the other mourners of Zion. I wish those injured a complete recovery, both physically and mentally, from this traumatic ordeal.

This attack, which is being reported as the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States, is a tragic reminder that, somehow, within living memory of the Holocaust, we still live in a world where anti-Semitism exists and deadly attacks on Jews take place.

The fact this attack happened inside a synagogue, whose name is the Tree of Life, makes it all the more horrific. The synagogue is a place where people come together, in peace, to celebrate and give thanks for all we have, above all for God’s greatest gift, life.

Today lives were lost and shattered. We are the people who were commanded by Moses to “choose life” and ever since, despite the tragedies of our history, past and present, have always striven to choose life and sanctify life. That is what the community of Pittsburgh will now do, and Jewish communities around the world will support them as they rebuild and remember the lives lost.

Text of statement here.


With great sadness we report the death of Ženė Živulinskienė on October 17. She was born in 1926. Our deepest condolences to her son Viktoras.


Aleksandr Šuchat passed away October 20. He was born in 1931. Our deepest condolences to his son Jevgenijus.

Vigil for Pittsburgh Victims at the Choral Synagogue Tonight


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

Eleven Murdered at Pittsburgh Synagogue

The Lithuanian Jewish Community was shocked by news of the mass murder at the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue taking the lives of eleven worshipers.

“This reminds all Jewish communities around the world that we must stick together and stay alert. Anti-Semitism remains a great challenge threatening to disintegrate our societies. Jews cannot be powerless in the face of hate,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is shocked and saddened by the senseless murder and expresses deepest condolences to the families of the dead and the wounded, including at least two police officers. We would like to express our solidarity, along with so many others, with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. In each and every generation the scourge of anti-Semitism rises up, but never prevails.


Feiga Koganskienė passed away October 23, 2018. She was born in 1926. For many years she served as deputy chairwoman for the Kaunas Jewish Community and was responsible for social needs of the community. She was also the director of the Community’s Yiddish Club and spoke the language fluently. Our deepest condolences to her many friends and relatives.


Accomplished Lithuanian sculptor Romualdas Kvintas has died following a long battle with illness. He passed away October 20, 2018. He was born June 16, 1953, in Žagarė, Lithuania. Many of his works started dealing with Jewish figures and the Holocaust in the late 1990s. He created portraits in sculpture of Romain Gary, Daniel Dolski, Tsemakh Shabad, Jascha Heifetz, Hermanas Perelšteinas, Nehru, Mohandis Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach together, and many others. He also created several memorials to the Jews of Šeduva.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community feels we have lost a friend and great artist. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and many admirers.


With deep sadness we report Lithuanian Jewish Community member Jakovas Pilianskis has died. He was born in 1946. Our deepest condolences to his loved ones.


Maestro Eugejijus Paulauskas whose 90th birthday we celebrated one year ago in the Jashca Heifetz Hall at the Lithuanian Jewish Community has passed away. He shared his memories with us then and we want to share some of ours about him as well. Paulauskas was a violin virtuoso and a wonderful teacher. The Lithuanian Jewish Community sends sincere condolences to his family for their loss.

Born September 6, 1927, Paulauskas began his musical career more than 70 years ago. The talented musician went on to become one of Lithuania’s most notable violinists. He began studying music in Šiauliai and completed violin class under professor J. Targonskis at the Vilnius Conservatory in 1949. Last year at the birthday celebration Eugenijus Paulauskas said: “My teachers were very good, all of them were Jewish. After all, the best violinists in the world are Jews because this is a talented people. Chamber music is one of the subtlest, most profound and most intellectual forms of music and performance. I am convinced no other genre of music has so many pearls, so many masterpieces, as the quartet does. All the musical geniuses compose quartets. These compositions are made in such a way that as you perform them you forget the musical fabric, the architectonics of form, because you enter into the very depths of emotion from which emerge as if cleansed, enlightened. This sort of rebirth isn’t something just we musicians need. Everyone who comes to a concert needs it,” the master violinist said.

Paulauskas’s solo concert activity was greatly limited by his deep engagement with the Lithuanian Quartet and his pedagogical work, which have become an important part of his activities. He had innate talent, the characteristics of a solo virtuoso which was developed very early, passion to perform and passion for communicating with people of all ages and experience in his audience. Paulauskas’s rich solo repertoire was dominated by music from the Baroque, classical and romantic ages. His performance on the violin was exquisite and full of style, and his duets were subtle. His violin duets with piano met with great approval from audiences and critical acclaim.

Rest in peace, Eugenijus Paulauskas, beloved and respected by all.


Leonas Balevičius, a member of the Union of Former Ghetto and Concentration Camp Prisoners, passed away October 1. We have lost an honest, good and just man who knew how to sympathize, to give advice and to help. Our deepest condolences to his daughters Giedrė and Rūta, son Saulius and beloved grandson Leonas.

Sidney Shachnow Has Died

Kaunas ghetto inmate, legendary Litvak and US military officer major general Sidney Shachnow has passed away. He was born in 1934.

He survived the Holocaust in Lithuania and went on to become a legendary member of US military special forces. After spending three years in the ghetto, he escaped and later resettled in the United States.

His military career there was impressive. He did two tours in Viet Nam and served as a highest-ranking US military officer in West Berlin as the Cold War was grinding to a halt. US Special Forces, the Green Berets, are said to venerate Shachnow to the point of hero worship. He retired in 1994. He passed away at the age of 83 on Friday, September 28. His autobiography is called Hope and Honor.

More information in Lithuanian available here.

An Evening to Remember Saulius Sondeckis and Simonas Alperavičius Z”L

The Destinies series of events invites you to come mark the 90th birthdays of the late Simonas Alperavičius and the maestro Saulius Sondeckis.


Discussions and recollections
Piano trip Musica Camerata Baltica
Screening of film “Aš kažkaip laimingas” (“I’m Happy Somehow,” 2014) by Berznitski and Gintarė Zakarauskaitė

Special television program “Svyatoslaw Belza Interviews Saulius Sondeckis”

6:00 P.M., October 18, Jascha Heifetz Hall, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius

Initiated and moderated by Maša Grodnikienė

We will visit the graves of Saulius Sondeckis and Simonas Alperavičius, Z”L, in the morning on October 11.


The Lithuanian Jewish Community expresses deep condolences to the family of Gintautas Kirkilovskis on his loss. The family living in Riešė only recently joined the Vilnius Regional Jewish Community. We are deeply saddened by his loss.


Moišė Tarnaride passed away September 28. He was born in 1937. Our deepest condolences to his son Leonidas and daughter Jevgenija.


With sadness we report the death of professor Adolfas Bolotinas, an honored member of the Lithuanian Jewish Community who served two terms as chairman of the Vilnius Jewish Community. He was a doctor of physics and mathematics, a professor, recipient of the Republic Prize and an accomplished Lithuanian teacher and a member of the Israeli and New York Academies of Sciences. He was 93. Most of his life was centered around Vilnius University. He wrote his dissertation on theoretical and quantum physics. He was the author of more 250 academic articles and “raised” more than 20 other PhDs as professor. He is survived by his two children and wife.

Our sincere condolences go to his family and friends in this painful time. Your loss is all our loss as well.


With deep sadness we report the death of Nikolai Vainer on September 18 of this year. He was born in 1924. Our deepest condolences to his family on their loss.

World Jewish Congress Mourns Death of US Senator John McCain

NEW YORK–The World Jewish Congress mourns the death of Senator John McCain, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 81. WJC president Ronald S. Lauder said:

“I want to pay tribute to my friend Senator John McCain, a towering figure of American and international politics, who dedicated his life to serving his country, both as a heroic soldier and, of course, as a prolific senator.

“Throughout his career, John McCain worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people, sticking by his principles for a better country and a better world. He was also a reliable friend of the State of Israel and a great supporter of the Jewish people.

“John McCain was a unique and inspirational leader, the likes of whom we are unlikely to see again. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”


Jefim Traiberg passed away August 6 following a long battle with illness. He was 73.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community sends our deepest condolences to his widow Ema and daughter Šeina.


Icikas Jakobas passed away July 25. He was born in 1949. We send our sincere condolences to his wife Galina, daughter and grandson.