Regulations for the Makabi Swimming Championship

Regulations for the Makabi Swimming Championship

Competition Goals and Tasks

To popularize the sport of swimming among members of the Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club. To select the best swimmers for competition at the international Maccabiah Games.

Time and Location

The competitions will be held from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. on March 31, 2019, at the multifunctional sporting and entertainment complex Girstutis, at Kovo 11-osios street no. 26, Kaunas. Competitors are to arrive by 10:30 A.M.


Swimmers of all ages may participate who after making application will be divided into age groups.

The cost to participate is 3 euros for those born after 2000 and 5 euros for those born in and before 1999.

Applications can be e-mailed to makabilita.duskes@gmail.com providing the age of the applicant, an e-mail address and a mobile telephone number before 12 midnight on March 27, 2019.

The coordinator in Vilnius is Artiom Perepleica at artiom.perp@gmail.com

Competition Program and Prizes

25-meter free style

50-meter breast stroke

All participants will receive souvenir medals.

Prize-winners in their age groups will receive special prizes.

M. Duškesas, executive director
Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club

Holocaust Distortion

by Efraim Zuroff

The situation regarding Holocaust commemoration and education in Lithuania is likewise extremely problematic.

It was only slightly more than a year ago that Holocaust distortion, which has been going on undisturbed for the past almost 30 years, and is currently rampant throughout post-Communist Eastern Europe, suddenly became an issue in Israel. The reason was the uproar over the by now infamous Polish Holocaust bill, which made use of the term “Polish death camps” or the attribution of any Holocaust crimes to the Polish state, a criminal offense punishable by two years in prison. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded that “Israel would not tolerate Holocaust distortion,” the first public denunciation by an Israeli leader of the systematic efforts being made for decades by many of the new democracies of Eastern Europe to whitewash the crimes of their nationals during the Shoah.

Limmud 2019 in Druskininkai

Limmud 2019 in Druskininkai

The Limmud tradition is about Jewishness and identity. Once per year the LJC organizes the traditional Limmud conference so members can come together, celebrate Sabbath together, take in many interesting lectures. Limmud comes from the Hebrew word “to learn.”

LJC programs director Žana Skudovičienė, veteran Limmud organizer, says this tradition demands a lot of work, energy and ingenuity.

This year our Lithuanian Limmud was held at the Europe Royal Hotel in the southern Lithuanian spa town Druskininkai with heavy attendance by LJC members and guests and young families with toddlers. Skudovičienė said some of the parents had themselves attended Limmud as children decades ago.

This year’s Limmud seemed more intimate than in former years, according to attendees, with Jews gathering from all over Lithuania, less formal speeches and more music, dance and fun–with a real spirit of yidishkayt.

List of Speakers and Performers for Limmud 2019

List of Speakers and Performers for Limmud 2019

Speakers and performers to include:

Ilya Kalmanovskiy, journalist, teacher, educational program enthusiast and moderator (Moscow)

Boruch Gorin, journalist, writer, editor of Lekhaim magazine (Moscow)

Juriy Tabak, religious studies expert, translator, author (Moscow)

Aleksandr Dukhovny, senior rabbi of progressive Jewish congregations (Kiev)

Sasha Galitsky, artist, author (Israel)

Regina Pats, cinema expert, to speak on new program of Israeli films (Tallinn)

Dr. Lara Lempertienė, scholar, director of Lithuanian National Library’s Judaica Studies Center

Monument to Icchokas Meras Unveiled in Kelmė

Monument to Icchokas Meras Unveiled in Kelmė

A statue was unveiled to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of Icchokas Meras. The ceremony and monument were the work of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the Lithuanian Jerusalem Vilnius Jewish Community, the Jakovas Bunka support fund and the Kelmė regional administration. It took place on March 13 at Icchokas Meras Square in Kelmė. Students and teachers from the neighboring Jonas Graičiūnas Gymnasium, Kelmė municipal representatives, fans of Meras’s work and visitors from Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai and Panevėžys and members of those Jewish communities attended.

Feliks Dektor arrived from Israel for the ceremony. He translated to Russian Meras’s novels “Ant ko laikosi pasaulis” and “Lygiosios trunka akimirką” as well as a collection of short stories called “Geltonas lopas,” some of the first literary works about the Holocaust to be published in the Soviet Union.

MP Emanuelis ZIngeris was unable to attend but sent a message which was read out loud:

“Icchokas Meras his entire life spoke for the silenced ghettos of Kelmė, Vilnius, Kaunas and Šiauliai. In his work he didn’t stand for the isolation of the ghetto, rather he scaled to the heights and plumbed the extraordinary depths of humanity. In Soviet times everyone looked forward to the appearance of his novels and stories in the magazines Pergalė and Nemunas. This was a protest hurled against the Soviet reality. Because Icchokas Meras was and remained a Lithuanian writer who modernized the language of Lithuanian prose and invented new ways to express himself.

Lithuanian President Visits YIVO

Lithuanian President Visits YIVO

Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė visited YIVO in New York City March 13.

The YIVO institute was founded in Vilnius in 1925, collecting a large library of books and documents, Yiddish literature and material on Jews in Central and Eastern Europe. It moved to New York in 1939 when founder Max Weinreich was caught in Denmark as Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1 of that year. The New York branch became the headquarters as the Nazis looted YIVO archives in Vilnius.

YIVO director Jonathan Brent met the Lithuanian leader and spoke to her about the Strashun collection and important documents YIVO conserves.

The Lithuanian president said she was impressed by the collections demonstrating the priceless Litvak heritage and also by the courage and nobility of the people–Lithuanians and Jews–who saved the important documents.

Full press release in Lithuanian here.

Work Continues on the Žemaičių Naumiestis Synagogue

Work Continues on the Žemaičių Naumiestis Synagogue

Work to restore the synagogue in Žemaičių Naumiestis, Lithuania, began in 2018 and on March 6, 2019, the work to date was surveyed.

The Šilutė regional administration allocated almost 100,000 euros for the renovation work.

Photos from before work began

The town had a large Jewish population before the Holocaust who built this brick synagogue in 1816. In the Soviet era the synagogue was used as a Palace of Culture.

American Zionist Movement Biennial Assembly Held in New York

American Zionist Movement Biennial Assembly Held in New York

The American Zionist Movement held their once-every-two-years assembly in New York on March 10 and 11, 2019. This assembly’s theme was Unity and Community: Bringing Together the Many Voices of Zionism.”

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky was invited to speak about the Zionist movement in Lithuania.

LJC chairwoman Kukliansky with AZM executive director Herbert Block

Celebrating Lithuanian Freedom

Celebrating Lithuanian Freedom

On March 11, 1990, many Lithuanian Jews became witnesses to an important and unforgettable event when the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic almost unanimously (of 130 delegates 6 abstained, none voted against) the act for the restoration of Lithuanian independence. The Republic of Lithuania submerged by foreign powers in 1940 had resurfaced. This allowed for the restoration and work of the Lithuanian Jewish Community as well. Happy Independence Day!

Arkadijus Vinokuras: Why Is Genocide Center Defending a Lie?

Arkadijus Vinokuras: Why Is Genocide Center Defending a Lie?

by Arkadijus Vinokuras

At 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, March 5, at Žygimantų street no. 2 in Vilnius, the Vilnius District Administrative Court undertook a special case. Lithuanian citizen Grant Gochin petitioned the Vilnius District Administrative Court to render a decision on whether the Center for the Study of the Genocide and Resistance of Residents of Lithuania is, in the plaintiff’s words, “blindly defending Jonas Noreika who has the blood of his fellow Lithuanian citizens, Jews, on his hands.”

The Genocide Center stands accused of lying, falsifications and down-playing obvious facts in its refusal to review newly-discovered documents showing Noreika participated in crimes of genocide against Lithuanian citizens.

How does Genocide Center director Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė respond to these accusations made againt her institution? On November 16, 2015, she posted a statement on the Genocide Center’s facebook page: “Neighbors from the East are organizing the desecration of Lithuania’s patriots. They are being aided not just by certain Jews, but a sufficiently large number of Lithuanians as well; their surnames are signed under requests to revoke medals and take down plaques and are the by-lines in libelous articles in the press… Some of them do this intentionally, others out of foolishness…”

Leaders, Ambassador Send Condolences on Death of Tobijas Jafetas

lzinios.lt, BNS

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky told BNS Tobijas Jafetas was “a highly respected, active and refined person of the community” who had met her father when World War II began. “As I recall his father had a business in England and came to Kaunas just before the war started. It so happened that Jafetas and my father were at a [children’s summer] camp in Palanga when the war broke out. Neither was able to flee and they were taken to an orphanage in Kaunas,” Kukliansky said.

Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon expressed condolences over Jafetas’s loss on facebook.

Jafetas and his mother were imprisoned in the Slobodka ghetto in Kaunas in World War II. He told the story of how he escaped the ghetto in 1944 after hiding in an attic. The Katinskai family in Vilnius rescued him.

LJC chairwoman Kukliansky said Jafetas spoke German and English and maintained close contacts with survivors of ghettos in Europe.

Monument to Icchokas Meras to be Unveiled in Kelmė

Monument to Icchokas Meras to be Unveiled in Kelmė

A monument to Litvak writer Icchokas Meras (October 8, 1934 – March 13, 2014) is to be unveiled on the fifth anniversary of his death on Icchokas Meras Square in his hometown of Kelmė, Lithuania, at 1:00 P.M. on March 13, 2019. Meras, a Holocaust survivor, wrote in Lithuanian and won numerous awards in Israel and Lithuania. His work has been translated into over 25 languages including Yiddish and Hebrew. He moved to Israel in 1972 and passed away in Tel Aviv in 2014 at the age of 79.

The monument is the fruit of cooperation between the Lithuanian Jewish Community, the Jakovas Bunka welfare and support fund, the Lithuanian Jerusalem Vilnius Jewish Community and the Kelmė regional administration.

Those wishing to attend are invited to send notice of their intention to renginiai@lzb.lt because the LJC plans to provide free transportation to and from the event if there is sufficient interest. Please send an email by March 11 or call 8 673 77257 for more information.

Limmud 2019 March 15-17 in Druskininkai, Lithuania

Limmud 2019 March 15-17 in Druskininkai, Lithuania

The educational and entertaining conference on Judaism Limmud 2019 will be held in Druskininkai, Lithuania, from March 15 to 17. The program includes the weekend in the scenic Lithuanian spa town, activities, valuable lectures, seminars on academic excellence, screenings of films, excursions, a special Sabbath and much more.

The three-day conference will be held at the Europa Royale hotel at Vilniaus alley no. 7 in Druskininkai.

For more information, call +370 67881514 or send an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt

Registration is now closed.

Speakers to include:

Will Lithuanian Law Enforcement Give Due Consideration to Anti-Semitic Acts?

Will Lithuanian Law Enforcement Give Due Consideration to Anti-Semitic Acts?

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is greatly surprised by the actions of law enforcement institutions regarding Marius Ivaškevičius. This write was summoned to a police interrogation on the accusation he had incited hate against the Lithuanian people because of his public identification of the problems troubling our society using historical facts connected with the direct participation of ethnic Lithuanians in perpetrating the Holocaust.

This is extremely depressing, unexpected and troubling, especially bearing in mind that violations with a clear anti-Semitic element usually go unnoticed by law enforcement. This passive reaction by law enforcement institutions towards expressions of anti-Semitism creates a sense of impunity, leads to the application of double standards in Lithuania, erodes the rule of law and the state and recalls dangerous examples from neighboring countries.

The LJC asks government representatives, law enforcement institutions and the public to assess the situation soberly based on justice and intelligence, in order to stop the spread of information campaigns harming Lithuania’s reputation by countries which are against our state.

We thank all those who have maintained a common-sense position and we also ask attention be brought to bear on statements made by Panevėžys politician Raimondas Pankevičius during elections debates on February 22 which had the features of incitement of ethnic hate and Holocaust denial. During the debates the politician made the false statement Jews in Lithuania had killed each other, ignoring the fact of Lithuanian complicity in the Holocaust. The LJC feels the behavior of this Panevėžys mayoral candidate, famous for actions which seem to display an unapologetic and habitual anti-Semitism, has never been subject to an appropriate legal response.

Political Correctness Lithuanian Style: Busted for Not Denying the Holocaust

Political Correctness Lithuanian Style: Busted for Not Denying the Holocaust

Photo: Andrius Užkalnis, © 2019 DELFI/Domantas Pipas

Lithuanian writer Marius Ivaškevičius, winner of the title Tolerant Person of the Year for 2017 and recipient of the Lithuanian National Prize for art and literature, was recently summoned to explain to police remarks he made on Lithuanian public radio about Lithuanians engaging in ethnic cleansing of Poles and the removal and mass murder of Jews during World War II. According to Lithuanian media reports, the Lithuanian General Prosecutor’s Office instructed Lithuanian police to investigate Ivaškevičius for hate-crimes against Lithuanians. The Lithuanian Writers Union, the Lithuanian Journalists Union, legal experts and some media have come to the defense of Ivaškevičius. The following is one of many editorials which have appeared recently.

The True Fascists Are Those Who Turned In Marius Ivaškevičius
by Andrius Užkalnis

This very angry text is about the playwright Marius Ivaškevičius, but you won’t find anything here about his work or the national prize he received.

The fact they demanded he not be given the [Lithuanian national] prize and that he received it nonetheless is one of the best things to happen in 2019, and no matter how Eurovision and the elections turn out, at least one good thing has happened. This is a great start to the year.

This article is about Ivaškevičius being summoned to the police to explain what he said on the radio about Poles and Jews.

The playwright didn’t call for killing, oppressing or insulting anyone. He spoke about our people’s (and Ivaškevičius is part of that people, too) historic crime against other peoples. There were people who considered this mocking the Lithuanian people and encouraging hatred of Lithuanians.

Ąžuoliukas Anniversary Concert at LJC

The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Ąžuoliukas Music School will hold a chamber ensemble concert to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the school and the 60th anniversary of the Ąžuoliukas Boys and Young Men’s Choir.

The concert begins at 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 28, at the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius.

Panevėžys Jewish Community Accepting Donations as a Non-Profit

Panevėžys Jewish Community Accepting Donations as a Non-Profit

When people pay their income tax in Lithuania, they have the option of donating 2 percent to various non-profits. The Panevėžys Jewish Community is a non-profit organization, and members make use of this option annually to donate money. All Lithuanian tax-payers can do the same if they so desire, and the Panevėžys Jewish Community uses these funds for support and maintaining the Community museum it is establishing.

Local resident Egidijus Sanda is interested in Jewish history and traditions and taught himself Yiddish. He and his wife Lilijana visited the Panevėžys Jewish Community and they personally presented their 2 percent to the Community.

Community chairman Gennady Kofman invited the guests to tea and thanked them for their contributions. They discussed local Jewish history and traditions, and the Sandas left a record of their visit in the guest book. Chairman Kofman said he was so happy to receive the understanding and support of Panevėžys residents who have a desire to learn more about Jewish culture, which is a part of Lithuanian culture.

LJC’s Second Year at Vilnius Book Fair a Success

LJC’s Second Year at Vilnius Book Fair a Success

Almost 68,500 people visited the Vilnius Book Fair this year on its 20th anniversary. There were more than 550 events for visitors to chose from over four days. The Lithuanian Jewish Community had a table this year for the second year in a row presenting books published with partial support from the Goodwill Foundation.

The table was extremely popular with visitors all four days. Some came to browse, others to talk about Jewish culture and share their memories. There was much interested in Yitzhak Rudashevski’s Vilnius ghetto diary recently published in Lithuanian translation. This book was recognized by the Vilnius Book Fair as one of the best-designed books of 2018. Readers also expressed interest in and bought Uri Leviatan’s From Hand to Hand and Ruth Reches’s Hebrew dictionary in Lithuanian, among others.

Those wishing to purchase these books and others are invited to come to the Goodwill Foundation at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius or to visit the foundation’s internet store at https://gvf.lt/e-parduotuve/

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony at Choral Synagogue

The Choral Synagogue in Vilnius is to hold a bar and bat mitzvah ceremony at 4:00 P.M. on March 11 for boys about to turn or already 13 and girls about to turn or already 12.

To register send an email to rabbi@jewishlita.com or call 8 685 08 550.