Learning

Markas Petuchauskas’s Book Price of Concord Presented in Berlin

Markas Petuchauskas’s Book Price of Concord Presented in Berlin

The Lithuanian embassy in Germany on May 15 hosted a presentation of Markas Petuchauskas’s memoires The Price of Concord now translated into German as Der Preis der Eintracht, published by the LIT Verlag publishing house in Germany. Mark Roduner translated the book which was originally published in English. The director Grigory von Leit, with Litvak roots, read excerpts from the book. A discussion with the author followed. The vent was organized by the embassy of the Republic of Lithuania to Germany in cooperation with the Lietis Academy and Archive and the Lithuanian Culture Institute.

This isn’t the first time the German translation of Litvak drama critic Markas Petuchauskas was presented in Germany. Back in March there were two presentations of the book at the Leipzig International Book Fair.

The Price of Concord is a compendium of more than five decades of conversation with a number of theater figures, artists and musicians in which keen observations and sudden realizations and correspondence with different well-known personalities turn into a seamless book, one of whose sections contains complex moments of a fairly diverse life. Petuchauskas goes beyond discussion of episodes remembered from childhood and loss of family members leading to the pain experienced during occupation, and recalls the goodness, understanding and help of so many people encountered in the course of life.

Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Holds Bar/Bat Mitzva Cermemonies

Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Holds Bar/Bat Mitzva Cermemonies

Fifty-six seventh graders from the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius celebrated their bar and bat mitzvas Monday. This coming-of-age ceremony is extremely important in Judaism. Following the ceremony a boy or girl is considered an adult. Whereas before his or her parents are responsible for the child following the traditions and laws of Judaism, after the ceremony the individual is himself or herself responsible and has the right to study Torah, follow its laws and is considered responsible for his or her actions.

Leron Blank celebrated his bar mitzva at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius. Before the ceremony Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky spoke about how significant this ceremony is for every Jewish boy, his family and his friends.

“This is a great joy–publicly, following all the rules–to celebrate bar mitzva! My bar mitzva was at home with the curtains closed… We were, after all, afraid… It was dangerous… So we really appreciate what we have,” Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium principal Miša Jakobas said at the ceremony. Leron read a passage from the Torah out in public, an essential part of the ceremony. His parents, teachers, relatives and friends watched with obvious emotion.

Irish Litvaks Celebrate Sabbath at Choral Synagogue

A delegation of 26 Jews from the Republic of Ireland visited Lithuania last week and attended a special Sabbath celebration held Friday for them at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius.

The tour was organized by the Irish Jewish Community with help from Irish ambassador to Lithuania David Noonan and his Lithuanian counterpart in Dublin, ambassador Egidijus Meilūnas. Most Irish Jews are descended from Litvaks with the major wave of immigration before World War I. Since then there has been little contact between Litvaks and Ireland and Litvaks in Lithuania. The Irish delegation is re-establishing contact while exploring their own roots, visiting their ancestral shtetls. Not all members of the delegation belong to the Irish Jewish Community, but all do share a connection with it.

Ambassador Noonan said: “I am very happy to see the visit taking place–the connection between the Jewish communities is one of the earliest connections between Ireland and Lithuania and deserves greater exploration. I was honoured to join the group on Friday for dinner and the Sabbath service; it was not my first time in the Synagogue but it was the first time I attended a service there. To attend with my fellow Irishmen and women made it a very special occasion indeed.”

Vilnius Jewish Religious Community chairman Simas Levinas said the Irish party had Sabbath dinner on the second floor of the synagogue and everyone was very satisfied with the event. Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said the Irish Jewish delegation were very religiously devout and did all the proper things to mark Sabbath. Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon also attended the Sabbath celebration.

German Translation of Markas Petuchauskas’s Book at Lithuanian Embassy Berlin

German Translation of Markas Petuchauskas’s Book at Lithuanian Embassy Berlin

The German translation of Markas Petuchauskas’s book “The Price of Concord” (Der Preis der Eintracht) will be presented at the Lithuanian embassy in Berlin May 15. The event will be moderated by theater director Gregorij H. von Leitis who is known for his work presenting and promoting Jewish culture. Von Leitis has Litvak roots.

This is not the first presentation of Petuchauskas’s book in Germany. Back in March it made a splash at the Leipzig International Book Fair with well-known personalities leading a panel discussion about the Litvak drama critic’s main work published originally in English.

Musical Evening “The Sounds of Music and Janusz Korczak”

Musical Evening “The Sounds of Music and Janusz Korczak”

Time: 5:30 P.M., May 15, 2019
Place: Central Library of the City of Vilnius

The Dr. Janusz Korczak Center and the Central Library of the City of Vilnius are pleased to invite you to an evening of music entitled Sounds of Music and Janusz Korczak.

Markas Volynskij and Marija Duškina will perform Yiddish songs.

Dr. Janusz Korczak Center director I. Belienė will be master of ceremonies.

Janusz Korczak’s real name was Henrik Goldshmit and was also known as Stary Doktor (Old Doctor) and Pan Doktor (Mr. Doctor). He was born in Warsaw on July 22, 1878, and died in August of 1942 at Treblinka. He was a doctor, teacher, writer, publicist and Jewish public figure. He was the originator of children’s rights and the idea that children should enjoy equal rights.

The Central Library of the City of Vilnius is located at Žirmūnų street no. 6 in Vilnius.

Rescuers Celebrated in Kaunas

Rescuers Celebrated in Kaunas

The Kaunas Jewish Community continued this year its spring tradition of commemorating those who rescued Jews from the Holocaust.

Rescuers and the rescued came together again in a warm celebration of friendship and humanity. Professor Saulius Kaušinis who spoke at this year’s event said it and the stories behind could serve as an example of peace and peaceful coexistence in today’s world troubled by conflict, hate and terrorism.

This year the commemoration coincided with Holocaust Day and six candles were lit in memory of the six million Jews murdered in Europe.

Tenth-grade Art Gymnasium student Patricija Pugžlytė performed a piece from Schindler’s List on cello. Actress Kristina Kazakevičiūtė, herself the daughter of a rescuer, helped create an atmosphere of reflection and at the same time joy, and after all the point of the ceremony was to celebrate life. The saxophonist Michail Javič also performed.

It was sad to note the dwindling ranks of both the rescuers and the rescued, but at the same time it was a great joy to see their children and grandchildren there who were eager to share their family stories.

Why Does the Founder of an International Corporation Talk about a Small Lithuanian Town?

Why Does the Founder of an International Corporation Talk about a Small Lithuanian Town?

by Romas Sadauskas-Kvietkevičius, DELFI.lt

According to Felix Zandman, the founder of the famous semiconductors producer Vishay International, whenever a new company client asked what the name of the corporation means, he told them about his grandmother and the mass murder of the Jews of Veisiejai.

Vishay is the Jewish name of Veisiejai used from the 18th century to the Holocaust. Survivors scattered around the world carried with them memories of their town and local placenames. The large Jewish population of the small town migrated before the war as well, and by the end of the 19th century of the 1,540 local inhabitants, 974 were Jewish. The Jewish population was rounded up and shot with other Jews from the Lazdijai district at Katkiškė village. The town of Veisiejai was probably best known for Ludovik Zamenhof, or Dr. Esperanto, who lived there in 1886 and 1887.

Felix Zandman passed away in 2011. His company had turnover in earlier years of $2.6 billion and employed over 20,000 people, or about 10 times the population of Veisiejai today.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Irena Vesaitė Awarded Polish Prize

Irena Vesaitė Awarded Polish Prize

Kauno diena

The Borders ethnic, cultural and art foundation in Sejny, Poland, awarded its “Person on the Edge” prize to Lithuanian professor Irena Vesaitė Thursday.

“Her intellectual courage and active community work has made Vesaitė a true moral authority in Lithuania and Europe. The path upon which she found meaning and her goal is the path of the teacher who understands life itself as art,” foundation director Krzysztof Czyżewski said in a press release from the Ministry of Culture.

The press release said the professor was awarded the prize for her practice of the ethos of the marginalized, her art and her philosophy of life which were an inspiration to all recipients of the prize and a pillar of support in moments of doubt.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Victory Day at the LJC

Victory Day at the LJC

The world marks Victory Day, the end of World War II, on May 8 and 9, and every year the Lithuanian Jewish Community has honored the veterans and the fallen. This year Victory Day coincided with Israel’s national holidays to honor fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terrorism as well as the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel. This year Israeli veterans also attended the LJC ceremony.

As in prior years, veterans were singled out and congratulated and thanked, including this year Fania Brancovskaja, Riva Špiz, Tatjana Archipova Efros, Borisas Berinas and Aleksandras Asovsky.

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky greeted veterans as did executive director Renaldas Vaisbrodas and Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon, himself a military veteran. Žana Skudovičienė moderated the ceremony.

Heritas: Special Focus on Litvak Heritage

Heritas: Special Focus on Litvak Heritage

The second Heritas International Exhibit on Heritage Recognition, Maintenance and Technologies held May 3 and 4 focused on Lithuanian Jewish or Litvak heritage.

In cooperation with the Lithuanian Jewish Community attendees had the unique opportunity to visit the Zavl synagogue currently undergoing restoration at Gėlių street no. 6 in Vilnius.

The seminar portion of the exhibit discussed a topic proposed by LJC heritage protection specialist Martynas Užpelkis, “Litvak Heritage: A Matter for the Jewish Community and/or Local Communities?”

Suicide Prevention Workshop safeTALK

Suicide Prevention Workshop safeTALK

The public health unit of the Vilnius municipality invites the public to attend a workshop called safeTALK on suicide prevention to teach people how to recognize the signs of someone in crisis and how to react appropriately to suicidal behavior.

The workshop will be held from 2 to 6:00 P.M. on May 23, 2019, at the Lithuanian Jewish Community located at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. Speakers include Vaiva Juškevičiūtė and Giedrė Putelytė. Note the workshop will run for four hours with a break.

This is a Lithuanian adaptation of the safeTALK suicide prevention program created by the LivingWorks Education organization. It is constantly updated based on global academic studies and practical experience in the field of suicide prevention. The workshops are conducted by a team of specialists trained and certified by LivingWorks Education. For more information on the workshops, see http://www.vvsb.lt/mokymai-ir-renginiai/ in Lithuanian and https://www.livingworks.net/programs/safetalk/ in English.

The workshop is accredited by the Lithuanian Health Protection Ministry and is financed by the city of Vilnius. Those completing the workshop will be issued an international certificate. Prior registration is required and space is limited. Register here: http://www.vvsb.lt/savizudybiu-prevencija/

Ilan Club Invites Children to Another Animation Workshop

Ilan Club Invites Children to Another Animation Workshop

The Ilan Club invites children to another animation workshop this Sunday, May 12, at 1:30 P.M., at the Ilan Club on the second floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius.

Registration is required. Send an email to sofja@lzb.lt or call 8 601 46656

We will create scenes for an animated film. We will draw, move and film and use this material to create animated characters. The children themselves will be the main characters in the cartoon.

Ceremony to Commemorate Ghetto Fighters and Murdered Ghetto Children

Ceremony to Commemorate Ghetto Fighters and Murdered Ghetto Children

Lithuanian Jewish Community members gathered at the Jewish cemetery on Sudervės road in Vilnius May 8 to commemorate those who fell fighting the Nazis and the victims of fascism.

They assembled at a monument to Vilnius ghetto FPO (Fareinikte partizaner organizatsye) leader Yitzhak Vitenberg and partisan Sheyna Madeisker.

LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky recalled the number of Jews living in Lithuania before the Nazi occupation and the horror and tragedy of the majority who were murdered. Jewish partisan Fania Brancovskaja spoke in Yiddish about the painful experience of the war and the loss of family. “Do not forget those who were murdered, they fought for your freedom,” she said.

Hebrew and English Summer Day Camp for Children

Hebrew and English Summer Day Camp for Children

The Hebrew and English summer day camp in Vilnius is a summer camp for younger children where they will receive fun lessons and get a chance to use their knowledge of the Hebrew and English languages, to play with people their own age and dive into the wonderful and enthralling world of learning.

It is for children aged 6 to 11. The camp will run from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. from June 10 to 14.

Children will engage in four academic hours of Hebrew and English activities in the morning. According to age and level of proficiency, language group activities will work on all four aspects of language acquisition: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Activities and excursions in the afternoon are oriented towards fostering creativity and learning about the social and cultural environment. Children will be guided by camp leaders at the creative workshops in carrying out creative tasks.

Snacks, lunch and excursions are included in the cost for the camp.

For more information and to register, contact Ruth at +37068689530.

Artist Adasa Skliutauskaitė Records the Sincerity of Being

Artist Adasa Skliutauskaitė Records the Sincerity of Being

Photo: Lilija Valatkienė: Skliutauskaitė’s canvasses enchant with their freedom of improvisation and virtuosity

Today we visit painter, graphic designer and puppeteer Adasa Skliutauskaitė. Life hasn’t spared her pain, loss and disappointment. As if in response to that, as if to ransom that guilt, destiny has given her talent, optimism, a great sense of humor and longevity. On May 5 Adasa turned 88.

“To a genial artist, a good friend and an incomparable utterer of profanity, with the the most profound appreciation and gratitude,” the dedication of Grigoriy Kanovich’s book Candles in the Wind reads in praise of that book’s illustrator, Adasa Skliutauskaitė.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

The World of Animation at the Ilan Club

The World of Animation at the Ilan Club

Probably all of us wanted to learn how to make animated cartoons in our childhood. This dream came true at the Ilan Club with married couple Jurijus and Milana Rozovskis. On Sunday, April 28, children were invited to make a cartoon with them. Ilan Club was transformed into a real animation studio.

The group decided to animate the classic Russian fairytale Turnip (репа) well known in Lithuanian translation (Ropė). They added to the story with new characters and they themselves became protagonists in the tale.

Milana and Jurijus told and showed the children how make the animation characters move and have facial expressions. The children enthusiastically listened, drew, cut out, painted and posed for the animated film.

Milana answered a few questions for us as well:

Milana, was this activity your idea?

Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Marks Israeli Independence Day

Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium Marks Israeli Independence Day

Compared to earlier extravaganzas this year the Sholem Aleichem school in Vilnius held a remarkably low-key celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmaut or Israeli independence day on May 9, commemorating Israel’s 71st birthday.

Two years ago a dance troupe juggled flaming objects in tandem followed by a mass overflight of drones. Last year was also special to mark 70 years of independence. This year teachers and staff held a small commemoration ceremony inside the school during the day with voluntary attendance by students, followed by games and a picnic on the athletics field. A sound system provided the appropriate Israeli songs for the occasion and there was a tripod set up over live coals where a woman in a peasant costume cooked fresh bread. Parents brought picnic foods and set them on benches outside according to the class their child or children were in. A small game took place on the court where children threw balls lined with velcro at a similarly velcroed target. Those who made it within two rings of the bullseye received a candy. Participants appeared to have a great time just because parents and children had a chance to meet and socialize.

Righteous Gentile Vladas Drupas Has Died

Righteous Gentile Vladas Drupas Has Died

Photo: Drupas in his Zlin 326A airplane, 2015.

With deep sadness we report the death of Righteous Gentile Vladas Drupas who rescued Jews as a young man. He was a rescuer and a pilot who flew up until his last breath. Let him go to his reward together with the other Righteous Gentiles who have passed on.

Drupas never considered himself a hero for rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. It was like pulling teeth to get him to even talk about the events of 1943 and 1944 in Šiauliai and environs where a silent battled against the Nazis took place in hiding individual Jews and Jewish families.

Virginija Skučaitė wrote about Drupas in the Kauno Diena newspaper in 2016. It was one of the last publications about the courageous man:

§§§

Winged Senior Saved Jewish Lives in Youth
by Virginija Skučaitė
October 3, 2016

Famous Russian Actress Elina Bystritskaya Has Died

Famous Russian Actress Elina Bystritskaya Has Died

Famous Russian actress Elina Bystritskaya died April 26 at the age of 91. From 1953 to 1958 she was an actress at the Russian Drama Theater in Vilnius. Her father was the military doctor Abraham Bystritsky and her mother was Ester. Both are buried at the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius.

She passed away following prolonged illness.

She was born April 4, 1928, in Kiev. Her father hoped she would become a doctor or teacher and she was graduated with a degree in medicine, later working as a midwife and gynecologist. After delivering 15 babies, she decided to go into drama instead, and matriculated at the Kiev Theater Institute. A great beauty, her friends nicknamed her the Blue Sock. Initially following graduation she wasn’t able to find work, but began working in Vilnius in 1953. Fame shone on her when she acted in the film adaption of And Quietly Flows the Down (released in parts in 1957 and 1958). She was sent to Moscow to act and did so on the stage and film.