Jewish Cuisine

Thank You for Helping LJC Seniors

Thank You for Helping LJC Seniors

Lithuanian Jewish Community administrative secretary Liuba Šerienė would like to send a big thank-you to Social Department director Michailas Segalas and staff members Ema Jakobienė, Ninel Skudovičiūtė, Rokas Dobrovolskis and Neringa Stankevičienė and colleagues, and to Michailas Tarasovas, Aušra, Snieguolė, Danutė Lena, Žana and Sonia for their great work helping our Social Department clients and senior citizens. Thank you so very much.

We Can’t Give Up Hope Now

We Can’t Give Up Hope Now

Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky. Photo: Blanka Weber

by Blanka Weber

The country’s Jewish community is watching the time of pandemic with alarm

Faina Kukliansky is currently managing her life and that of her members from her home office in Vilnius. “This is a time that demands everything from us,” the 65-year-old chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community says.

This is a time when preparations for Passover would be underway normally. The Bagel Shop next to the Community building on Pylimo street is now only open for a few hours and only accepts cards for payment. Cash is forbidden. There are strict rules here, too. Matzo will be distributed to Community members here and should be delivered in the next few days.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Prepares for Passover Despite Quarantine, Slander

Lithuanian Jewish Community Prepares for Passover Despite Quarantine, Slander

Three teams of volunteers have been busy daily delivering kosher matzo to LJC senior citizens and Social Center clients for several days now, but today the LJC received reports unnamed characters have been calling Community members telling them not to accept the matzo deliveries because the matzo bread is allegedly old. This isn’t true and it seems aimed at creating additional difficulties during an already difficult time for our seniors.

There are consequences for slander.

We would like to warn all Community members that during this health emergency there are scam artists and con men who might call your telephone spreading misinformation and seeking money from you. Please be careful and vigilant.

The LJC is not asking for any money or fees at this time from Social Center clients and seniors. The matzo boxes we are delivering bear the date of manufacture so you can check the freshness for yourself. We have made available an internet ordering scheme on this web page for those wishing to purchase matzo for home delivery with details for making prior payment exclusively by bank card.

Please note we received shipments of matzo in March and that we stored these boxes under strict quarantine. Your health and safety is our primary concern and we find it extremely regretful unnamed people are spreading disinformation about us and our activities.

Passover 5780

Passover 5780

This year we are recommending you spend Passover at home with family. We have prepared kits with everything needed for the traditional kosher seder which can be ordered by internet. Orders must be received before April 5.

The order form in Russian and Lithuanian is available here:
https://www.torah4lithuania.com/seder-to-go

Matzo Deliveries to LJC Seniors

Matzo Deliveries to LJC Seniors

Dear Community members,

The Social Programs Department of the Lithuanian Jewish Community has traditionally distributed matzo free of charge to our clients throughout Lithuania, usually coming to about 1,200 one-kilogram boxes of matzo. Our seniors are in the main risk group for corona virus infect, including about 300 are Holocaust survivors. The LJC has made deliveries of matzo to all the regional communities. These organizations are deciding on the method for distribution in their regions. We are doing all we can to insure this important symbol of Passover reach every seder table even in the most remote parts of Lithuania.

In Vilnius we have accepted the challenge of delivering a box of matzo to every Social Center client. That’s more than 900 boxes.

You might be able to help. If you’ve been in self-quarantine for 14 days with no symptoms, if you haven’t come in contact with large groups of people and haven’t recently travelled abroad, and want to help deliver matzo to seniors, fill out the volunteer form at https://forms.gle/ByKBXckyRZFhVzbCA

For more information contact Sofja by telephone at 8 672 57 540 or write sofja@lzb.lt

How to Get Matzo

How to Get Matzo

Dear Community members,

The Lithuanian Jewish Community wants to insure safe methods for acquiring matzo this year and suggests members order by internet for home delivery.

The cost is 6 euros for a one-kilogram box of matzo bread wafers and 4 euros for a 454-gram bag of matzo flour.

Delivery is being set up in Vilnius and orders will be accepted until April 2.

To order you need to have internet banking. Open your banking page and transfer money to the LJC bank account LT097044060000907953 for the number of boxes and bags you want. You must indicate on the money transfer form your name, surname, exact delivery address, a contact telephone number, an e-mail address and exactly which items you want in what amount.

Here’s an example of what to include:
John Smith, Obuolių g. 1-11, Vilnius, 8 123 45678, john@john.com, 3 packages of matzo, two packages of flour

A coordinator will contact you with delivery details for orders made and paid before April 2 and delivery is to take place by April 7. No cash will be accepted upon delivery. The LJC isn’t responsible if supplies run out, quarantine measures become stricter or purchasers fail to provide the information required.

For more information call 8 672 16 982 or write an e-mail to pesach2020@lzb.lt

Matzo Will Be Available from March 25 to April 3 at Bagel Shop Café

Matzo Will Be Available from March 25 to April 3 at Bagel Shop Café

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has set up a safe way to get matzo for Passover via the Bagel Shop Café. Payment will be by bank card exclusively. The cost for a 1-kilogram box is 5 euros, and for a 454-gram bag of matzo flour the price is 3 euros. Pick-ups can be made between the hours of 10:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. from March 25 to April 4, presumably excluding the Sabbath. Please call 8 685 06 900 for more information.

Matzo from Jerusalem Reaches LJC

Matzo from Jerusalem Reaches LJC

A shipment of matzo has reached the Lithuanian Jewish Community. This year as the country labors under health quarantine we will be delivering matzo to members in a safe manner, which we will announce soon. Stay tuned for more information.


Waiting for Passover to begin…

Happy Holidays, Žydelkos

Happy Holidays, Žydelkos

by Sergejus Kanovičius

Once, long ago, I attended a Lithuanian school. Back then there were two Jews, or more accurately, a Jewish boy and a Jewish girl. The boy was in the grade next to her. Dark-skinned speaking without an accent, the Jewish boy always got into fights when others reminded him he was different. Different and therefore not as good. No one tried to break it up. There were always observers. Later they called themselves pals because they didn’t get into fights with him. They didn’t defend him, but they didn’t beat him, either. It’s much safer to stand to the side and keep quiet. That’s been proven historically. The Jewish girl didn’t get into fist fights. She was shy and had curly hair. Whenever someone called her žydelka [Jew-girl], which is now for some reason considered an endearing diminutive term, she used to walk away, sometimes wiping a tear. When I used to hear these “terms of endearment,” unlike the majority of the žydelkos, I had to get into a fight again.

There have always been more apologists for epithets such as žydelka, žydo išpera [Jew-spawn] and others and they have always been stronger. But my family taught me one thing: never to retreat from abuse, to oppose it. I would be lying if I said I had ever been the victor in some fist fight. The combatants were always greater in number and I lost. No matter what, though, they got theirs. Of the many wonderful teachers there were only a few who didn’t give out beatings, they found a pseudo-intellectual way of telling the whole class that this one is different and therefore is worthy of less respect. This kind of intellectual pedagogical encouragement to hate. Like the mark for dictation, when because of one comma the dark kid used to get four [out of ten] with a minus. Just because. So I wouldn’t forget I was different.

Many years later as Lithuania counts her fourth decade of independence, no one dare beat me. Fists have become unpopular. They beat through words. Sometimes rather beautiful ones. The world is free. But it is painful the Lithuanian National Defense Ministry’s magazine Karys [Soldier] has published the lie of a pseudo-historian about the local leader of anti-Semitic ideology (who knows whether another NATO member who sometimes guards our airspace, if the French Defense Ministry would try to tell their soldiers what a great diplomat and patriot Pétain was). Or insistently try to prove “Jew-girl” is a term of endearment (happy International Women’s Day, žydelkos!). Frida Vismant of Šeduva recalls that’s what they called her on the streets in 1940. “You just wait, žydelka padalka, Hitler will come and we’ll show you!” (Out of endearment, I guess, they told her she was a žydelka in the Šiauliai ghetto after they took her firstborn Rachmielis and beat him to death along with 600 child žydelkos).

American Purim Party

American Purim Party

An American-style Purim party (American food) with the reading of the Book of Esther and a program for children including mini-golf will be held at the Vilnius Grand Resort Hotel formerly known as the Villon Hotel at 6:00 P.M. on Monday, March 9. There will be a bar for adults. Gifts will be given to everyone and of course there will be an impressive show for all. The cost is 10 euros in advance or 15 at the door. Students, adolescents and seniors get in for 5 euros. Children under 12 attend free. Tickets are available at the Choral Synagogue, Chabad House or by sending payment by bank transfer to “Jewish religious community Chabad” via the account no. LT3570440600013701339 (SEB Bankas). A bus will depart from the synagogue at 5:00 P.M. To register or to find out more, write rabbi@jewishlita.com or call 868508550.

Happy Birthday, Riva!

Happy Birthday, Riva!

Happy birthday to our top Bagel Shop chef Riva Portnaja! Thank you for the delicious treats you make and for preserving the Litvak culinary heritage.

We will always think of you as you are, beloved, friendly, with your sweet and comforting smile, exuding youth from the depths of your soul.

Thank You

Thank You

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.

Sukkot Celebration with Guests from America and Baked Gefilte Herring

Sukkot Celebration with Guests from America and Baked Gefilte Herring

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.

Children Invited to Sukkot Event

Children Invited to Sukkot Event

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 sofja@lzb.lt

From Rosh Hashanah to Sukkot Celebration

Celebrate “From Rosh Hashanah to Sukkot” at 6:00 P.M. on October 10 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community and come meet members of the LJC’s various programs, including the seniors’ Gesher Club, the Kaveret young families’ club, Israeli dance club Rikudei Am, the Students’ Club and students in the Hebrew courses.

Program: song, dance, traditional Jewish fall treats, an exhibit and sale of Jewish-themed work by Olga Kapustina and musicians and dancers of the Fayerlakh collective.

Registration required. Call 8 678 81514 or write zanas@sc.lzb.lt

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Celebrates Rosh Hashanah

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Celebrates Rosh Hashanah

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.

Rosh Hashanah at the Panevėžys Jewish Community

Rosh Hashanah at the Panevėžys 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

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)

The Lithuanian Jewish Community Wishes You a Happy and Sweet New Year

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.

Traditions of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year

Traditions of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year

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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