Jewish Cuisine

Lithuanian Radio and Television Reports on Hanukkah in Lithuania

Lithuanian Radio and Television Reports on Hanukkah in Lithuania

Lithuanian state radio and television reported the beginning of Hanukkah at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius Sunday. On Monday, the first Hanukkah light was lit, according to LRT, by speaker of parliament Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.

“As we light the Hanukkah candles every year, the Jewish community sends out a message of light and friendship to all of the Lithuanian ethnic communities and to the Jewish communities around the world. We want to remind people that we can only overcome the greatest challenges by being and working together, by communicating and trying to understand one another, to light the light of knowledge, understanding and tolerance. We can all be part of the light,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said.

It’s customary for people to come together, have fun and share traditional Hanukkah treats such as doughnuts and latkes over all eight days of the Hanukkah holiday. Children receive traditional gifts. Faina Kukliansky recalls Litvaks traditionally ate their Hanukkah latkes with cranberry sauce.

Community Hanukkah Events

Community Hanukkah Events

In addition to all the other events already announced, the Lithuanian Jewish Community is offering a walking tour of Jewish Vilna with guide Viljamas Žitkauskas and an Israeli dance marathon with Rikudim.

The tour begins at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, December 17, meeting at the bell tower at the Arch-Cathedral in Vilnius. Program: Tour, avdala ceremony, dinner at the Bagel Shop Café, performance by the children’s section of the Fayerlakh Jewish song and dance ensemble. Registration required. Send an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt or call +37067881514 on weekdays between 10:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.

The Rikudim Israeli dance marathon will be held in the Jascha Heifetz Hall at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, December 18. To register send an email to Julija at Juliradv@gmail.com.

Family Sabbath

Family Sabbath

You and your family are invited to a Sabbath celebration under the tenets of progressive Judaism in the run-up to Hanukkah, the holiday of light and miracles, at 6:30 P.M. on Friday, December 16. The prayer service will be held on the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius followed by kiddush at 8:30 P.M. at the Bagel Shop Café at the same address. The Sabbath ceremony and Sabbath dinner will be followed by a Hanukkah surprise. To register, write viljamas@lzb.lt or call +37067250699.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Celebrates World Shabbos

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Celebrates World Shabbos

Millions of Jews around the world baked challa, blessed the bread and wine and sat at the Sabbath table with family members and friends, singing the Sabbath hymns last Friday as part of the Global Shabbos project. Members of the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community joined the project and were happy to host a guest from Germany, a former resident of Šiauliai, Lörrach community chairwoman Hanna Scheinker-Stark. Snapshots below.

LJC Celebrates Tolerance Day with Darna Event

LJC Celebrates Tolerance Day with Darna Event

The first Darna event was held in 2020 during the corona virus panic. Despite many restrictions that time we were able to do more than we had expected, creating an entire virtual festival to mark the International Day of Tolerance. We tried to show during that tough time what diverse and interesting things we have right here in Lithuania, and how these differences are not only interesting, but complement one another perfectly. Today we are very happy to announce we can continue this event for its third year in a row, only this time we can meet face-to-face at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. Everyone of all religious, ethnic and other backgrounds and of all views is invited to come have a cup of tea or coffee, listen to live music and sample Israeli street food from our Cvi Park kiosk starting at 7:00 P.M. on Wednesday, November 16, at the LJC. Note: please disregard earlier announcements which stated the event would be held at the Choral Synagogue. It will be held on the third floor of the LJC at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius.

The event program is available here. Musical performers, cooking workshops and meaningful conversations from the first Darna festival can be found here. More information about this iteration of the celebration can be found here.

#InternationalDayOfTolerance

Global Sabbath and Challa Bake-Off at the Bagel Shop

Global Sabbath and Challa Bake-Off at the Bagel Shop

The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites you and your family to come back challa and celebrate the Sabbath in the Shabbos Project’s Global Challa Bake-Off at the Bagel Shop Café in Vilnius from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. on Friday, November 11.

Every fall millions of Jews around the world come together in an extraordinarily moving activity, baking challa, blessing the wine and bread, singing the Sabbath hymns, celebrating the Sabbath together with friends and family and lighting the havdalah candle.

Senior Bagel Shop Café chef Riva Portnaja and other Community members will share their families’ traditions celebrating the Sabbath. You are invited to come make challa together, to take the loaves home, to invite our more isolated members to come as well and to bless the loaves and the wine together with the entire world Jewish community as we enter into the blessed rest of the Sabbath. The event is free and open to the public.

Sukkot Begins Next Week

Sukkot Begins Next Week

Sukkot, or Sukkos in Ashkenazic, begins at 6:17 P.M. this Sunday, October 9.

The Festival of Sukkot–literally meaning booths, tents, tabernacles–is celebrated for seven days in Israel and eight days in the Diaspora, starting on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It is one of the three festivals during which Jewish men were required to make pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the times of the Holy Temple.

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Ushers In Rosh Hashanah with Musical

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community Ushers In Rosh Hashanah with Musical

Members of the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community and the general public ushered in the Jewish new year last week with a musical/dramatized concert called “About Her and about Us” at the Šiauliai chamber concert hall, a project of the Šalom, Akmene! initiative dedicated to the memory of Nechama Lifshitz and performed by young students from Akmenė and Joniškis regional art schools and by opera singer Rafailas Karpis. The concert was followed by a buffet.

Kabalat Shabat on September 30

Kabalat Shabat on September 30

A Kabalat Shabat ceremony and dinner according to the tenets of progressive Judaism will be held at 6:30 P.M. on September 30 with the main ceremony the third floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius and kiddush downstairs at the Bagel Shop Café. The price is 10 euros, children and minors 16 and under are free. For more information and to register, contact Viljamas by writing viljamas@lzb.lt or call +370 672 50699.

Recent Workshops and Events

Recent Workshops and Events

We are pleased to share some snapshots from the dance class held on the last Sabbath of summer at the Cvirka Park space next to our Israeli street food kiosk. Julia Patašnik led the dance group. Also, we have snapshots from the gefilte fish workshop and the opening of seniors’ club Abi Men Zit Zich’s 25th season.

Snapshots from European Days of Jewish Culture Events in Vilnius

Snapshots from European Days of Jewish Culture Events in Vilnius

Our annual series of events to mark the European Days of Jewish Culture saw a good turnout all day Sunday, which turned out to be sunny but framed by clouds. There was cantorial song at synagogue, a tour of Jewish Vilna, a panel discussion on echoes of Jewish culture in modern Lithuania’s cultural scene, we baked challa and slowly cooked the legendary floimen tsimes and there was singing, playing and dancing for all. For some snapshots from different events, concerts, workshops and lectures, see below.

Lost Shtetl Museum Takes Part in Blue Family Picnic in Šeduva

Lost Shtetl Museum Takes Part in Blue Family Picnic in Šeduva

On the last weekend of summer we participated in the Blue Family Picnic which has been held in the Šeduva city park for seven years now. The Blue Family Picnic is intended to strengthen community, reduce social inequality and carry on family traditions.

We came up with all sorts of activities for attendees, including recognizing Jewish religious regalia, teaching them to write their names in Hebrew, a puzzle made up of period photographs of the town/shtetl, how to make traditional Sabbath challa and how to set the Sabbath table. Younger attendees made models of the shtetl, learned how to arrange food items on the plate for Passover seder and spun and taught other children to spin the dreidl. We treated everyone to traditional Litvak dishes as well.

So many friendly and eager to learn families came to the picnic. We wanted to share with them in a fun way the culture and traditions of the Jewish community of Šeduva and to remind them of the town’s not-so-distant past, the shtetl of Šeduva where Jews and Lithuanians lived peacefully together. Two special guests attended, two women from Šeduva for whom the shtetl isn’t lost in the mists of time. They spent their childhoods in the shtetl and have shared their memories with us numerous times.

European Days of Jewish Culture in Vilnius

European Days of Jewish Culture in Vilnius

This year will be the seventh the Lithuanian Jewish Community is holding events for the European Days of Jewish Culture. This year’s theme is renewal.

Renewal is woven into almost all aspects of Jewish life. Jewish life is continually building on the past in new ways, bringing a sense of constant change along with a reassuring sense of continuity. The Jewish New Year opens with the festivals of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. These holy days through their traditions and prayers present an opportunity to reflect on and acknowledge our past actions while looking ahead with new resolutions, optimism and determination. During this period we reconcile personal and communal differences within ourselves and with others as we actively strive to renew our aspirations for the coming year, and beyond.

We invite you to attend the events, all of which are free and open to the public.

Register here, space is limited.

Program:

In Petras Cvirka’s Place, Falafel

In Petras Cvirka’s Place, Falafel

The web-based Vilnius city guide 1323.lt (1323 is the nominal year of the founding of Vilnius) has reviewed the Cvi in the Park Israeli street food kiosk organized this year and last in the park across the street from the Lithuanian Jewish Community headquarters in Vilnius.

Their review is titled “In Petras Cvirka’s Place, Falafel,” a reference to the name of the park still used by almost all Vilnius residents despite the municipality’s decision a few months back to remove its trademark statue to Soviet-era Lithuanian poet Petras Cvirka.

“For the second season now the Cvi Parkas Jewish street food kiosk had been luring passers-by to have a snack (and not only that). It debuted last year when the statue to Petras Cvirka, which caused so much discussion, still stood by.

Free Tango Lessons at Israeli Street Food Kiosk

Free Tango Lessons at Israeli Street Food Kiosk

The Cvi in the Park Israeli street food kiosk is hosting free tango dancing lessons open to everyone at the park across the street from the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius at 7:00 P.M. on July 5. The vocalist Eudardo will perform tango music from Latin America and the Argentine.

Program:

7:00 P.M. – 7:45 P.M. Public tango lesson
8:00 P.M. First portion of concert (Argentine and Latin American tango music)
8:30 P.M. Milonga (tango dances)
9:00 P.M. Second portion of concert
10:00 P.M. Finale.

One Hundred and Seven Years Late for Dinner

One Hundred and Seven Years Late for Dinner

by Grant Gochin

When your grandmother’s last words make it clear that she’s not who you thought she was, you are willing to move all the mountains in Europe to get to the truth

Dinner between cousins was scheduled for Shabbat on Friday, May 14, 1915. How was I to know that the Shabbos meal never took place? Without warning, Russian forces launched a genocidal mass deportation of Baltic Jews deep into Russia. Families were torn apart, lives were destroyed and communities of Jews devastated.

The first inkling I had was on my grandmother’s deathbed. Her final lucid words to me were: “I wish I knew my name. I wish I knew who my family was.” We thought we knew her name–Bertha Lee Arenson. We were wrong.

Guided Tour of Gedimino Prospect Followed by Sabbath Ceremony

Guided Tour of Gedimino Prospect Followed by Sabbath Ceremony

Jewish tour guide Mark Psonic will lead a walking tour of Vilnius’s main street, Gedimino prospect, on June 17 as part of a larger event being held by the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Gesher and Kaveret Clubs.

Those wishing to take the tour will assemble at the bell tower of the Cathedral in central Vilnius at 6:00 P.M. Friday. The walking tour will conclude at the Cvi in the Park Israeli street food kiosk located in the former Petras Cvirka square across the street from the LJC, where the Sabbath will be ushered in in the traditional manner.

The cost per person is five euros with registration by internet till June 15 and no later. Send an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt to register.

Discussion Club #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai with Arkadijus Vinokuras

Discussion Club #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai with Arkadijus Vinokuras

Back in the time of King David, 3,000 years ago, the king was considered the best singer, and under his reign the professional musicians dynasty of the Levites from the tribe of Levi began. Music schools were established for singers of hymns and players of instruments. Hymns and instrumental music accompanied rituals for the offering of sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem built by Solomon in 959 BCE. During sacred rituals the priests blew 120 trumpets at the same time.

Of course we won’t go that deep into history. We’ll just discuss the period of Jewish music from Smetona’s Lithuania till today, discussion club #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai initiator Arkadijus Vinokuras promises.

The next discussion is called “Jewish Music: What Is It, and Why Doesn’t It Ever Grow Old?” on June 14, 2022.

The club will meet outside this time at the site of the former statue to Petras Cvirka where the Cvi in the Park Israeli street food kiosk is operating for the summer. The meeting will take place inside the Bagel Shop Café due to rain at 5:00 P.M. It’s open to everyone and will be live-streamed on the LJC facebook page.

Participants are to include Leonidas Melnikas, Boris Traub, Boris Kizner and Masha Dushkina, moderated by Arkadijus Vinokuras. The discussion will likely take place in Lithuanian.

Students from Miami University Visit Community

Students from Miami University Visit Community

Students from Miami University in Ohio recently visited the Lithuanian Jewish Community to learn more about the Jewish community in Lithuania, our history and Jewish life in the country. We baked bagels together at the Bagel Shop Café, gave them a tour of the recently opened Saul Kagan Welfare Center and invited them to our Israeli street food kiosk Cvi in the Park.

#OurCommunitiess #MūsųBendruomenės EVZ Foundation