Holocaust

Columbia U Locks Jewish Professor Out

Columbia U Locks Jewish Professor Out

Outspoken Jewish professor barred from Columbia campus while administration turns blind eye to even bigger tent city springing up

New York, New York–A Columbia University professor who has been a vocal critic of the administration’s response to the ongoing anti-Israel student protests was barred from campus Monday after he tried to lead a pro-Jewish rally at the Ivy League college.

Israel-born Shai Davidai, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School and an outspoken supporter of the Jewish state, was told that his ID had been “deactivated,” even as a massive new tent city sprang up on the Morningside Heights campus with some 200 protesters–all of whom would have had to use their Columbia IDs to get in.

Davidai said he was locked out because he asked university staff at a meeting whether Hamas was a terrorist group or not. After deactivating his entrance card, security offered to escort the Jewish man to Columbia’s mathematics department, claiming they couldn’t insure his safety anywhere else on campus.

Story and pictures here.

Passover Greetings from Australian Opposition Leader

Passover Greetings from Australian Opposition Leader

Leader of the Liberal Party Peter Dutton sends Passover greetings to the Jewish community:

On behalf of the Coalition, my warmest wishes to Australia’s resilient Jewish community as you celebrate Passover.

A festival that acknowledges the importance of faith, fortitude and freedom, Passover is of profound significance for Jewish people around the world.

This year, the events of October 7–and the unprecedented level of anti-Semitism that has ensued–have cast a shadow over Passover celebrations.

The world must never forget what happened last year on that day of depravity. The monsters of Hamas acted with glee as they tormented their victims. They brutally murdered 1,200 people in what was the greatest loss of Jewish life on a single day since the Holocaust. And they vowed to repeat their savagery many times over until Israel is annihilated.

Plaque Commemorating Herman Perelstein to Be Unveiled in Kaunas

Plaque Commemorating Herman Perelstein to Be Unveiled in Kaunas

The Kaunas Jewish Community invites you to a ceremony to unveil a plaque commemorating Herman Perelstein this Wednesday.

Last year we celebrated the 100th birthday of the amazingly talented teacher and professor Herman Perelstein. His Ąžuoliukas boys and young men’s choir became and is a Lithuanian cultural phenomenon.

The plaque commemorating this Lithuanian musical legend was made by Gediminas Pašvenskas and will be located on the building where Perelstein lived, which now houses the Museum of the Amsterdam School, at Vytauto prospect no. 58 in Kaunas. The unveiling ceremony will include a performance by the Varpelis boys’ choir. Everyone is welcome.

Time: 12:00 noon, Wednesday, April 24
Place: Vytauto prospect no. 58, Kaunas

Condolences

We are sad to report the untimely death of Gediminas Kirkilas. Born in 1952, he was a politician, a social democrat, served as prime minister and was a true friend of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. At the heart of the government and in opposition he was instrumental in Lithuania’s efforts to address the enduring injustice of the Holocaust and in compensation payments for lost, destroyed and nationalized Jewish communal and religious property. Our deepest condolences to his many friends and family members.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Expresses Support for Israel under Attack by Terrorists

Lithuanian Jewish Community Expresses Support for Israel under Attack by Terrorists

The Lithuanian Jewish Community, an association of 32 organizations, staunchly condemns the unprecedented terrorist attack Saturday night by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its allies against the state of Israel, which was bombarded by hundreds of rockets and drones.

We express our support for our brothers and sisters in Israel and call upon the leaders of Lithuania to undertake initiatives to apply sanctions against Iran which spreads, supports and carries out in all possible ways the ideology of terrorism around the world.

“We cannot close our eyes when we see terrorism. This evil thousands of kilometers away from Lithuania has reached all our homes. We learned that fully following the October 7 attack by Hamas terrorists against Israel, after which anti-Semitism grew drastically around the world and in Lithuania as well. The past teaches us that apathy can be very expensive, at the cost of thousands and even millions of lives. Let’s not let the Holocaust happen again,” Lithuanian Jewish Community and attorney Faina Kukliansky said.

Taking into account the arising situation and the recommendations by world Jewish leaders, the Lithuanian Jewish Community has increased protection at secure locations and calls upon everyone to remain vigilant. Saturday’s events show that when we combine forces, we are able to resist even the most horrific attack by the enemy.

Evening Dedicated to the Legendary Fania Lewando

Evening Dedicated to the Legendary Fania Lewando

Fania Lewando was a legend of interwar Vilnius, an exceptional personality, an innovator, an excellent cook and an entrepreneur, inspiring thousands of fans even after her death.. An event organized by the Polish Institute and the Lithuanian Jewish Community and held last week was dedicated to her.

A detailed account based on years of research by Magdalena Maślak, a cultural historian and the curator of the Pauline Museum of Jewish History in Poland, painted a vivid portrait of the unusually strong personality of Fania Lewando, and Alessia di Donato, a chef from Rome, an expert in Ashkenazi and Sephardic cuisine, prepared risotto with white wine according to one of Lewando’s recipes and revealed all the intricacies of her vegetarian cuisine.

“I am often asked why I became interested in Fania Lewando’s recipes. In fact, I admire not only her dishes, but also her personality. She was an extraordinary woman, brave, active, full of ideas ahead of her time,” says the Italian, who has been living and working in Poland for ten years.

Culinary Evening

Culinary Evening

You’re invited to attend an evening of discussion, demonstration and sampling of the recipes of interwar vegetarian restaurant owner and cook Fania Lewando. Lewando operated a restaurant in Vilnius with a cult following in the period between the two world wars. Artists and the city elite frequented her establishment. Chef Alessia di Donato originally from Rome will provide samples of dishes made according to the recipes Lewando left us in her cook book. Cultural anthropologist Magdalena Maślak from Poland will also tell stories about Lewando.

Registration is required by sending an email to info@lzb.lt. Everyone is invited to attend.

Time: 5:00 P.M., Thursday, April 11
Place: Bagel Shop Café, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius

Makabi Shooting Comp

Makabi Shooting Comp

The Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club will hold a pistol shooting competition at the GSKA shooting range in Vilnius this Sunday.

Each competitor gets fifteen rounds with the first five shots as trial shots. The shooter’s score will consist of two scores: trial shots and those which are supposed to count. Although there isn’t any strict allotment of time for each participant, in order to use our time at the shooting range wisely we’ll ask each shooter to spend not more than 3 and a half minutes on the trial shoots and 10 minutes on official shots.

Registration is required by April 12 by sending an email to info.maccabilt@gmail.com. The cost per participant is 23 euros, of which the participant pays 11 euros with Makabi subsidizing the remaining 12 euros.

Time: 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M., Sunday, April 14
Place: GSKA shooting range, Mindaugo street no. 43, Vilnius. Entrance from Punsko street.

International Romani Day

International Romani Day

March 8 is International Romani Day. According to wikipedia:

“The International Romani Day (April 8) is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. The day was officially declared in 1990 in Serock, Poland, the site of the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union (IRU), in honour of the first major international meeting of Romani representatives, 7–12 April 1971 in Chelsfield near London.”

It is believed the Romani arrived from Poland in the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, including present-day Belarus, in the late 15th or early 16th century. They are officially recognized as one of Lithuania’s historical ethnic minorities. They were also targeted for extermination as an undesirable ethnic group by the Nazis.

Remembering the Kinder Aktion in the Kaunas Ghetto

Remembering the Kinder Aktion in the Kaunas Ghetto

Wednesday evening the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Aktion in the Kaunas ghetto was marked in the Slobodka neighborhood of Kaunas where the ghetto gates once stood. Around 1,700 children and elderly were rounded up and murdered.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said the records for prisoners in the Kaunas ghetto had been lost and it wasn’t known exactly how many people were imprisoned there and murdered.

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas recalled some children were smuggled out of the ghetto in bags of potatoes.

Tenth Yortsayt for Simon Alperovitch

Tenth Yortsayt for Simon Alperovitch

This week will mark the tenth anniversary of the death of long-serving chairman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community Simon Alperovitch. Come pay your respects, share your memories and take a look at the documentary film “Aš kažkaip laimingas žmogus” [Somehow I’m a Happy Man] made by Junona Berznicki and Gintarė Zakarauskaitė.

Time: 1:00 P.M., Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Place: Third floor, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

For more information, contact Žana at (+370) 678 81514 or zanas@sc.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.

Discussion: Why Are Lithuanians Ashamed of Righteous Gentiles?

Discussion: Why Are Lithuanians Ashamed of Righteous Gentiles?

The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai discussion club will hold a discussion on the unusual topic “Why are Lithuanians ashamed of their Righteous Gentiles?” at 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 21.

This is a question which Lithuanian politicians, public figures, media and the Church have been avoiding for 33 years now. While the LJC has been calling for years for monuments to commemorate rescuers of Jews at appropriate locations in Vilnius, there has been little or no support for this from outside the Community. Will this ever change?

The discussion will touch upon another topic as well: what went into forming the morality of those who chose to rescue Jews from the Holocaust? After all, most Lithuanians remained passive observers.

Participants include historian Egidijus Aleksandravičius, historian and former minister of culture Darius Kuolys and LJC chairwman Faina Kukliansky. Arkadijus Vinokuras will moderate.

Time: 5:00 P.M., Thursday, March 21
Place: Bagel Shop Café, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius

The discussion will be streamed live via facebook: https://shorturl.at/cnzS3

Condolences

Dmitrijus Zaičikas passed away March 16. He was born in 1928. He was a member of the Community and a client of the Saul Kagan Welfare Center. We extend our deepest condolences to his widow and children.

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

Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews Commemoration at Vilnius Jewish Public Library

Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews Commemoration at Vilnius Jewish Public Library

The Vilnius Jerusalem of Lithuania Jewish Community and the Vilnius Jewish Public Library will hold a discussion on those who rescued Jews from the Holocaust, and what would happen if the Holocaust were repeated. The discussion happens at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 19, at the Vilnius Jewish Public Library at Gedimino prospect no. 24 in Vilnius. The discussion is intended to mark March 15, the Day of Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews, included on the official state calendar of commemorative days in 2022.

Condolences

We are deeply saddened to report the death of Rimas Timunas. He was born in 1952. A renowned theater director, he staged Grigoriy Kanovitch’s “Nusišypsok mums, Viešpatie” and popularized Litvak culture on the Lithuanian and world stage. He passed away in Italy from lung cancer.

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman

Photo: Deborah Feldman by D. Umbrasas/LRT

Lithuanian State Radio and Television has featured another Jewish author who appeared at the Vilnius Book Fair last month, Deborah Feldman, author of “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” under the headline “Author of Bestseller ‘Unorthodox’ with Litvak Roots: My Grandmother Is the Only Reason I’m Not Crazy” [Lietuviškų šaknų turinti bestselerio „Neortodoksiška“ autorė: močiutė – vienintelė priežastis, kodėl neišprotėjau].

Feldman recounts trying to sell her book to a publisher, and their response that it was a Jewish story, and why would it be interesting to non-Jews?

The American-born German author grew up in the close-knit Hassidic community of Satmar in Brooklyn, New York. She travelled to Lithuania to launch the Lithuanian translation of “Exodus, Revisisted,” the sequel to “Unorthodox,” at the Vilnius Book Fair. The Lithuanian translation was published by the Baltas Publishing House.

The New York Times bestseller “Unorthodox” tells the story of a young Jewish woman who extracts herself from an ultra-conservative community and has attracted readers around the world. It was made into a Netflix mini-series of the same name and was nominated for 8 Emmy awards.

Full article in Lithuanian here.