Lithuanian Jews Send Congratulations on 100th Anniversary of Lithuanian Military

Lithuanian Jews Send Congratulations on 100th Anniversary of Lithuanian Military

Lithuanian Jews send their congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Lithuanian military. This is also a holiday for Jews. We remember and are proud of the Lithuanian Jewish volunteer soldiers, the participants in the battles for Lithuanian freedom in 1919 and 1920. We honor the civic-mindedness and patriotism of the Jewish soldiers and their devotion and service to Lithuania. Through their blood and at the cost of their lives they proved the Jewish community had decided resolutely with Lithuanians to established the democratic Republic of Lithuania and to defend bravely their country.

Happy 100th anniversary!

Thanksgiving Greetings from Paul Packer, Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Thanksgiving Greetings from Paul Packer, Chairman of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Dear Friends,

As families across the country gather to give thanks–for those we love, for the freedoms we cherish, for our shared heritage–I hope we’ll take a moment to consider those in need and those who cannot be with their families on this special day, particularly our brave men and women in uniform stationed around the world.

With the many challenges we face today, the United States Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad remains strong and steadfast in our commitment to preserving the past. It has never been more important to understand our history, to find common ground through our diverse stories, and to appreciate the profound privilege of being an American.

As you spend time with your family this Thanksgiving, I urge you to take the first step toward preserving our history: tell your family’s story, where you came from and how you arrived where you are now. Give your children the gift of understanding where they come from, and on this and every Thanksgiving into the future, I have no doubt they’ll thank you for it.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.


Chairman Packer

U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
633 3rd Street, NW
Suite 515
Washington, DC 20001

Panevėžys Jewish Community Wishes Members Happy Birthday

Panevėžys Jewish Community Wishes Members Happy Birthday

The Panevėžys Jewish Community would like to wish a happy birthday to members who recently celebrated birthdays, and held a common birthday party at the Community for Roma Marijampolskienė, Liudmila Grafman, Arnoldas Urbonas, Vidmantas Markevičius, Liudmila Šteimanienė, Leonardas Šteimanas, Rolandas Paltinas, Michailas Grafmanas, Janina Solovjova, Mantė Rimkutė and Aleksandras Košel. Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman addressed the party and wished everyone energy, health, tenacity, good emotions, many friends and a long life. He also presented the celebrants flowers and birthday cards.

Kaunas Jewish Community Celebrates 30th Birthday

The Kaunas Jewish Community celebrated the 30th anniversary of its restoration with the concert “From Mendelssohn to Latėnas” October 22. Members of the Kaunas Jewish Community, city society and cultural figures attended the elegant event reminiscent of Kaunas in the period between the two world wars.

Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament Viktoras Pranckietis greeted the audience and the Community.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is proud of the achievements by the Kaunas Jewish Community and thanks chairman Gercas Žakas for his efforts in rallying and uniting the Jews of Lithuania’s provisional capital, for his sincere and ceaseless concern for the needs of members and Righteous Gentiles, for popularizing athletics and reviving Yiddish culture.

We are so proud of you and wish you many more such anniversaries! Mazl tov!

Rosh Hashanah at the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community

The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year 5779. Cilė Gleizer reminded the audience of the meaning and traditions of the holiday. Frida Šteinienė lit the candles and said a prayer to kick off the celebration. Community chairman Naum Gleizer greeted members and wished everyone a good, healthy and sweet new year. He delivered greetings from the Panevėžys Jewish Community and from former residents of Šiauliai now resident in Israel.

The holiday table contained the tradition dishes–challa, apples and honey, pomegranates and gefilte fish, the latter prepared by Maja Burštein. The traditional treats of teiglakh, imberlakh, apple pie and other sweets were made by Frida Šteinienė, Irina Pres and Cilė Gleizer.

Vadim Kamrazer and his daughter Sofija performed live Jewish music and song. The celebration was much enjoyed by young and old alike. Everyone received the new calendar for 5779.

Rosh Hashanah at the Panevėžys Jewish Community

Members of the Panevėžys Jewish Community celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, on September 9 at the Parko street restaurant. The event began with the lighting of candles, the blessing was read and good wishes were made to friends and relatives. Michailas Grafmanas blew the shofar horn to usher in the new year 5779. Community chairman Gennady Kofman read the prayer of repentance and hope and Community members greeted one another with the wish God would author them a good coming year.

Guests included city council member A. Petrauskas and the history teacher V. Jakonis from Biržai, Lithuania.

The holiday table included challa, pomegranates, apples and honey. Fish was also served along with other traditional Jewish dishes. The celebration included songs and poetry by children who were rewarded for their work. There was also dancing and different games.

Rosh Hashanah Celebration at Choral Synagogue

On Sunday the Lithuanian Jewish Community celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the new year, 5779, at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius.

Rosh Hashanah symbolizes the sixth day of the creation of the world: on this day the Most High created the forefather of mankind, Adam.

Rosh Hashanah is first mentioned in the Mishnah (the oral Torah) where it is called Yom Troy (Pipe Festival), which is connected with the commandment to blow a horn on this day. In synagogues the shofar horn is blown on Rosh Hashanah, whose sound is supposed to confound the enemy and bring clear thought and repentance to believers. The shofar tradition goes back centuries and the ram’s horn is associated with the ram which Abraham substituted for his son in making a sacrifice to G_d. The word “shofar” comes from the words for improvement and correction.

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky’s Greetings on Rosh Hashanah 5779

As the high holy days draw near, I am glad to be able to share with you important Lithuanian Jewish Community news. The Lithuanian Jewish Community faces many challenges every day, but this year we’ve grown, we’ve grown stronger and we are receiving ever more public and political support. Interest in Jewish culture is not fading, either, as shown by European Days of Jewish Culture events in Lithuania, a program which grows richer by the year. I greatly appreciate that 1,500 Litvaks abroad have officially joined the LJC from the Litvak Association in Israel chaired by Arie Ben-Ari Grozdensky. Jewish unity is the largest goal for the LJC which is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the national revival this year.

Thanks to the active work of the regional Jewish communities and Jewish organizations, Jewish values remain strong in Lithuania. A young generation of Jews is growing up and we need to pass on our history and our future to them. For a long time now we have been developing the idea of reviving the tradition of Litvak scouting and this year we finally managed to make it a reality working with French and Polish Jewish scouting organizations. Vilnius ghetto prisoner and Jewish partisan Fania Brancovskaja was part of Jewish scouting in Lithuania before the war and shared her experience in scouting at our recent camping event. Although the Jewish community in Lithuania isn’t large, we have proven we are able to continue the old traditions and to start new ones.

We met the Litvak prime minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his wife Sara at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, celebrating its 115th anniversary this year. This was an historical occasion to remind Europe and the world the Jewish nation is an indivisible part of European culture, and Europe should be grateful to the State of Israel for so many European lives which have been saved thanks to the work of Israeli intelligence in stopping attacks. Two small democracies, Israel and Lithuania, find striking parallels in their histories. We will recall them this December in celebrating 100 years of the union of Lithuanian Zionist organizations, which also supported Lithuanian aspirations for statehood.

In September we mark a great tragedy which has come to be a symbol of the Holocaust in Lithuania. We mark the painful 75th anniversary of the destruction of the Vilnius ghetto. It’s very significant that we are dedicating ever more informal means to commemorate history, but there are still areas where more needs to be done in discussing the role the Lithuanian Activist Front and the Provisional Government of Lithuania played in the Holocaust, and more needs to be done in the state’s school curriculum as well.

We esteem highly as well the great work our partners–the joint Lithuanian-Israel archaeology group–have done in work on the Great Synagogue of Vilnius. The LJC is responsible for drafting a study on ways to commemorate the Great Synagogue. As the spiritual successors to the Vilna Gaon, we feel a great responsibility to insure the respect due this special Jewish sacred site and the appropriate presentation of what’s left of this heritage site to the public.

I want to thank sincerely all those who have been and are with the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Thank you for your energy and support. I wish you a sweet and happy 5779!

Congratulations to Members and Children on First Day of School

Dear parents, teachers and children,

You have grown strong, relaxed and have begun to miss your friends over the sunny summer vacation, and now with renewed energy you embark with your teachers on a trip to the mysterious land of learning. We wish you the joy of learning new things, much friendship with your classmates and success in your studies. Mazl tov!

Poet and Bard Aleksandr Ravve’s Birthday Celebrated in Kaunas

On July 27, 2018, the Youth, Art and Music Department of the Vincas Kudirka Public Library in Kaunas hosted a midday birthday party for chairman Galim Sitdykov of the G. Derzhavim Russian Literature Club and for poet and bard Aleksandr Ravve. Club deputy chairwoman and soloist Rima Kazėnienė presented aspects of their biography, career and success to the audience. Friends from the club, members of public organizations and just friends congratulated the birthday boys.

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas spoke with warmth and humor giving birthday congratulations, as did Union of Kaunas Military Veterans Valeri Leshchenko, Kaunas Russian Community chairman Vyacheslav Afonin, Dr. Jonas Radzvinavičius of the Tartar newspaper Lietuvos totoriai, Petras Grinius, Vladas Vaitkevičius, Margarita Milierienė, Loreta Vaitkuvienė and Galina Kuchtova.

Ilver Vazirov and other musicians performed original works and popular songs in four languages: Russian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Georgian. The evening culminated in the reading of a letter by the literary club deputy chairman Yuri Malkov sending birthday greetings on the occasion of their 70th.

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Eli Rabinowitz, Litvak activist and noble traveller originally from Cape Town now resident in Perth and a frequent visitor to the Jewish communities in Lithuania. He was born in 1952. Mazl tov!

Markas Zingeris Wins Liudas Dovydėnas Literary Prize

Writer Markas Zingeris has won this year’s Liudas Dovydėnas prize for best new Lithuanian novel for the book “Aš sėdėjau Stalinui ant kelių” [I Sat on Stalin’s Knees] published in 2017 by the Lithuanian Writers’ Union.

Zingeris is the director of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum but is an accomplished and prolific writer who has won a number of literary prizes previously. Some of his books have been translated to other languages.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Sholem Aleichem Hebrew Teacher Finalist in Teacher of the Year for 5778

Our highest congratulations to the teacher Ruth Reches on her victory.

The Israeli Education Ministry and the Hefziba program held an international contest for professional excellence called Teacher of the Year for 5778. Jewish schools in the Hefziba program and teachers at those schools teaching Hebrew, Jewish traditions and Jewish history competed. The goal of the contest was to reveal the potential of teachers working in the Jewish educational system and the creation of conditions for their self-realization.

The contest helps raise the prestige of the teaching profession, encourage Jewish identity in the teaching environment, discover talented teachers and create conditions for transmitting teaching experience and the continued professional development of teachers.

Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Hebrew language teacher Ruth Reches became a finalist in Best Teacher of the Year 5778 and was awarded a diplomat, and a tree was planted in Jerusalem in her honor. The certificate issued to the teacher on this honorary event contained a quote to teach children “each according to his [or her] own ability.”

Congratulations to Sholem Aleichem Graduating Class

The graduation ceremony at the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium this week was filled with congratulations, warm wishes, music and jokes. There were sad moments when graduates bid farewell to their beloved school, friends and teachers as they set out on their own. The ceremony seemed to affect everyone–students, teachers and parents–who shed tears of joy and traded happy smiles.

This year the graduating class consisted of 18 young men and women. Principal Miša Jakobas passed out the diplomas. The head of one of the best schools in Vilnius, Jakobas said all the graduates were well-prepared for their exams and passed them all.

“The graduation ceremony is an opportunity to take pride: our graduate Daniela Mindelevič got the three highest scores, 100 points each! Three hundred is a great achievement!” Jakobas noted. She received a letter of commendation at the ceremony for her excellent work from Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius, and she will take part in a national ceremony later in July to honor top graduates held by Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis. Graduate Arina Kac also scored high with two perfect scores of 100 each.

Five graduates passed the English language test with perfect scores of 100. Six also scored perfectly on the Russian test. Thirteen graduates received perfect scores on the state Lithuanian language test. Graduates also scored high in math. “Of course this makes us happy, because these kinds of achievements are not just the result of work by students and their parents, but also the great work of our teachers,” principal Jakobas said.

Happy Birthday, Irina!


Happy birthday to Irina Belienė from the entire community! Irina is a long-standing member of the LJC, is very active on the LJC executive board and is the director of the Janusz Korczak welfare and support fund.

Dear Irina, we wish you health, love and the strength to achieve everything your heart desires! Mazl tov!

Happy Birthday to Sora Voloshin Kalavitch

Sora first on left.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community wishes Sora Voloshin a very happy birthday, good health and to be surrounded by the strong love of family. Mazl tov! Biz hundert azoi ve tsvantsik!

Yitzhak Rudashevski’s cousin Sora survived the Holocaust while Yitzhak and his family were murdered at Ponar. She ran away when they were being taken to Ponar. After the war she went back to the place the Rudashevski family hid, found Yitzhak’s diary and loaned it to Abraham Sutzkever for use as an exhibit in the ill-fated post-war Jewish Museum in Vilnius.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community published a Lithuanian translation of the Yiddish diary this year as we approach the 75th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilnius ghetto.

Congratulations to Members Decorated by Lithuanian President

Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė decorated Lithuanian and foreign citizens for contributions to the Lithuanian state on July 6, State Day.

“Today I would most like to emphasize what has been accomplished, and to thank everyone who works for Lithuania from their heart. Those whose civic-mindedness is not a pose or empty words, those for whom this country is the most important one in the world. Thanks to you Lithuania has in less than three decades travelled this road of statehood and today confidently compares itself to many states in Europe and the world with whom we have strong ties of friendship,” she said at the awards ceremony.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is proud of and congratulates our members who were decorated on State Day on the 100th anniversary of the Lithuanian state.

Theater expert and propagator of historical memory and tolerance professor Irena Veisaitė was awarded the Great Cross of the Commander “For Merit to Lithuania.”

Journalist and radio host Ernestas Alesinas was recognized for encouraging civic-mindedness and strengthening civil society. He was awarded the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.