Have you visited what we’re calling Cvi Park, on Petras Cirkva Square in Vilnius? Come enjoy the company and authentic Israeli street food, and watch how they dance to bachata music on hot July evenings.
Lithuania is seeking to sell high-quality products to Israel, according to a press release from Lithuania’s Agricultural Ministry.
The rural business and market expansion agency Litfood and the Lithuanian embassy to Israel held a virtual business meeting so Lithuania’s food-processing enterprises could present their products to Israeli businesspeople.
Deputy ag minister Paulius Lukševičius said the food industry has unused opportunities for export to Israel. Last year Lithuanian agriculture and food exports to Israel hit 45 million euros. Compared to 2019, it grew 50 percent. Israel occupies 28 on Lithuania’s list of 155 major export partners.
Mainly Lithuania sends wheat to Israel as well as cheese, curds, wheatgerm, ice cream and canned vegetables.
“That’s certainly not the complete assortment of products which Lithuania can offer the Israeli market. We can do much much more,” Lukševičius said.
An Israeli street food kiosk called “Tzvi in the Park” opened on July 2 in the Petras Cvirka Square park across the street from the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. The food booth is offering humous, carrots with anise, chicken shwarma and other traditional foods with pita bread, with ingredients to order by the customer. The menu is planned to expand over time. While the food kiosk is the initiative of the culinary masterminds at the Bagel Shop Café across Pylimo street, the food booth will offer different dishes and hopes to inspire people to linger and talk.
“When we set up the Bagel Shop, we wanted to offer people delicious food, but also to offer them a way to have a good time, to hang around and talk about different things, even such sensitive and important topics as tolerance, human equality and so on. So this summer we want to create a space for city residents and visitors where they can spend some time in the green space of the park and learn about Israeli culinary culture,” LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky commented.
While the Bagel Shop offers more traditional Litvak fare, the food kiosk will present characteristically Mediterranean food, the new director of the Bagel Shop and of the Israeli food kiosk Aistė Košienė said. She said Israeli street food has distinct characteristics, but the main features are that it’s healthy and of good quality.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Bagel Shop Café are pleased to announce a kiosk serving authentic Israeli street fare will operate in the center of the park across the street from the LJC and café in central Vilnius, next to the Petras Cvirka statue. The plan is for it to keep serving the public until autumn. Stay tuned for more information.
Members of the Choral Synagogue minyan were treated to a breakfast made by the Bagel Shop Café at the Lithuanian Jewish Community with LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky in attendance on the first day of calendar summer, June 1.
The Bagel Shop Café will repoen at 11:30 A.M. on April 29 for coffee and lunch as a sidewalk café. We have a new coffee blend served as espresso and drip and a new menu. so come check it out.
We invited readers to participate in the traditional Purim carnival mask and costume contest by dressing up and sending in photographs, as well as drawings and photographs of home-made hamentaschen and recipes for such. We are pleased to announce that after long consideration of many more entries than anticipated we have finally narrowed the field down to a list of winning entries.
And the winners are…
Lilia Dulkė, in the category of best costume among grown-ups;
Mark Svešnikov, best costume for children;
Viljamas and Aleksandra Žitkauskai, best family costumes;
Marija Jurkevičiūtė, best mask;
Consolation prize for youngest contestant goes to…. Adam Segal!
And prizes go to Ronas, Lara and Glorija Rozovskiai for sending in the most photographs with different costumes!
We would like to thank all who participated and wish those who didn’t win this year greater success next Purim.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community is inviting the public to take a virtual tour of the only synagogue operating in Vilnius according to all Jewish laws, the Choral Synagogue. The virtual guided tour will demonstrate the synagogue itself and also offers tourists the chance to learn about Jewish cultural and culinary traditions and the High Holy Days.
The virtual tour covers the synagogue’s interior, the mikva, the kosher kitchen and the only surviving matzo-making machine in Lithuania, as well as Jewish religion, philosophy, traditional holidays, lifestyles and Jewish sacred songs. Virtual lessons are available in the kosher kitchen for those wanting to learn about the Jewish culinary tradition. Over six millennia strict traditions have developed for religious and secular holidays for making certain foods for specific holidays, for example, only round loaves of challa are baked and fish heads prepared for the Rosh Hashanah table, doughnuts and potato pancakes are fried for Hanukkah and hamantaschen, pastries filled with poppy seeds, are made for Purim.
Around 10,000 tourists visit the Choral Synagogue annually, many of them the Litvak descendants of Holocaust survivors living in diaspora around the world, and also local residents, students, and social partners in the field of culture and tourism in Lithuania and abroad. Visiting the synagogue is being restricted because of the corona virus, so a virtual tour has been set up for Lithuanians and for Litvaks living abroad who are able to visit at least virtually the synagogue of their parents’ youth or adolescence.
Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said the virtual introduction to Jewish culture and tradition strengthens the multicultural expression of the city community and popularizes Jewish cultural heritage.
The Lithuanian Cultural Council is financing the project called “Choral Synagogue of Vilnius: Prayer, Kitchen, Mikva.”
Gennady Kofman, chairman, Panevėžys Jewish Community:
Happy Passover, one of the most important holidays on the Jewish religious calendar.
Passover holiday greetings to all. We wish you a happy time talking with your families.
This is the evening of sacrifice which took place before God led the Israelites out of Egypt. During Passover we eat unleavened bread, matzo. The first, second and last evening are marked with a large dinner with strict traditions: the head of family reads a passage from the Book of Exodus, prayers and a collection of liturgical hymns. A hand-washing ceremony is performed before eating. Before the end of the holiday meal a beautiful cup with grape juice is placed and the door is left open, and this is called “Elijah’s cup.”
Passover, the most important Jewish holiday which lasts for eight days, begins on March 27 this year. The date for celebrating Passover is set by the lunar calendar: the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The name of the holy day comes from “pesakh,” meaning passed over, recalling the story of the Angel of Death which passed over the Israelites before Moses led the slaves out of Egypt.
“The symbolic meaning of this holiday is that it wasn’t separate Jewish families which came out of Egypt, but a single, united Jewish people. The Jewish people throw off the yoke of slavery and leave in order to reach the Promised Land, and there create their nation,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky explained.
Passover Traditions over the Millennia
Keeper of Jewish cultural and religious traditions Natalija Cheifec said although the exodus from Egypt occurred more than 3,300 years ago, Passover traditions have remained almost unchanged over the many centuries. The main feature of the eight-day holiday is the seder dinner when the Hagada is read out, prayers are made and people sit at the seder table and eat from the seder plate, or ke’are.
The Bagel Shop Café is offering prepared Passover seder meal kits this year. One package costing 45 euros serves two but contains enough to share with children as well. Orders will be accepted until March 24. To order, go to the internet form in Lithuanian at http://bit.ly/Pesach_užsakymai
The Bagel Shop Café at the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius is offering Passover matzo for sale from March 15 to March 26. The café will operate from 10 A.M. till 3:00 P.M. from Monday to Friday. A one-kilogram box of matzo costs 5 euros and payment may only be made using a bank card.
This year again the Lithuanian Jewish Community is asking members to order matzo via internet with home delivery. The cost for one one-kilogram box of matzo is six euros. The LJC is partially subsidizing delivery costs. This is only being offered in Vilnius for the time being and orders will be taken till March 25.
How to Order and Pay
1. Fill out the form at https://forms.gle/wRSoZ1Sf4kvVPxFj7
2. Open your internet banking profile.
3. Transfer funds to the Lithuanian Jewish Community at account number LT09 7044 0600 0090 7953 to the amount of matzo you wish to purchase.
You must indicate in the payment field the information we need to deliver the matzo to you, namely, your name and surname, exact postal address, telephone number, email address and the exact number of boxes you are ordering.
Photo: Valdas Rakutis
The gas chamber was a “very humane” method for exterminating Jews in the Holocaust. Conservative member of the Lithuanian parliament Valdas Rakutis issued this and similar statements in writing in academic discussions two decades ago, the Lithuanian newspaper Lietuvos rytas reports.
Does the MP, who just recently resigned his chairmanship of a parliamentary commission because of controversial and scandalous statements about the Holocaust, think differently now? Even though he resigned, he said he hadn’t said anything wrong and hadn’t wanted to, and was forced to remove himself by the party leadership.
Rakutis, a qualified historian who actually still is at least formally the chairman of the parliament’s Commission on Battles for Freedom and State Historical Memory, hasn’t renounced these opinions expressed earlier. He said Jews were murdered in the gas chambers with less physical suffering than when they were tortured and shot to death, so his statement was correct. He qualifies this by saying this is true if you could compare things “in whole.”
Special Lesson for Soldiers
Rakutis made this shocking statement in his own writing when he was a teacher at the General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy teaching young Lithuanian soldiers. That was back in 2000 and 2001 when the academy and society beyond was involved in heated and impassioned discussions on whether to include a lesson about the Holocaust in its educational curriculum for soldiers.
Photo: Tarbut Gymnasium students in Pabradė prepared for the Purimspiel, March 3, 1939. Courtesy YIVO.
Purim starts February 25 this year. Purim is the happiest of Jewish holidays dedicated to remembering the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people from destruction. Traditionally the triangular pastry Hamatasch are eaten on this day and the Lithuanian Jewish Community will share them with the leaders of the state this year as well.
“The essence of Purim is to celebrate life in all its fullness. This is a happy holiday, on this day you need to eat deliciously and much, especially the traditional hamantaschen pastry. This traditional treat reminds us that the plans of evildoers often turns back upon them, while wise rulers always receive the help to make the right decisions. We will also be sending hamantaschen pastry to the leaders of the country, wishing them to make wise decisions beneficial to the people,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said.
Vilnius Jewish Religious Community director Simas Levinas recalls the Purim story which reaches back into biblical times when the Jewish people were exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. Although the king married the Jewish beauty Esther, the magnates and bureaucrats of Babylon really hated the Jews in their country, who weren’t there by their own choice. The vizier Haman came up with a plan to exterminate all Jews and cast lots (פור) to discover an auspicious time for this.
The entire Jewish people celebrate the happy spring Purim holiday. Although the times are not amenable to personal meetings and celebrations together, Jews do not give up to despair. As Esther revealed evil schemes and save the Jewish people from destruction and slavery, so will the Purim holiday lighten the mood and bring joy to every home.
The Panevėžys Jewish Community has prepared holiday Purim food parcels for our members and gifts for the children which will be distributed as will the holiday spirit.
The hamentaschen are done and gifts have been prepared for every community member.