Greetings

Panevėžys Jewish Community Sends Passover Greetings

Panevėžys Jewish Community Sends Passover Greetings

Despite the complicated time in the world, the dates assigned by the Torah to the holidays don’t change and they are part of the history and story of the Jewish people. Passover is one of the main Jewish holy days. Over the days of Passover Jews remember their historic liberation from slavery.

During these difficult days I wish you patience, the love of those around you and endurance. Maintain hygienic requirements and adhere to the safety measures as we fight the corona virus.

Gennady Kofman, chairman
Panevėžys Jewish Community

Thank You for Helping LJC Seniors

Thank You for Helping LJC Seniors

Lithuanian Jewish Community administrative secretary Liuba Šerienė would like to send a big thank-you to Social Department director Michailas Segalas and staff members Ema Jakobienė, Ninel Skudovičiūtė, Rokas Dobrovolskis and Neringa Stankevičienė and colleagues, and to Michailas Tarasovas, Aušra, Snieguolė, Danutė Lena, Žana and Sonia for their great work helping our Social Department clients and senior citizens. Thank you so very much.

Let’s Talk: LJC Chairwoman Delivers Video Address to Members

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky has posted a video address to members. She said the following:

“Good day. I am addressing members of our Jewish community. Unfortunately, I can’t speak with you in person. Under these conditions I must speak with the aid of technology, but I would say the exact same thing if we were speaking in person.

“A certain time has come which is not pleasant and not favorable to anyone. Somehow we must live through this period with the hope that this period overall will end sometime. I believe that very much, and I hope it will end very soon.

ORT Celebrates Birthday

ORT Celebrates Birthday

by Ruth Reches, acting principal, Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium

On March 18 the ORT, an extremely important global Jewish cultural organization, celebrated its birthday. Happy birthday!

ORT is the acronym for Общество ремесленного и земледельческого трудаm, the association of crafts, trades and agriculture founded 140 years ago in 1880. ORT’s goal was to provide Jews work skills and information. In its first decades schools started by the ORT organization graduated tens of thousands of Jews who went on to work as tailors, farmers, mechanics, glass-blowers, furniture makers and similar.

Happy Birthday to LJC Members

Happy Birthday to LJC Members

Multiple happy-birthdays to Lithuanian Jewish Community members Svetlana Aronova, Eti Tsens and Riva Spits!

On March 20 long-time LJC volunteer Svetlana celebrates a milestone birthday, Eti Tsens celebrates her birthday the same day and Riva hers. We wish all of them good health, much happiness and love! Mazl tov! May you live to 120!

Happy Birthday to Švenčionys Jewish Community Chairman Moisejus Šapiro

Happy Birthday to Švenčionys Jewish Community Chairman Moisejus Šapiro

Dear Moshe, we are so very pleased to celebrate your birthday together again. We wish you much happiness, good health and energy as you undertake the serious work of leading the Švenčionys Jewish Community. Mazl tov! May you live to 120!

Chairman Šapiro has done much work engaging local residents in remembering and commemorating the names of Jews murdered in the Holocaust there, recording the names for future generations.

Happy Birthday to Gercas Borveinas

Happy Birthday to Gercas Borveinas

Happy 85th birthday to doctor Gercas Borveinas. The Lithuanian Jewish Community knows him as the long-time heart surgeon at the Antaklanis University Hospital in Vilnius who is always attentive and respectful towards patients. Borveinas was the first to use cardiac echoscopy in Lithuania and has been awarded the January 13 medal.

We wish the doctor much energy, health and happiness! Mazl tov! May you live to 120.

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky’s Purim Greeting

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky’s Purim Greeting

Purim is the happiest Jewish holiday. It’s unfortunate the fun is so brief and gives way to everyday reality which isn’t always as happy. Nonetheless I wish everyone as many good, happy days as possible.

Let’s live like Queen Esther, the symbol of the beauty, intelligence and cleverness of Jewish women who gave us victory against our hapless enemies who wanted to destroy the Jewish community and who so shamefully failed in that.

It’s not in vain we read the Book of Esther believing women are in no way weaker than men!

Miša Jakobas Wins Lithuanian Language Commission Prize

Miša Jakobas Wins Lithuanian Language Commission Prize

The Lithuanian Language Commission has awarded Miša Jakobas, the director of the Lithuanian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and founder and long-time former principal of the SHolem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium, their Snail award in recognition of his work supporting the Lithuanian language.

The Jewish school Jakobas founded was the first ethnic minority school to use Lithuanian as the language of instruction. “What’s unique about us is that we don’t have the official state language of Lithuanian, we have the native Lithuanian language. The students use and learn Lithuanian as their native language, and the exceptions other ethnic minority schools make do not apply to us,” Jakobas commented earlier.

This is the sixth time the Lithuanian Language Commission has issued awards. The awards are given in recognition of significant contributions to creating Lithuanian terminology, maintaining high standards of academic speech and language education. Ten other recipients were also awarded this year.

Grigoriy Kanovich’s Devilspel Candidate for EBRD Prize

Grigoriy Kanovich’s Devilspel Candidate for EBRD Prize

The new English edition of Litvak writer Grigoriy Kanovich’s novel Очарованье сатаны (Jerusalem, 2002) titled Devilspel is in the running for a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s literature prize created especially for translated literature and worth 20,000 euros, according to publisher Noir Press.

The prize was instituted two years ago to underline the importance of translations of literature. There are 10 contenders this year, including works by Boris Akunin.

According to the publisher’s website: “Devilspel evokes the lost world of Lithuanian Jews during the Second World War. From the lives of Grigory Kanovich’s vividly drawn characters emerges a panorama of world events that shook eastern Europe and the world. The subtle art of Kanovich is his ability to create characters in the town of Mishkine, like the feisty Danuta Hadassah, the idealistic Elisheva and the complex and empathetic Catholic Cheslavas, who live within us long after the chronicle of their lives has ended. The book is more than a novel. Its story touches the heart and questions human and divine justice in a world gone mad.”

Six finalists–three writers and three translators–will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held in London April 22. The €20,000 prize is to be divided equally between writer and translator. Two runners-up and their translators will also receive a prize of €1,000 each.

Happy Birthday, Riva!

Happy Birthday, Riva!

Happy birthday to our top Bagel Shop chef Riva Portnaja! Thank you for the delicious treats you make and for preserving the Litvak culinary heritage.

We will always think of you as you are, beloved, friendly, with your sweet and comforting smile, exuding youth from the depths of your soul.

New US Ambassador Visits LJC

New US Ambassador Visits LJC

Robert Gilchrist, a career diplomat appointed by president Trump to serve as the United States’ ambassador to Lithuania and confirmed by the Senate in late December, made an informal visit to the Lithuanian Jewish Community February 19.

During the visit he met chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, received a tour of the Community building from her, chatted with senior citizens and learned about their club and met Holocaust survivors, including Jewish partisan Fania Brancovskaja.

He also visited the Bagel Shop Café and met children engaged in LJC activities during their winter break from school.

Chairwoman Kukliansky also showed the new ambassador an exhibit on display at the Community on the Righteous Gentiles who rescued Jews from the Holocaust in Lithuania.

Appointed by US president Donald Trump in July, Gilchrist was only confirmed by the Senate in late December after heated questioning about his position on Russia. During his confirmation he called Lithuania one of America’s most loyal allies and said becoming the US ambassador to Lithuania was the honor of his life.

LJC Members Who Received National Awards Recognized on February 16

LJC Members Who Received National Awards Recognized on February 16

The executive board of the Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulated Community members who had received state awards on the eve of February 16, the pre-war Lithuanian Independence Day.

Vocalist Rafailas Karpis, named soloist of the year by the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater and Linas Vildžiūnas, editor of the Seven Days of Art weekly newspaper and recipient of the Leonidas Donskis prize, were recognized. Daumantas Levas Todesas, an active cultural figure, supporter of culture and long-time member of the LJC, who was elected chairman of the Ethnic Communities Service for the term between 2020 and 2024, was also recognized.

Journalist and public figure Eugenijus Bunka, named Tolerant Person of the Year, was also recognized and sent a greeting to the audience on the eve of February 16. His brief address follows.

Greetings on February 16, Lithuanian Independence Day

Greetings on February 16, Lithuanian Independence Day

Students, staff and teachers of the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius marked Lithuanian Independence Day February 16 with a full day of events.

The program included song and dance in the late morning and afternoon Friday to celebrate the day in 1918 102 years ago when the modern state of Lithuania was born. Pupils performed Lithuanian folk dancing and sang the national anthem.

Acting principal Ruth Reches said: “Children of different nationalities attend our gymnasium and one of our aims is to teach them citizenship, and to teach both the children and young people dates and holidays important to both Jewish and Lithuanian families. The day of the restoration of Lithuanian statehood celebrated on February 16 is very important to all of us, to our freedom and self-expression, and we, the entire school community, celebrated this independence day enthusiastically and ethnically.”

Donskis Prize Winner Linas Vildžiūnas’s Acceptance Speech

Donskis Prize Winner Linas Vildžiūnas’s Acceptance Speech

LRT.lt

The Leonidas Donskis prize was awarded this year to Linas Vildžiūnas, the director of the “7 meno dienos” [Seven Days of Art] weekly newspaper, by the board of directors of the Sugihara Foundation/Diplomats for Life and Jolanta Donskienė.

On February 2 the Sugihara Foundation/Diplomats for Life announced their annual award for Tolerant Person of the Year at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas. This year that person was Eugenijus Bunka. They also awarded the Donskis prize to Linas Vildžiūnas. Leonidas Donskis was a philosopher, professor, the author of numerous books, a television personality, an advisor to the Lithuanian president and an important voice in the modern Republic of Lithuania.

Vildžiūnas was awarded the distinction “for his meaningful presence on the cultural scene which was unaffected by regime changes and fashion, and for his continuous reminder culture is a fundamental value whose quality is enriched by supporting dialogue and discussion. [And] for his long-time battle against forgetfulness, reminding us that only the maintenance of memory, however uncomfortable it might be, strengthens dialogue and empathy, that the memories of our grandparents and great-grandparents is of value for the younger generation rather than a fading memory. [And] for his belief and the example he set, showing that a strong civic attitude is able to withstand tendentious attacks, manipulations and efforts to ‘nationalize’ it.”

This is the speech Linas Vildžiūnas gave on acceptance of the Donskis prize:

§§§

Dear Mrs. Jolanta Donskienė, honored members of the board of directors of the Sugihara Foundation/Diplomats for Life, ladies and gentlemen,

In accepting from your hands this honorable award in recognition of my humble efforts, I am deeply moved and at the same time disturbed. The Leonidas Donskis prize set a very high standard, bearing in mind his irreplaceable role in our public life and academic discourse and his novel insights which have added to our lexicon of philosophy and sociology (take just for example his and Zygmunt Bauman’s idea of “liquid evil” in the final book coauthored by both thinkers). We all feel that void which appeared in public life on the loss of Leonidas Donskis, who was the most remarkable and sometimes the only voice of our intellectual elite.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Wishes Lithuania a Merry Christmas

Lithuanian Jewish Community Wishes Lithuania a Merry Christmas

We wish you a merry Christmas as the Jewish community celebrates the festival of lights, Hanukkah. May the spirit of the holidays carry on and underpin the New Year. Both holidays, Christian and Jewish, are a time for the tranquility of the home hearth and for reflecting on what has passed and what is yet to come.

Merry Christmas! We wish all health, happiness and that we all find a way to respect one another, now and in the future.

Hanukkah Begins

Hanukkah Begins

Lithuanian Jews and Jews around the world began celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights, December 22, lighting the first light on the menorah. The Lithuanian Jewish Community has a menorah set up on the balcony of headquarters in Vilnius.

Because the Jewish day begins at sundown, Hanukkah actually began on the evening of December 22. Members of the Community, friends and Israeli ambassador Yossi Avni-Levy attended the lighting ceremony.

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said Hanukkah is folklore as well as a religious holiday lasting eight days, symbolizing the miracle of the lamp oil which lasted eight days at the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabee uprising. She wished everyone a happy Hanukkah, and that the festival of lights would impart happiness, health and joy among all families.