Greetings

Purim in Panevėžys

Purim in Panevėžys

Members of the Panevėžys Jewish Community gathered to celebrate Purim, a happy holiday in the first month of spring.

“The holiday of Purim is full of fun, a sense of community and the belief in the Jewish people as a strong nation able to withstand all misfortunes,” Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman said. A letter from Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and holiday greetings from friends of the local and national Community were also read.

There were the traditional Purim skits, carnival costumes and masks. Passages from the Book of Esther were dramatized, with Aleksandras Narevič playing Persian king Ahasuerus, Katrin Krasnačarova as Esther, Rolandas Paltinas as Mordechai and Timuras Jarovskis playing the evil Haman.

LJC and Sholem Aleichem School Celebrate Purim

LJC and Sholem Aleichem School Celebrate Purim

An audience of more than 400 from the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium celebrated Purim at the Legendos music club in Vilnius Friday. The selection of costumes was fantastic and there was a program entertaining to young and old alike with song and dance by the students, a drumming concert which involved all assembled, imaginative tricks by master-of-ceremonies Michailas Frišmanas and delicious food.

Thank you to the entire student body and staff of Sholem, LJC executive director Michailas Segalas and everyone who sang, danced, beat drums, laughed and took part in this unforgettable evening of celebration.

Congratulations to Aleksandras Segalas

Congratulations to Aleksandras Segalas

The entire Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulates Aleksandras Segalas on his successful defense of his dissertation “Emotions and Confirmation Bias in Simulated Child Sexual Abuse Investigative Interviews” last Friday at the Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. We are all very proud of his achievements and wish him the greatest future success.

Happy Birthday to Josif Burshtein

Happy Birthday to Josif Burshtein

Faina Kukliansky and the entire Lithuanian Jewish Community wish Josif Burshtein a very happy birthday. Formerly chairman of the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community, Josif remains an extremely active and important member of the Community and a member of the LJC executive board. We wish you great health, strength, happiness and the joy of life. Mazl tov. Bis 120!

Purim Celebrations for Young and Old Sunday

Purim Celebrations for Young and Old Sunday

The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you to come and celebrate Purim this Sunday with event programs for young and old.

The Dubi Club for children aged 3 to 7 will stage a great program with skits, games, songs and other fun activities.

At the same time Bnei Maskilim invites you to a reading of the Book of Esther, tzedakah and mishloach manot, and the traditional potluck feast.

Everyone is welcome.

Time: 12:00 noon, Sunday, March 24
Place: Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

Don’t forget your masks and costumes!

Please note: registration is required for the Bnei Maskilim event. Please send an email to viljamas@lzb.lt.

Kupiškis’s Righteous Gentiles Remembered

Kupiškis’s Righteous Gentiles Remembered

The Kupiškis regional government staged an event to remember local Righteous Gentiles on March 14, the day before the official Lithuanian day of remembrance, called “Remembering the Rescuers of Jews from the Kupiškis Region.” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman and Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein attended.

Also attending were Virginija Bunevičiūtė, assistant for cultural projects at the Israeli embassy, and the Lithuanian prime minister’s advisor on cultural affairs Gabrielė Žaidytė, grandson of Righteous Gentiles Vidmantas Markevičius and others.

Participants visited the graves of Markevičius’s grandparents Elena and Juozapas and he spoke about their lives there. On October 10, 1991, they met Sholom Sherenzon, whom they had rescued from the Holocaust, in Israel.

Remembering the Righteous Gentiles of Švenčionys

Remembering the Righteous Gentiles of Švenčionys

Lithuania marked the Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews on March 15, added to the list of Lithuanian commemorative dates in late 2022. The Nalšia Museum held an event to celebrate this day.

Museum director Nadežda Spiridonovienė led the event and in her opening speech spoke about the facts of the Holocaust in the Švenčionys region and the title of Righteous Gentile awarded by the Yad Vashem Institute to non-Israelis who rescued people from the Holocaust.

Lithuania’s parliament chose March 15 as the day of remembrance in honor of Ona Šimaitė, the first Lithuanian to be awarded the title of Righteous Gentile on March 15, 1966.

Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews Commemoration at Choral Synagogue

Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews Commemoration at Choral Synagogue

March 15 is the Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews, commemorating the historic deeds of noble Righteous Gentiles who saved a remnant of Lithuania’s Jewish population from the Holocaust. If not for them, there would be no Litvaks left in Lithuania.

“Time is ruthless. Every year there are fewer and fewer rescuers and Holocaust survivors left, but the memory of what they experienced and survived can never be forgotten. Let’s celebrate that our children, for now, are able to learn about history from the lips of eye-witnesses, and not just from textbooks. Let’s do everything we can to insure these stories are passed on to our children, grandchildren and the generations to come,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, whose family was also rescued by good people, said.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you to come remember the rescuers and to thank them for their courage and humanity.

Time: 12:00 noon, Friday March 15
Place: Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street no. 39, Vilnius

Sabbath with Guitar Music

Sabbath with Guitar Music

Last Friday the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Bnei Maskilim held a Sabbath celebration with prayer, food, guitar music and an evening of friendship and fun. This is at least a once-monthly event at the Community now. You’re invited to join next time. For more information about the next gathering, stay tuned, or send an email to viljamas@lzb.lt or call (+370) 672 50699.

Israeli Ambassador Congratulates LJC Chairwoman on Award

Israeli Ambassador Congratulates LJC Chairwoman on Award

Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein sent a letter congratulating Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky on receipt of the Order of Merit medal presented to her by the Lithuanian president on February 16 in Vilnius.

A copy of the letter can be found below.

Happy Birthday to Artūras Taicas

Happy Birthday to Artūras Taicas

The Lithuanian Jewish Community wishes Ukmergė Jewish Community chairman Artūras Taicas a very happy birthday. We are grateful to you for your tireless energy safeguarding and protecting the memory of those who cannot protect themselves from vandals. We all wish you success, happiness, real people and sincere smiles. Mazl tov. Bis 120!

Congratulations to Daumantas Todesas

Congratulations to Daumantas Todesas

The Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulates Daumantas Levas Todesas, chairman of the Council of Ethnic Communities, for recognition of his efforts in preserving the Litvak heritage in Lithuania, in representing the interests of the ethnic minority communities in Lithuania and in his public activities promoting the integration of minorities into Lithuanian society, as demonstrated by Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda’s presentation to him of the Lithuanian medal the Order of Merit, the Knight’s Cross, on February 16 at the presidential palace in Vilnius.

Vocalist Rafailas Karpis Receives Award

Vocalist Rafailas Karpis Receives Award

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda presented tenor Rafailas Karpis the Lithuanian medal the Order of Merit for his furtherance of musical culture and Jewish music in Lithuania on February 16. Mazl tov!

Lithuanian President Decorates Goodwill Foundation Co-Chairpeople

Lithuanian President Decorates Goodwill Foundation Co-Chairpeople

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda decorated Goodwill Foundation co-chairpeople Faina Kukliansky and Rabbi Andrew Baker with the Lithuanian Order of Merit, Officer’s Cross, at an awards ceremony held on Restoration of Lithuanian Statehood Day, February 16.

This was in high recognition of their great efforts in promoting Jewish culture and seeking respect and fairness for the Lithuanian Jewish community, seeking appropriate commemoration for victims of the Holocaust and seeking symbolic restitution for their property stolen.

“This award is not just personal recognition, but is a testimony to the entire Lithuanian Jewish Community who haven’t rested in seeking justice, concord, community and joint effort. To be recognized on this important day to us and to Lithuania is a great honor,” attorney, Goodwill Foundation chairman and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said at the ceremony held at the Office of President. She also congratulate Rabbi Andrew Baker, co-chairman of the Goodwill Foundation, on his receipt of the same prize.

Litvak Identity Museum Opening

Litvak Identity Museum Opening

Yesterday evening the Litvak Culture and Identity Museum opened next door to the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius.

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky spoke at the opening ceremony, saying the long-awaited exhibits would finally be made public and should be very interesting. She said the history of the Litvaks didn’t begin and end with the Holocaust, that we have a rich history which hasn’t gone away and that the new museum will offer the public a view of that history.

“We are neighbors, the Lithuanian Jewish Community is based right here, on the other side of the wall, in the same building, the former Tarbut gymnasium. We are alive and are celebrating our Jewish identity, and everyone who learns something here at the museum, we invite them to stop by the Community as well, to try our bagels, listen to music and participate in our events. Food, culture and other Community activities of which we are proud–these are all part of the Litvak identity,” Kukliansky said.

Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg-Silverstein also spoke at the opening.

Congratulations to Young Composer

Congratulations to Young Composer

Photo: Simonas Gimelšteinas at premiere on left.

Congratulations to young composer and Lithuanian Jewish Community member Simonas Gimelšteinas who did the musical score for the Lithuanian documentary film “Irklais per Atlantą” [Rowing across the Atlantic] which premiered last week.

Simonas Gimelšteinas also created the sound track for the award-winning Lithuanian short film “Blausos” [Through the Gloom] back in 2022.

A Peace-Filled and Happy 2024

A Peace-Filled and Happy 2024

Our Community faced many challenges over the last year, but we also increased our focus and sense of community. As we usher out the last year and ring in the new, we pray for the hostages who haven’t come home and our brothers and sisters still undergoing bombardment in Israel. With great love and fondness we remember all of those whom we have lost and thank them sincerely for being together with us. This is the greatest gift we can give one other. A happy and peaceful 2024.

Kaunas Jewish Community Celebrates Hanukkah

Kaunas Jewish Community Celebrates Hanukkah

“In lighting the final, the eighth Hanukkah candle, we wish all hope and faith, that light overcome the darkness, but we wish for victory to be reached as early and rapidly as possible there were it is most needed,” Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas said at a ceremony marking the final day of Hanukkah in Kaunas.

Tomas Venclova Wins Lithuanian Writers Union Prize

Tomas Venclova Wins Lithuanian Writers Union Prize

The Lithuanian Writers Union announced they were awarding their bi-annual prize to writer and thinker Tomas Venclova for his latest book of poetry entitled “Už Onos ir Bernardinų” [Behind/Beyond the Church of St. Anne and the Church of the Bernardines (aka Franciscans)]. The book was published by the Apostrofa publishing house and contains 31 poems Venclova wrote over the past seven years.

The Lithuanian Writers Union awards their prize to one author every two years in recognition of high literary value. They will present the prize to Venclova on January 6 at Union headquarters in Vilnius.