Learning, History, Culture

Maoris for Israel

Maoris for Israel

Rebel News in Australia attended and filmed a pro-Israel demonstration by New Zealand’s native Polynesian people, the Maoris, resident in and around Brisbane, Australia. According to the reporter, Avi Yemini, who was assaulted by pro-Hamas protestors in newer videos on the same youtube channel, the Maori demonstration began as a counter-demonstration to a protest to support Gaza, but the pro-Palestinians failed to show up. The local indigenous Destiny Church planned the counter-protest on St. George Square an hour earlier than the pro-Hamas demonstration. Maoris interviewed at the scene said the Hamas supporters had been scared off, despite police protection.

One man interviewed said the Jews were the indigenous people in Israel.

“I believe the Jews, it’s their land. They were there before. They’ve had so many civilizations that have been there, the Jews have always been there. They never gave up their land. They were scattered around the world, but they never once gave up their land.,” he said.

Shalom Culture and Music Festival Presents Wagon of Shoes

Shalom Culture and Music Festival Presents Wagon of Shoes

At 7:00 P.M. on June 4 the Shalom Culture and Music Festival presents a concert at the Church of St. Kotryna (aka St. Catherine) in Vilnius, with performances by opera soloist Rafailas Karpis, violinist Boris Kirzner and the Vilnius State Choir conducted by Artūras Dambrauskas. This will be the first performance in Lithuania of “Wagon of Shoes” by Lee Kesselman. The concert program is to include works by Jewish composers for solo and choir.

“Wagon of Shoes” is a work for choir, soloist, piano and violin by Lee Kesselman based on the poem by Abraham Sutzkever, Yiddish poet, Jewish partisan and survivor of the Vilnius ghetto. The Jewish composer lives in the USA and wrote the piece for the 700th anniversary of Vilnius under commission by the Lithuanian Consulate in Chicago and the Dainava Choir of the Lithuanian Community in Chicago. The premiere took place in June of 2022 in Chicago.

The Shalom Culture and Music Festival is being held in eleven Lithuanian cities and towns from May to October of 2024. The half-year tour will feature classical and contemporary music, klezmer, improvisational jazz, exhibitions and artistic activities. Musicians and singers from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Germany and Israel will participate in the festival. This year’s festival program includes over 20 concerts in concert halls in Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai and Palanga, the Old Zapyškis Church, synagogues in Alytus, Joniškis, Kėdainiai, Pakruojis and Žiežmariai and at the former Telšiai yeshiva.

ICC Oversteps Jurisdiction

ICC Oversteps Jurisdiction

by Geoff Vasil

The recent request by an International Criminal Court prosecutor for a three-person panel of judges at the ICC in the Hague to issue arrest warrants for the prime minister and defense minister of Israel oversteps the court’s jurisdiction.

First, Israel isn’t a member-state to the ICC. Second, while the ICC recognizes Palestine as a state, Palestine doesn’t have the judicial abilities to act as a full-fledged state. Third, according to the ICC’s own rule or statutes, it must first petition the offending state aka defendant to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity itself.

Israel’s courts have already undertaken investigations into alleged war crimes by the Israeli Defense Forces against aid workers and civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Fourth, the ICC isn’t qualified to assess whether Israel is targeting Gazan Palestinians for extermination aka genocide by means of starvation and casualty attrition. In point of fact that’s the job for the UN’s International Court of Justice in the Hague. The UN has downgraded casualties reported by the Hamas suicide cult’s health department to about half of what the latter have been reporting, putting the ration of enemy combatants to civilian deaths to about 1:1, which is the lowest ratio in any war, let alone an urban house-to-house conflict, in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Happy Birthday to Fania Brantsovskaya

Happy Birthday to Fania Brantsovskaya

Today we wish a very happy birthday to Fania Brantsovskaya, Vilnius ghetto inmate, Jewish partisan and living eye-witness to the Holocaust in Lithuania.

In the name of the entire Lithuanian Jewish Comuunity, chairwoman Faina Kukliansky extends our birthday greetings:

Dear Fania,

Your strength and tenacity in overcoming the most difficult obstacles and your passion in defense of the memory of Holocaust victims has become an example for all of us and inspire us to exert all efforts that future generations might learn the lessons of the past. We are so grateful to you for this, and wish you health, warmth, love and of course many more years to come.

Mazl tov! Bis 120!

Intensive Yiddish Course 2024

Intensive Yiddish Course 2024

Embark on a journey to learn a 1000-year-old language with a rich cultural heritage in Vilnius, the fabled “Jerusalem of North!”

You will meet and learn from world-names in Yiddish education: professors Avrom Lichtenboim (Argentina), Dov-Ber Kerler (US) and Anna Verschik (Estonia). Apart from directly learning Yiddish, You will get tons of additional and fun educational events–museum and cultural site tours, film-screenings and Yiddish song–every afternoon!

Lithuanian Makabi Sporting Extravaganza in June

Lithuanian Makabi Sporting Extravaganza in June

The Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club invites families with children to their summer sporting holiday at the Pailgio Perlas recreational site June 8 and 9. The two days of sport include the traditional competitions and fun, but this year there will also be a Makabi Challenge including orienteering, puzzles and tug-of-war.

Lithuania’s top players Ignas and Gerda Šišanovas and Rafaelis Gimelšteinas will be there to teach ping-pong. Registration is required before June 4 by sending an email to info.maccabilt@gmail.com.

Cost:

• Children under 7 free;
• aged 7-12 with overnight stay 25 euros;
• 13 and older with overnight accomodation 40 euros;
• 7-12 without overnight 15 euros;
• 13 and older without overnight stay 25 euros.

Yom HaAtzmaut Today

Yom HaAtzmaut Today

Israeli celebrates its 76th birthday today on Israeli independence day, or Yom haAtzmaut. Israel’s Memorial Day or Yom haZikaron was marked Monday in Israel, the day of remembrance of all those who have fallen in defense of Israel, including Jewish partisans from Lithuania.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky issued a special greeting for the holiday:

“Today Israel marks Independence Day for the 76th time. It is darkened by the shadow of the lives of thousands of our dear people taken by the October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists and our thoughts for the 132 hostages still held in Gaza.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with them, the fallen soldiers and the victims to whose loved ones we send our deepest condolences and support.

Ystreet Camp on Seaside in Latvia

Ystreet Camp on Seaside in Latvia

Jewish children and young people aged 7 to 17 (in grades 2 to 11) are invited to attend a varied set of classes from singing to handicrafts on the Baltic Sea in Latvia in comfortable conditions under the tutelage of qualified adult consultants. Participants are expected from the Baltic states and beyond, and space is limited.

The camp will take place from June 26 to July 4, for nine days and eight nights, at the Minhauzena Unda Hotel (https://www.hotelunda.com) just outside Riga. The cost is 450 euros per participant with payment plans available, and 390 euros if you register before May 20.

For more information and to register, call +371 2918 7555 (Ilona) or +370 6300 3388 (Alina), or send an email to info@ystreet.lv. The YStreet organization is also on facebook and Instagram:

www.facebook.com/YStreet/
www.instagram.com/ystreetriga/

Next Quiz

Next Quiz

Those who like to exercise their mental faculties are invited to the next “Kas, kur, kada?” quiz with Irina Slutsker as MC. Registration is required by sending an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt or by calling (+370) 678 81514 by next Wednesday, May 15. This time there is also a participation fee of 5 euros, which can be paid by bank transfer to the Lithuanian Jewish Community, account number LT 06 7044 0600 0575 7425 with the word “PROTMŪŠIS” indicated in the appropriate line. The quiz will be conducted in Lithuanian.

Time: 7:00 P.M., Friday, May 17
Place: Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

LJC Invites Holocaust Survivors and Veterans to Commemoration Ceremony

LJC Invites Holocaust Survivors and Veterans to Commemoration Ceremony

Last Wednesday Lithuanian Jewish Community programs director Žana Skudovičienė invited so-called was children, now senior citizens, to a commemoration and celebration of the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allies in 1945.

As in past years, the LJC invited Holocaust victims and our veterans to celebrate the end of the Holocaust in early May, on Victory Day, celebrated on May 8 and 9.

Participants lit candles in memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, the victims of Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 and in hope for the safe return of Hamas’s Israeli hostages.

Liba Britanishkina and Samuil Retznik, both now in their nineties but still extraordinarily active, and our centenarians Jewish partisan Fania Bratzovskaya and Aleksandr Asovski, were singled out for special attentions and presented gifts and flowers by LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky who visited them personally.

March of the Living in Šiauliai

March of the Living in Šiauliai

The Šiauliai Jewish Community and Lithuania’s International Commission for Assessing the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania held a March of the Living in Šiauliai last week. The procession included 55 Holocaust survivors from around the world including those who were attacked by Hamas in southern Israel on October 7, 2023.

Chagall, Ernst and Picasso Exhibit Opens in Vilnius

Chagall, Ernst and Picasso Exhibit Opens in Vilnius

The Museum of Applied Art and Design in Vilnius opened an exhibit of mainly tapestries based on the artists’ sketches and ceramic works by Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso on April 25. The exhibit will continue until September 30, 2024. The museum is located at Arsenalo street no. 3A in Vilnius.

Victory Day

Victory Day

May 8 and 9 are celebrated as Victory Day, marking the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany which came into effect at 12:01 A.M. on May 9, 1945, Lithuanian time.

Children’s Clubs on Weekends

Children’s Clubs on Weekends

Dear children, young adults and parents,

Meaningful and fun activities await you every weekend:

Knafaim Club for those aged 13 to 17 at 6:00 P.M. on Fridays;
Ilan Club for children 7-12 at 12:00 noon on Saturdays;
Dubi Club for children aged 3 to 6 at 12:00 noon on Sundays.

All clubs meet at the LJC in Vilnius. See you there!

Women’s Club to Meet Friday

Women’s Club to Meet Friday

The Women’s Club is meeting again this Friday, this time with a male cook in the kitchen. Viljamas Žitkauskas will demonstrate his special breakfast-making techniques with an emphasis on Israeli cuisine.

Registration is required by sending an email to zanas@lzb.lt or by calling (+370) 678 81514.

Time: 7:00 P.M., Friday, May 10
Place: Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

Dig Resumes at Shulhoyf

Dig Resumes at Shulhoyf

Archaeological digs have resumed at the Great Synagogue site in Vilnius this summer. With no local press coverage the team of archaeologists placed blinds around the eastern edge of what was a school and are excavating the fill used to protect the discovery of the bimah made several years ago. In past years South African Litvak Jon Seligman from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Hartford University and biblical archaeologist Richard Freund led the dig. Richard Freund passed away in 2022 at the age of 67.

Yom HaShoah Observed in Lithuania

Yom HaShoah Observed in Lithuania

While air-raid sirens blared in Israel to mark the Israeli Holocaust remembrance day Yom haShoah, in Lithuania a cantor performed kaddish for the dead. Beyond remembering the victims, the day also commemorates the Jewish heroes, the partisans who took up arms against the Nazis in World War II, as well as the prisoners of the ghettos who undertook spiritual resistance, creating literature, art, plays and music, in part laying the foundation for the future Jewish state. This commemorative day has never been more important and meaningful than it is today, where we see daily outbreaks of anti-Semitism around the world. Thank you to everyone who took part in our humble commemoration.

#IzraelioAmbasadaLietuvoje #JAVambasadaLietuvoje #NyderlandųKaralystėsAmbasada #PrancūzijosAmbasadaLietuvoje #VilniausŠolomoAleichemoORTgimnazija

Bar and Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies

Bar and Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies

Last week the Lithuanian Jewish Community held bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies for young adults from the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium under the tutelage of Rabbi Nathan Alfred who arrived from Geneva and Bnei Maskilim founder Viljamas Žitkauskas.

Sholem Aleichem principal Ruth Reches said during the ceremony: “Today’s ceremony is a crucially important step in the child’s life. It is crucial for us as a school to raise your children–although we call them ours sometimes–together, to unify our values, because we spend the most important part of children’s lives with them, the period when they come of age, become adults, from childhood through adolescence. We’ll only find out later how we did. So at school we are surrogate parents, and we love them so much and are so proud of them.

“Children, remember this moment, what you are like now, not just how well you’re dressed, but how spiritually exalted you are. Take this feeling and go with it for the rest of your lives. Whenever you’re tempted to wander from the path of truth, remember this moment, remember your parents and teachers and with what love they looked upon you, and then you’ll realize that behaving badly isn’t for you, it isn’t your level, because you are those we see today and want to see every day for the rest of your lives,” she said.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky congratulated participants as did Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein and the teachers in attendance.