Dear Arkadijus, the Lithuanian Jewish Community sends you, a unique jazz man and master of percussion, birthday greetings! We are proud of you and your music, spontaneous improvisations and beats. We wish you many more creative ideas and projects in your future leading to even greater jazz heights! Mazl tov!
Congratulations to Gita Grinmanienė Zimanaitė on her 80th birthday. Gita – Member of the Alliance Committee and Council of Former Ghetto and concentration camp prisoners . The Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) community is well acquainted with the Gita as an active member of the community.
Gita survived the Holocaust. She was rescued from the Kaunas (Kovno) ghetto by Lithuanian family.
Dear Gita, when you look back over 80 years, we hope that your memories are warm ones. When you celebrate today, we hope that your heart is filled with love and joy. When you look forward to the future, we wish that all your dreams and wishes come true.
Mazel tov! Live to 120!
Avital Libman has become first runner-up in the Miss Universe Lithuania contest. Well done! We’re proud of Avital. She’s beautiful and courageous, and during the contest she said that she’s still at school but during her free time she volunteers for the Jewish community. The Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulates Avital and we wish her all the best, further achievements in school and future contests, and that her dreams come true.
Arkadijus Gotesmanas working together with director Adolfas Večerskis and artist Linas Liandzbergis created the Story of a Man of God almost a decade ago. Author of the music and text, he was also the performer of this drama. One week ago it was presented to an audience in Uzhgorod, Ukraine. In the one-man play Gotesmanas recalled horrible, funny, sad and happy events from his own life accompanied by creative percussion, the life of one man, one family, one people marked by the tragedies of the 20th century but nonetheless filled with unconditional love for faltering humanity.
The audience in Uzhgorod listened and watched in rapt attention. Arkadijus was born there 60 years ago. The “hometown boy” appears to have impressed the audience with his high degree of creativity, talent and musical ability. Arkadijus said he only really knew about “our Uzhgorod” from his parents before this. In infancy he and his parents left the city. So the next performance of Story of a Man of God might include this trip as well.
Full story in Lithuanian here.
Members of the Lithuanian Jewish Community traditionally gather in the Sukkot tent–the sukka–to talk and eat. The happy holiday lasts seven days.
Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles or tents) is one of three pilgrim holidays mentioned in the Bible as shalosh regalim. In earlier times it was an agricultural holiday to give thanks for the harvest. The sukka is a tent, the only home Jews knew for the 40 years they wandered the desert after the exodus from Egypt. As a temporary shelter, the sukka also reminds us existence is fragile, and Sukkot is a time when we should appreciate our home and body.
The sukka is a necessary part of the holiday of Sukkot and needs to be built. Jews are supposed to sit in the booth and eat and celebrate. It is celebrated for seven days in Israel. There, where it’s usually warm, people even sleep in the make-shift dwellings and children especially enjoy the holiday. The dwelling place is decorated on the eve of the holiday and it is forbidden to work on the first day of the holiday.
Four species of plant are required and are placed together on a platter or plate and waved around. This is written in the Bible. The species are the fruit of the citron tree, palm fronds, myrtle fronds and willow branches. On the seventh day of Sukkot Jews circle seven times in synagogue reciting the prayer used on that day.
Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community celebrated the advent of the new Jewish year 5780 with a dinner and ceremony. Community chairman Naum Gleizer welcomed participants and wished everyone a good, sweet and healthy coming year. Frida Šteinienė began the celebration by lighting candles and saying a prayer. She reminded participants of the significance and traditions of the holiday.
Traditional foods graced the dinner table, including challa, apples with honey, pomegranates, gefilte fish, chicken liver and chopped herring. Community housewives provided traditional Jewish sweets such as teigalakh, imberlakh and apple pie.
Live Jewish song and dance provided by Vadim Kamrazer enlivened the celebration and the children Sofija, Karina and Natanas also sang.
Young and old appeared to have a great time. Animator and children’s event organizer Simona provided a special program for the kids. Every family received the new 5780 Jewish calendar published by the Lithuanian Jewish Community.
The Panevėžys Jewish Community celebrated Rosh Hashanah September 29 at the Park Café. It began with the lighting of candles, then Community chairman Gennady Kofman read a prayer for the new year, 5780, and Michailas Grafman blew the shofar horn.
Community member ate traditional foods such as apples dipped in honey, pomegranates, gefilte fish and challa bread. Children received presents and learned about Jewish traditions. At the end of the celebration the new Jewish calendar published by the Lithuanian Jewish Community.
Chairman Kofman read out greetings from Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and from Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Yossi Levy. Greetings were also received from LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and the heads of Lithuania’s regional Jewish communities.
Photo: Sholem Aleichem teacher Rasa Belgerienė with mayor Remigijus Šimašius at awards ceremony
In anticipation of World Teachers’ Day on October 5, Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius presented awards to Vilnius teachers of the year. The prize commission selected 11 from 42 nominations, with the winners including Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium teacher Rasą Belgerienė.
“Education is undoubtedly one of the most important areas for Vilnius and the country. We want to encourage cooperation between the schools of Vilnius and institutions of higher learning as we create the concept of the modern school. You are crucial as the engines of daily wins, but also of our great shared goals and as forces for reform. I feel pride to see before me so many professionals in their field whose daily work is to raise independent, free and responsible people,” the mayor said.
Full story in Lithuanian here.
A series of several concerts with world-famous performers, composers and material from the works of Grigoriy Kanovitch will be held to celebrate Kanovitch’s 90th birthday. Kanovitch is the author of a number of classics in Jewish literature and is a recipient of the Lithuanian National Art and Culture Prize. Lithuanian Jewish Community members will receive a 40% discount on the ticket price.
For more information, see here.
Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Yossi Levy, embassy aide Adi Cohen and writer Kristina Sabaliauskaitė wish you a good, happy and sweet new year. It’s customary to invite friends and relatives over for New Year’s both to have a party and to keep a mitzvah.
Rosh Hashanah is a happy holiday with pomegranate, round challa bread and apples essential elements. Pieces of apple are immersed in honey and eaten while wishing others a good and sweet new year.
Yossi Levy, Israeli ambassador, sends you his greetings on the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and sends you greetings from Israeli president Reuven Rivlin,
We wish you tranquility, concentration and a happy and sweet 5780!
Shana tova u’metuka!
Embassy of Israel to LithuaniarIVLIN Image_00061
The most iconic image of the Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year celebration is the blowing of the shofar horn. It is a ram’s horn and it is difficult to blow it correctly. The shofar reminds believers of the coming Day of Judgment. Jews gather at synagogue and read prayers for two days during the holiday.
An important Rosh Hashanah tradition is to take clothing to a body of water and shake the pockets out, symbolically ridding oneself of remaining sin. A special prayer is read for this. The ritual is called tashlikh (Hebrew “cast off”).
The main holiday treat on Rosh Hashanah is the pomegranate. This is replaced by apples and honey in Lithuania where the fruit doesn’t grow to maturity. The honey is intended to make the coming year sweet. In fact the salutation “sweet year” is a requisite part of the well-wishing involved in the holiday.
Often guests are served fish and it must have a head, because Rosh Hashanah literally translates as “head of the year.” A round loaf of challa bread is baked for the dinner table symbolizing the cyclicity of the year. On Rosh Hashanah G_d decides a person’s destiny for the coming year, in this case 5780. There is a Rosh Hashanah greeting, “khatima tova,” which is a wish for success you will be written into the Book of Life.
The tenth day of Rosh Hashanah is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. The Torah tells us not to do anything on that except reflect on our actions over the preceding year. It is the time when a final decision will be made regarding the destiny of the individual over the coming year. Jews wish one another “gmar khatima tova,” good luck with the final inscription.
The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community, the Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Goodwill Foundation greet you with “shana tova u’metuka,” or “sweet new year,” and hope to see you at synagogue!
Simas Levinas, chairman
Vilnius Jewish Religious Community
For years now the Kaunas Jewish Community has been giving thanks to our active members who take part in activities and help make them possible.
In earlier years this has mainly taken the form of a dinner party with live music, but this year we decided to take the volunteers on a tour in and around Kaunas.
Members learned about the town of Kačerginė, its history and cultural legacy, listening to the enthusiastic narrative of Lina Sinkevičienė while taking in the rural beauty of the place. Members were received warmly at the headquarters of the Kačerginė aldermanship. The beautiful landscape conceals a bloody history and Kaunas Jewish Community members paid their respects to the Holocaust victims in Šakiai, Lukšiai, Zapyškis and surrounding areas.
The Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium began the school year Monday with a large welcome-back ceremony attended by new Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Yossi Avni Levy. Principal Miša Jakobas spoke to the large audience of pupils, parents and teachers:
“This is my last September today. All these years I’ve been with you, I’ve shared my heart and feelings with you. There is no greater feeling today than that which I feel seeing Lithuanian and Jewish children sing the Israeli anthem. I would like to thank everyone who believed in me. The school and the high school understand that nothing lasts forever. Today I can only take pride in our wonderful teachers and great atmosphere,” he said. After thanking teachers by name, he added: “I am very proud that our 70 gymnasium students are doing especially well.”
Lithuania’s new president Gitanas Nausėda sent a greeting to Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium principal Miša Jakobas on the official first day of the school year Monday. Presidential aide Sigitas Mitkus read the president’s words at the school ceremony.
Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium principal Miša Jakobas greeted students, parents and teachers with the start of the new school year September 2.
Our birthday greetings to Moisejus Šeras, long-time member of the LJC and the minyan at the Choral Synagogue. We wish you great health, love and happiness! May you live to 120! Mazl tov!
Lithuania’s National Olympic Committee have sent their congratulations to the Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club on the latter’s outstanding showing at the 15th European Maccabi Games held in Budapest in early August. Makabi Club president and head of delegation Semionas Finkelšteinas said their win was unprecedented both in the last hundred years of Lithuanian Jewish sporting history and in Lithuanian athletics overall.
The Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club teams contain many young people, which might explain their outstanding recent victories and should insure many more victories to come.
This year Lithuanian Makabi athletes took home around 62 medals, 25 of them gold. Although the athletes from Lithuania originally won 81 awards, but in the final count only medals won individually or in pairs or teams with athletes from a single country were registered, leaving Lithuanian Makabi an appreciable haul. During awards ceremonies the Lithuanian national anthem played a whopping 25 times and the Lithuanian flag was raised the same number of times.