Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman wants to thank Bagel Shop Café director Dovilė Rūkaitė and senior cook Riva Portnaja for their wonderful idea to hold a Litvak culinary luncheon with a delegation from the Taube Jewish Heritage Tours with partial support from the Ethnic Minorities Department, and for their tireless enthusiasm in promoting and passing on the Litvak Jewish culinary heritage. Thank you to Taube delegation leader and Ashkenazi cooking expert Jeffrey Yoskowitz and to all the volunteers and guests who made this event so much fun. It was good to sit down together at a shared table and it was very delicious.
It’s long been the tradition during SUkkot to set up a booth, invite guests and treat them to various family recipes. While they say there is no traditional Sukkot dish, it does seem to be characteristic to make things which are stuffed and rolled, like the Torah scroll. Stuffed cabbage and filled pancakes are popular.
Ashkenazi cooking expert Jeffrey Yoskowitz visited the Lithuanian Jewish Community on the first day of Sukkot and made select dishes from the Litvak culinary legacy. Guests–loves of Litvak cooking–joined in and for every dish there were multiple stories and recollections from childhood. There was even a dispute on the correct form cut carrots should take.
Jeffrey Yoskowitz is leading a Taube Jewish Heritage Tours tour currently in Lithuania. He and Dovilė from the Bagel Shop Café had a long discussion on which dishes to include in cooking workshops. In the end they arrived at the solution of Litvak exceptionalism: to select the dishes which Polish Jews don’t make and which are unknown to the American Jewish community.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Ilan and Dubi Clubs invite children to a fun gathering at 1:00 P.M. on October 13 called “From Rosh Hashanah to Sukkot.” We’ll “dwell” in the Sukkot booth and have traditional Jewish snacks and treats. Lego engineering teachers will be on hand for building and playing. Come to the Ilan Club at the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Registration is required, so call 8 601 46656 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Rosh Hashanah 5780 at the Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street no. 39, Vilnius:
Sunday, September 29
6:00 P.M. Minkha/Maariv, prayers, Kiddush/pastry table
Monday, September 30
9:30 A.M. Shakharit (morning prayer)
12:00 noon Blowing of the shofar horn. Special souvenir for participants and new 5780 Jewish calendar
12:30 P.M. Musaf (prayer)
5:00 P.M. Tashlikh (prayer at the river, Bokšto street no. 19, Vilnius)
6:00 P.M. Rosh Hashanah celebration: blowing of shofarhorn, presentation of new Jewish calendar, treats, special Rosh Hashanah souvenir
7:51 P.M. Maariv prayer
Tuesday, October 1
9:30 A.M. Shakharit
12:00 noon Blowing of shofar
6:30 P.M. Blowing of shofar horn (at Bokšto street no. 19 with entrance from Kazimiero street no. 12)
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.
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
A lesson on how to bake traditional challa bread will be held at 3:00 P.M. on September 15 at the Šeduva Crafts and Culture Center located at Vilniaus street no. 1 in Šeduva. Chefs from the Bagel Shop Café will share the secrets of traditional Litvak holiday customs and cuisine.
VILNIUS, September 1, BNS–Events were held to celebrate European Day of Jewish Culture in Vilnius on the first Sunday in September. Tours of the Lithuanian capital, lectures and authentic Jewish cuisine were offered to the public.
The events program included Jewish music in the Vilnius Old Town–the old Jewish Quarter–and restaurants offering authentic Jewish foods.
“Jewish cuisine is an inalienable part of Jewish culture, Jewish tradition and Jewish heritage. Jewish cuisine is a prerequisite part of any Jewish holiday,” Lithuanian Jewish Community projects director Dovilė Rūkaitė told BNS.
Full story in Lithuanian here.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community celebrated the 20th European Day of Jewish Culture in the traditional Jewish Quarter of Vilnius September 1 with song, dance and food. The weather was beautiful. Restaurants in the Vilnius Old Town feature Jewish foods with traditional breakfast served at the Bagel Shop Café, restaurants and cafés on Žydų and Stiklių streets and other locations. DJs RafRaf, Akvilina and Marius Šmitas provided dance music with a 10-hour musical program at the Amadeus Bar.
LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky greeted celebrants and Vidmantas Bezaras, director of the Cultural Heritage Deparment, and Vida Montvydaitė, director of the Department of Ethnic Minorities, also spoke, noting there is no town or village in Lithuania without some sign of a Jewish presence. Vida Montvydaitė said this isn’t just Jewish heritage, it’s Lithuania’s legacy, and protecting it is becoming ever more important.
The writer Kristina Sabaliauskaitė spoke about her childhood memories of the Jews who still lived in central Vilnius then and with whom she made lasting friendships. She says interpersonal relationships are still one of the most important things in life to her.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you to come celebrate the 20th annual European Day of Jewish Culture, “Sabbath in the Jewish Quarter,” in the Vilnius Old Town on September 1.
World-renowned writer Chaim Grade called the Vilnius Old Town the Jewish Quarter ca. 1930, and wrote: “Long Fridays of Summer. The housewives go to the bakery to shop for Saturday: they buy dry bagels, dark cookies and pastries with poppy seeds, small little cakes with powdered sugar…” (from his Der shtumer minyen, or Silent Minyan).
On Sunday, September 1, restaurants and cafés located in the Vilnius Jewish Quarter will present a menu of Jewish dishes, Jewish music will play and there will be lectures and tours. LJC chairman Faina Kukliansky will open ceremonies with a welcome speech at 12 noon. Saulius Pilinkus will MC and new Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Yossi Avni Levy, Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Department head Vidmantas Bezaras and Lithuanian Ethnic Minorities Department director Vida Montvydaitė will also welcome participants.
Sabbath in the Jewish Quarter, a lost tradition where every Friday evening the Jewish family sat down at the dinner table together, lit the candles, prayed and broke bread, followed by a day of rest on Saturday, and the beginning of the new week on Sunday.
Let’s rediscover the ferment, history, tastes, smells and melodies of the Jewish Quarter on the European Day of Jewish Culture.
Bagel Shop Café cooks have been sharing some of the secrets of Litvak cooking this summer with the managers of a small restaurant in Merkinė, Lithuania, called Šilo kopa. They’ve been making bagels, herring and pflaumen-tzimmes together.
Pflaumen-tzimmes is a stew made of plums and beef often made for the Sabbath table and Rosh Hashanah.
Bagel Shop Café cook Riva remembers this dish well and still makes it according to a simple recipe: about 1.5 kilograms of beef (from the forequarter), bone, about 15 to 20 plums, about 1.5 kg of potatoes and 1 onion, which is later removed. Laurel leaves aren’t required, only salt. The flavor is enhanced by several tablespoons of caramelized sugar added at the end.
The beef is boiled with the onion for about 2 hours, the onion is removed, the plums are added for about an hour and later the potatoes. When everything has been boiled sufficiently, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of liquefied caramelized sugar.
We celebrate the holiday of Shavuot on June 9 and 10. June 8 is the eve before the holiday, and the entire night is dedicated to studying the Oral and Written Torah. The Torah is read out on this night.
Shavuot is an old holiday of pilgrimage and its rituals add cohesion to the community. During the holiday, a series of milk and cheese dishes are prepared and sampled. The king among them is the classic cheese pie. In Lithuania as in other European Jewish communities pancakes with cheese are popular. During the holiday in Israel, smaller cheese makers open their doors to visitors. Shavuot tourists are also invited to attend the Northern Cheese Pie Festival held now for its third year and children are taught how to milk cows and how to make butter from fresh milk.
This Sunday the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius will celebrate with treats made by Shoshana, a mashgiach who came especially from Israel to cook for the Bagel Shop Café this year.
The Bagel Shop Café recommends making Shavuot breakfast from the best challa with cream cheese and berries.
Shavuot or Shavuos is the holiday marking the giving of the Torah. The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community and Chabad Lithuania invite you to come celebrate together at 11:30 A.M. on Sunday, June 9, at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius. We will read the Ten Commandments and everyone will have the opportunity to sample delicious traditional Shavuot milk-product dishes. Children will receive small gifts. Because Shavuot is a time when studying the Torah is especially apt, traditional and successful, you are invited to an extended Sabbath dinner at Bokšto street no. 9 in Vilnius at 8:30 on June 8 where we will learn more about the Shavuot holiday.
For the first time ever the Lithuanian Jewish Community hosted a party to watch the Eurovision song contest on beanbags in the auditorium on the third floor. Attendees included LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Goodwill Foundation director Indrė Rutkauskaitė, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon, veteran Lithuanian gay-rights activist Vladimiras Simonko, LJC projects director Dovilė Rūkaitė, Bagel Shop Café top chef Riva Portnaya and others.
Ambassador Maimon spoke, recalling earlier Eurovision events, and lamented he wouldn’t be able to vote for Israel or Lithuania this time. He relayed he had just spoken by telephone with Lithuanian contestant Jurijus Veklenko in Tel Aviv and said the Lithuanian singer was very positive about his upcoming performance.
Faina Kukliansky said it would be a sad world if we were all the same and praised the mixed crowd at the viewing party, which included senior citizens, young Lithuanians and guests from abroad.
The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community celebrated the spring holiday of liberation, Purim, with masks, games, good talk, good music, good food, coffee and hamentashen.