Learning, History, Culture

Australian “Creative Workers” Draw Up and Post Hit-List Targeting 600 Australian Jews

Australian “Creative Workers” Draw Up and Post Hit-List Targeting 600 Australian Jews

A group of pro-Palestinian activists working as what are called “creatives” in Australia have posted a hit-list containing the names and details of just under 600 Jewish Australians who support Israel. The Jews targeted are also engaged in creative and cultural work. At least two of the list-makers and spreaders have been identified; one is a well-known author and illustrator of children’s books and the recipient of hundreds of thousands of Australian dollars in grant money from government agencies.

“Nazi-like”: Hundreds of Jewish Australian artists and their families doxed by high-profile pro-Palestine activists [“dox” is a verbalized noun meaning “to release the documents on someone,” i.e., personal details and contact information, including but not limited to home addresses, telephone numbers, credit card numbers, bank accounts, property records, family members, political and community affiliations, genealogies, DNA records and etc.]

A “despicably” published spreadsheet containing the names, occupations and social media profiles of almost 600 Jewish Australian artists led to death threats after it was shared by high-profile pro-Palestinian activists.

Almost 600 Jewish Australian creatives and artists, who were members in a WhatsApp group chat, had their personal details indexed into a spreadsheet with the link made public.

Condolences

Rimanas Elizejus passed away February 12. He was born in 1924. He was a Community member of long standing and a client of the Saul Kagan Welfare Center. We extend our deepest condolences to his children and all of his friends and relatives.

LJC Issues Yet Another Plea for State Protection after Choral Synagogue Vandalized

LJC Issues Yet Another Plea for State Protection after Choral Synagogue Vandalized

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has issued a press release following the latest attack on Jewish sites in Vilnius:

The attacks against Lithuanian Jews continue. Not even a week has passed since a stone hurled by a vandal broke a window at the entrance to the LJC in Vilnius, miraculously avoiding wounding anyone, and now the Choral Synagogue, an extremely important site for Litvaks in Vilnius, has been graffitied and desecrated. The Choral Synagogue is hte only working synagogue in the Lithuanian capital.

As in earlier cases, the Community has contacted the police, but our main concern is not to punish the vandals, but to protect people.

“This isn’t just any old graffiti. Besides property damage, the inscription scrawled on this religious site was an attempt to insult and debase Jews,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman and attorney Faina Kukliansky commented. “The investigations launched will be meaningless if someone gets hurt. Knowing the kind of brutal anti-Semitic attacks which have been taking place around the world recently, we are concerned for the children at the Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium, the toddlers at the Salvija kindergarten, our seniors arriving at the Community’s Social Center and Community events, and of course for those practicing their religion at the Choral Synagogue.”

We would like to point out that, beginning with member of parliament Remigijus Žemaitaitis’s anti-Semitic statements last year and the massacre Hamas staged in southern Israel on October 7, attacks on Lithuanian Jews have become more and more frequent. Just last week the LJC was attacked, a pedestrian bridge in the Viršuliškės neighborhood of Vilnius was graffitied with Nazi symbols and an extremist group’s symbol was placed as stickers on municipal mass transport. Now the Choral Synagogue has been attacked. What’s next?

Anti-Semitism won’t disappear by itself and the rapid and highly professional response of law enforcement, for which we are extremely grateful, won’t suffice. We need first and foremost preventative measures which put a halt to future attacks. And so yet again we are asking for help from the state. Only joint efforts can insure safety and change the ever-louder anti-Semitic narrative.

Aussie Deputy Police Commish Gives Cover to Anti-Semitic Pogrom

Aussie Deputy Police Commish Gives Cover to Anti-Semitic Pogrom

Deputy police commissioner for the Australian state of New South Wales Mal Lanyon seemingly pulled a page from the Lithuanian playbook last week, providing cover for a mob hellbent on pogrom at the Sydney Opera House who chanted “gas the Jews” on October 9, before Israel initiated its self-declared war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

According to Lanyon, Strike Force Mealing, a special working group tasked with investigating possible criminal offenses at the gathering, hired an acoustics expert who reviewed audio recordings and decided the crowd was actually chanting “Where’s the Jews?” despite numerous ear-witnesses at the event and voluminous video footage which indicated they had in fact clearly chanted “Gas the Jews!”

“The expert has concluded with overwhelming certainty that the phrase chanted during that protest as recorded on the audio-visual files was ‘where’s the Jews,’ not another phrase as otherwise widely reported,” he said.

The day after the protest, NSW oremier Chris Minns had condemned the rally, describing it at “abhorrent.”

Lithuanian Parliament to Remove Immunity from Allegedly Anti-Semitic MP

Lithuanian Parliament to Remove Immunity from Allegedly Anti-Semitic MP

by Modesta Gaučaitė-Znutienė, February 12, 2024

The Lithuanian parliament has green-lighted the removal of parliamentary immunity from Remigijus Žemaitaitis for his comments allegedly belittling Jews. Žemaitaitis counters his comments were not anti-Semitic and claims the accusations are political because he decided to run for president.

The Office of Prosecutor General made the request to parliament to annul Žemaitaitis’s legal immunity because of allegedly anti-Semitic comments the MP made on facebook. The MP says this is an attempt to get rid of him ahead of the presidential election in May.

Prosecutor general Nida Grunskienė took to the podium in parliament telling lawmakers the pre-trial investigation into alleged anti-Semitic statements by Žemaitaitis was launched on May 8 last year and involves the possible sowing of discord against a national, racial, ethnic, religious or other group of people.

Discussion Club: Is Lithuanian Anti-Semitism Different from European?

Discussion Club: Is Lithuanian Anti-Semitism Different from European?

The #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai Jewish discussion club this week will address the topic of anti-Semitism in Lithuania and Europe. While there aren’t thousands marching in support of the Hamas terrorist group in Vilnius, and anti-Semitic attacks are relatively infrequent compared to some countries, there is a kind of institutionalized anti-Semitism at work in the bureaucracy, despite the periodic condemnation of anti-Semitism by the so-called political elite. Traditional Shrovetide processions continue to include caricatures of Jews, school children are still exposed to anti-Semitism from teachers and “memory wars” continue in the public space with Lithuanian Nazis glorified and Righteous Gentiles ignored. If anti-Semitism in Western Europe is largely fueled by Muslim immigrants, what’s Lithuania’s excuse?

Is there a way out of this existing labyrinth, and if so, what is it?

We’ll look for answers with historians Egidijus Aleksandravičius and Linas Venclauskas in a panel discussion in Lithuanian moderated by Arkadijus Vinokuras..

Time: 5:00 P.M., Wednesday, February 14
Place: Bagel Shop Café, Pylimo street no. 4., Vilnius

The discussion will be streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/zydubendruomene/live_videos/

Trudeau Did Invite Nazi After All

Trudeau Did Invite Nazi After All

Canadian state media outlet Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and other Canadian media are reporting Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau did issue an invitation to Ukrainian Waffen-SS solider Yaroslav Hunka to attend an event on September 22, 2023, after all.

Hunka was given a standing ovation at the Canadian House of Commons in Ottawa that day. Honoring the Nazi at parliament was widely seen as an insult to Canadian Jews and Holocaust survivors around the world. It also detracted from the Canadian brand as a multi-cultural oasis of tolerance in the world, and shone a light on Canada’s practice of providing haven to Nazi war criminals on the lamb from justice, including the Butcher of Kaunas, Helmut Rauca.

Speaker of parliament Anthony Rota from Trudeau’s own Liberal Party apologized for the incident and took “full responsibility,” announcing his resignation September 26 to take effect on September 27, 2023.

Interview with LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky

Interview with LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky

“As the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, I see my greatest assignment as not letting others forget we are Jews, and not letting Jews forget they are Jews,” LJC chairwoman and attorney Faina Kukliansky said in an interview Arkadijus Vinokuras conducted in Lithuanian for the Jewish discussion club #ŽydiškiPašnekesiai he founded and leads.

In the interview they discussed Community activities, money, protection of wooden and other synagogues, relations with ethnic Lithuanians, Holocaust and Righteous Gentile commemoration policies and the lack thereof, care for senior citizens including Holocaust survivors, cemetery maintenance, relations between the regional Jewish communities in Lithuania, a new kosher food outlet in Vilnius, anti-Semitism in the EU and Lithuania as well as the Lithuanian bureaucracy, the Vilna Gaon Jewish History Museum’s new Litvak identity museum and the future. The full interview in Lithuanian can be found below. Duration: 54:20.

Israeli Author to Present Lithuanian Translation at Vilnius Book Fair

Israeli Author to Present Lithuanian Translation at Vilnius Book Fair

Beloved Israeli author Eshkol Nevo will speak at the presentation of the translation of his book Shalosh Qomot (Three Floors, aka Three Floors Up) to Lithuanian at the Vilnius Book Fair on February 24. This is his first work translated into Lithuanian. The event is scheduled for 12 noon on Saturday, February 24, at the Litexpo Center in Vilnius. Following his presentation, visitor will have a chance to speak to him personally at the Sofoklis publishing house stand at the book fair.

Eshkol Nevo grew up in Jerusalem, Haifa and Detroit. He is the grandson of Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol after whom he is named. His Three Floors Up was the basis for an Italian film, Tre piani, released in 2021.

LJC Requests Protection from State after Latest Act of Vandalism

LJC Requests Protection from State after Latest Act of Vandalism

Monday evening security cameras at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius recorded a person who threw a rock at the building and broke the glass above the main entrance. Police were contacted immediately.

This is yet another unprovoked anti-Semitic attack against Lithuanian citizens of Jewish descent reflecting inimical attitudes in society which perhaps have been escalated by anti-Jewish rhetoric in parliament and by propaganda from supporters of the Hamas terrorist group.

The LJC is not a political organization. We are an organization which is concerned with the social and cultural life of the Jews of Lithuania. Among our activities are infant, child and youth clubs and the Saul Kagan Social Welfare Center which takes care of our senior citizens with home-care and activities at the Community. Fortunately enough, when the act of vandalism was committed, there were no passers-by on the sidewalk outside nor people inside where the broken glass landed, and no one was physically hurt. Nonetheless, these sorts of incidents could end very badly. This is by no means the first anti-Semitic attack against Jewish communities in Lithuania. Very recently someone threw stones through the windows of the Šiauliai Jewish Community.

We have also received information concerning Nazi and White Power symbols graffitied on a pedestrian bridge in Vilnius. We contacted the police concerning this as well, since Lithuanian laws forbid the propagation of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, their ideologies and their symbols.

Just recently in January at a meeting held at the European Commission all member-states in a special working group presented progress reports on the implementation of the European Union strategy for combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life. We are sad to report this strategy is being implemented very poorly in Lithuania with an ever-growing frequency of anti-Semitic attacks. And, judging from what’s going on in other countries, this is only the beginning of a rising tide of anti-Semitism. Sadly, our state is failing to insure adequate security at important Community sites, including the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, the LJC, the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius and the Salvija kindergarten where many Jewish families send their toddlers.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community asks the appropriate and engaged public organizations for help in this, and for security from the corresponding state institutions. The situation in other countries clearly shows we are a footstep away from real human tragedy and misfortune.

Condolences

Gercas Borveinas passed away February 6. He was born in 1935. He was an LJC member and Saul Kagan Welfare Center client.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and the entire Community extend our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him.

Lecture “From Circumcision to …” with Natalja Cheifec

Lecture “From Circumcision to …” with Natalja Cheifec

As part of her continuing lecture series on Jewish life, religion and tradition, Natalja Cheifec will talk about laws and traditions regulating Jewish stages of life, this time including brit milah, the circumcision ritual for newborn boys which harkens back to the covenant made with Abraham, and bar and bat mitzvah coming-of-age ceremonies. She will also discuss shidduch, Jewish matchmaking and engagements. Marriage, divorce, unavoidable death and the shiva ritual of mourning will also be touched upon.

Each of these stages of life and celebrations have their own symbolism and significance in the Jewish community. These are the prime moments in the Jewish cycle of life with their own distinct religious, cultural and family aspects.

The lecture will be conducted in Lithuanian from 5:30 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 8, on the zoom internet platform. Everyone is welcome. Click here to receive log-on credentials: https://bit.ly/3K73kEE

#NataljosEdukacija

Documentary Film about Judea and Samaria

Documentary Film about Judea and Samaria

Andrey Makarevich, founder of the Soviet and now Russian rock band Mashina Vremeni [Time Machine], has made a documentary film about travelling through the Israeli regions of Judea and Samaria with his wife, historian and guide Einat Klein. The Russian-language film will be screened at 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 11, at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. Elisha Khenkin is a member of the Judean and Samarian Council and the head of the Russian-Speakers Department there, and is arriving to Lithuania especially to present this film at the LJC.

Admission is free but registration is required by sending your details to viljamas@lzb.lt.

Stahlhammer Klezmer Concert

Stahlhammer Klezmer Concert

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden in Vilnius and the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite you to a concert of klezmer music by the Stahlhammer Klezmer ensemble February 21.

The trio will perform enchanting klezmer and tango music. It was founded by violinist Semmy Stahlhammer from the Stockholm Royal Opera and a teacher at the Stockholm Royal Music College who usually performs solo violin concerts. Accordion player Miriam Oldenburg specializes in klezmer and cabaret music and toured Europe with Cirque du Soleil in 2012. Cellist Atida Munthe Stahlhammer teaches cello and also performs with the Yidishe Kapelye group and founder of the Stahlheimer quartet and the Brunneby Music Festival held in the summer in Herrgård.

Time: 6:00 P.M., Wednesday, February 21
Place: Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

Please register here: https://forms.gle/ffRY9GSgzgt3ZmNU7

Quiz Nights Return

Quiz Nights Return

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is pleased to invite you to the return of quiz nights with the “Kas, kur, kada?” [Who, where, when?] quiz in Lithuanian moderated by Irina Sucker.

Registration is required by contacting Žana at zanas@sc.lzb.lt or by telephone at (+370) 678 81514.

Time: 6:30 P.M., Friday, February 9
Place: Third floor, Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius

Elon Musk Expresses Shock about the Holocaust

Elon Musk Expresses Shock about the Holocaust

Elon Musk expresses shock about the Holocaust after Auschwitz visit that was “incredibly moving, and deeply sad and tragic that humans could do this to humans.”

Elon Musk took a private tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland on January 22 as he defended his social platform, X, against accusations of spreading anti-Semitism.

“It was incredibly moving, and deeply sad and tragic that humans could do this to humans,” the billionaire Tesla, Inc. chief and X owner said on Monday of the site where an estimated 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed by the Nazis during World War II.

Musk was seen carrying his son on his shoulders in a photo of the tour, as he stood alongside Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman of the European Jewish Association, Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev, and Ben Shapiro, a controversial conservative media pundit. Shapiro later hosted a discussion with Musk organized by the EJA in nearby Cracow.

Full story here.

Youth from around Lithuania Gather in Ariogala to Remember Holocaust Victims

Youth from around Lithuania Gather in Ariogala to Remember Holocaust Victims

Lithuania’s International Commission for Assessing the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes in Lithuania and the Ariogala gymnasium staged an artistic performance/conference called “Children during the Holocaust” to mark International Holocaust Day last week, with performances and presentations by school children.

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas told the gathering: “In these times bringing us so much sadness, darkness and hate, one of the strongest sources of hope and comfort that maybe someday someone will learn the painful lessons of history is young people and their teachers, expending their time, energy and creativity not just for achieving good academic results, but also for raising people who are good, who are sincere people, eager to learn, tolerant, civic-minded, who are not apathetic towards the problems and hurtful experiences of the world and other members of society.”

Israeli ambassador Hadas Wittenberg-Silverstein and US embassy deputy secretary and vice-consul William Kendrick attended the event, as did Raseiniai regional administration deputy mayor Mindaugas Tamaliūnas.

Annual Liova Taicas Memorial Tournament in Šiauliai

Annual Liova Taicas Memorial Tournament in Šiauliai

The annual Liova Taicas memorial tournament organized by the Šiauliai Jewish Community and now the Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club will take place for the 14th time on February 4 at the Šiauliai Athletics Gymnasium. Šiauliai Jewish Community chairman Sania Kerbelis said with Makabi’s involvement they expect to receive athletes from Makabi clubs in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and other cities and towns this year.

Participants will contend in indoor soccer, 3-on-3 basketball and volleyball. Those wanting to participate should call Rašella at 869910621.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

International Holocaust Day in Panevėžys

International Holocaust Day in Panevėžys

The Lithuanian city of Panevėžys commemorated International Holocaust Day last Friday. January 27 is the day the United Nations chose for the memorial date as the day when Auschwitz was liberated. About 1.5 million people were murdered at this Nazi concentration camp located in Poland.

Panevėžys deputy mayor Žibutė Gaivenienė, Panevėžys regional administration deputy mayor Edmundas Toliušis, Rožynas community chairwoman Romualda Šerplienė, teachers and students from the Vyturys school and members and staff of the Panevėžys Jewish Community attended and participated in the event.

“Today the entire world commemorates International Holocaust Day. This tragedy during World War II was planned by the leadership of Nazi Germany. Innocent civilians were murdered. The whole world recognizes the Holocaust must not be forgotten. We cannot forget the people who were brutally tortured and murdered. And to those who are trying to erase this from the memory of today’s youth: for shame!” Gennady Kofman said at the commemoration.

International Holocaust Day Marked at Paliesius Manor with Concert

International Holocaust Day Marked at Paliesius Manor with Concert

The Paliesius Manor house in the Ignalina district of Lithuania hosted a concert to mark International Holocaust Day on January 27 by maestro Gidon Krember and the Kremerata Baltica chamber orchestra. Many thanks to all those who made this possible, including Gidon Kremer, Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, the Paliesius Manor estate, professor Julius Ptašek, LJC board member Ela Gurina, Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium principal Ruth Reches, LJC executive director Michailas Segal, Fayerlakh Jewish song and dance ensemble director Larisa Vyšniauskienė, LJC programs director Žana Skudovičienė, Švenčionys Jewish Community chairman Moshe Shapiro, Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman and everyone who attended.