Litvaks

Passover in Kaunas

Passover in Kaunas

As always, members of the Kaunas Jewish Community celebrated Passover in fellowship and fine company, in high spirits to the sound music, eating matzo and all the other great dishes provided by the kitchen staff of the Višta Puode restaurant in Kaunas. As in prior years, they also held a quiz to test members’ knowledge of Passover traditions.

Ilan Club Every Saturday

Ilan Club Every Saturday

The Ilan Club for children ages 7 to 12 is open again every Saturday, passing on Litvak traditions, offering a place for meeting like-minded friends and loads of fun activities. The club will now be open starting at 12:00 noon on Saturdays at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. Contact Žana Skudovičienė for more information at zanas@sc.lzb.lt.

Commemoration of Herman Perelstein in Kaunas

Commemoration of Herman Perelstein in Kaunas

A plaque commemorating Herman Perelstein was unveiled in Kaunas Wednesday. He was the celebrated founder of the Ąžuoliukas boys’ choir and would’ve celebrated his 100th birthday last year. Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas, the makers of the plaque and a representative from the city of Kaunas spoke at the unveiling ceremony.

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

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

Women’s Club to Meet Friday

Women’s Club to Meet Friday

Women are invited to the Women’s Club meeting this Friday where we’ll prepare for Passover which is coming soon. We’ll talk about traditions from over the millennia and from more recent times and we’ll learn how to make Litvak matzo kneydlakh and a huge matzo cake.

Time: 6:30 P.M., Friday, April 12
Place: Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

Registration required. Send an email to zanas@lzb.lt or call (+370) 678 81514.

We hope to see you there.

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.

Purim at the LJC

Purim at the LJC

There are many holidays throughout the year we celebrate at home with close family members, but Purim isn’t one of them. The point is to go out, celebrate, enjoy life and have fun. On Sunday the Lithuanian Jewish Community and Bnei Maskilim held a public Purim celebration in Vilnius with costume play, a reading from the Book of Esther, holiday treats and much sincere conversation.

Happy Birthday to Josif Burshtein

Happy Birthday to Josif Burshtein

Faina Kukliansky and the entire Lithuanian Jewish Community wish Josif Burshtein a very happy birthday. Formerly chairman of the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community, Josif remains an extremely active and important member of the Community and a member of the LJC executive board. We wish you great health, strength, happiness and the joy of life. Mazl tov. Bis 120!

Lithuanian President Unveils Renewed Plaque Commemorating Jacques Lipchitz in Paris

Lithuanian President Unveils Renewed Plaque Commemorating Jacques Lipchitz in Paris

March 13, 2024

As part of his visit to Paris Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda attended Tuesday in Boulogne-Billancourt the unveiling ceremony of the renewed plaque to Jacques Lipchitz, a Litvak and one of the most prominent cubist sculptors.

At the ceremony Nausėda said despite the fact he lived and worked in Paris, Lipchitz never forgot Vilnius, Lithuania or Lithuanian artists, to whom he referred to his letters as his “dear fellow countrymen,” and whom he mentored and supported when they fled to the West.

“Today we remember Lipchitz with gratitude as ‘the sculptor from Lithuania,’ a great artist who drew on his roots, his love for Lithuania and Lithuanian folk-art to create timeless masterpieces for the whole of humanity,” Nausėda said.

Full press release here.

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

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.