News

Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Jewish Gymnasium Celebrates 70th Anniversary of State of Israel

The Sholem Aleichem ORT Jewish Gymnasium in Vilnius celebrated Israeli’s 70th birthday Thursday with pride and enthusiasm. Teachers, students and parents were joined by principal Miša Jakobas and Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis. Also speaking were Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon, Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, leaders of regional Lithuanian Jewish communities, members of the Lithuanian parliament and Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius. Among other things, the speakers talked of Israel’s strength, achievements, discoveries and inventions of global significance and of Israel as an example for Lithuania to follow.

The event featured an orchestra and students from all grades performing song and dance. Teachers also sang and parents brought dishes for an outdoors potluck on the school’s playground and athletics field.

Condolences

Ela Kruglova passed away April 19. She was born January 12, 1947. Our condolences and sympathies to her daughter and son in this time of pain.

Saulėtekis School Ensemble Celebrates Israel’s 70th Birthday at LJC

The students of the Vilnius Polish Saulėtekis school gave another outstanding performance of song, dance and skits to celebrate Israeli independence day at the Lithuanian Jewish Community April 19.

The third floor hall of the LJC was packed well before the performance began. Žana Skudovičienė and LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky welcomed the audience–mainly senior citizens in the Community’s Abi Men Zet Zikh Club–to this remarkable celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday. Also in attendance were various Jewish Community leaders, including Mikhail Shapiro, the chairman of the Švenčionys Jewish Community.

Students from all different grades at the Vilnius Saulėtekis School sang in Yiddish, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Russian and English in high quality, well-choreographed performances.

The highlight of their performance was a moving rendition of the 1967 hit song Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, Jerusalem of Gold, as the penultimate song in their program. The sincerity of the young student singers was unmistakable and a good portion of the audience stood up as if it were the national anthem of Israel (which it almost became in the 1970s). Some remained standing until the end of the song, others actually wiped tears from their eyes. This was followed by the Israeli anthem haTikvah, The Hope, for which everyone stood. The students’ version was so good it was impossible not to give them a standing ovation.

Following the Israeli national anthem the audience lingered in the foyer drinking coffee and eating pastry and sandwiches.

Lithuanian PM: Let’s Protect Our Common Lithuanian and Israeli Cultural Legacy

Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis Thursday visited the Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymansium to attend a celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday.

THe Lithuanian prime minister greeted principal Mišą Jakobas, Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon and other honored guests at the event on the occasion of Israeli independence day.

The Lithuanian PM thanked the Lithuanian Jewish Community for consistently defending the country and supporting its independence, and for making significant contributions to the development of Lithuania currently.

“Lithuania really appreciates our partnership with Israel. Youth exchange programs are growing, our economic mercantile cooperation has been stimulated, and we place great hopes on efforts by the international community to insure peace and security. We are hoping Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu will visit Lithuania this year. By June during our visit to Israel we are planning a discussion by both Governments on relations,” the Lithuanian prime minister said about expanding ties and pragmatic cooperation between Lithuania and Israel.

Full text in Lithuanian here.

Commemorating Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Lauder Appeals to Poles and Jews to Remember “Common Bonds” and “Truths”

Press Release
April 19, 2018

World Jewish Congress delegation travels to Poland to commemorate 75th anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

In address at official state ceremony, WJC president Ronald S. Lauder appeals to Poles and Jews to remember “common bonds” and “the truth”

WARSAW–World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder spoke Thursday at Poland’s official state ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, following an address by Polish president Andrzej Duda. In his address, Lauder appealed to both Poles and Jews to remember “our shared history, our friendship, our common bonds, and the truth,” and to “stand together now to make sure that our children and our grandchildren never know the true horrors that took place right her, 75 years ago.”

In his address, Polish president Duda described the events of April 1943 as an “uprising of the people who decided to keep their dignity… Did they think they would become heroes…no for sure they were not thinking about that… But today all of us are bowing our heads very low to their courage determination bravery… They perished for dignity, they perished for freedom but they perished for Poland because they were Polish citizens… Poles and Jews deeply care about having one shared historical truth.”

Memorial Plaque Unveiled on Ninth Fort Mass Murder Field

At the field of mass murder at the Ninth Fort in Kaunas a ceremony to unveil a memorial plaque took place April 13. The plaque commemorates the Jews deported from Frankfurt murdered on November 25, 1941, at the Ninth Fort.

Kaunas Jewish Community chairman Gercas Žakas, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon, deputy Lithuanian foreign minister Darius Skusevičius, Kaunas municipality deputy director of administration Nijolė Putrienė, Frankfurt Administration Cultural Department director Johannes Promnitz and representatives of the Brueder-Schoenfeld Forum participated. The memorial plaque was the result of cooperation between the Kaunas Ninth Fort Museum, the Kaunas municipality, the Brueder-Schoenfeld Forum organization and the Frankfurt municipality.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė Congratulates Israel on Independence Anniversary

Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė greeted Israeli president Reuven Rivlin on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence. She wished the State of Israel and all of its people peace, unity and success on the occasion of this important milestone.

“The head of state said Lithuania is proud of its active Jewish community and our shared history, human relations and growing mutual understanding.”

Full press release in English here.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Congratulates Israel on 70 Years of Independence

Lithuanian prime minister Saulius Skvernelis greeted Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and all the Israeli people on the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence.

“I wish the people of Israel peace, security, constant well-being and all manner of success. Lithuania highly esteems our partnership with Israel. The close ties between Israel and Lithuania have contributed to the comprehensively developing, very friendly and intense relations between our countries. We take great joy in the contribution Lithuanian Jews made to the founding of the State of Israel. I am certain our great cooperation–both bilaterally and at the international level–will continue to take place in a spirit of mutual understanding and will thus strengthen the ties between our people,” the Lithuanian PM said in his greeting.

PM Skvernelis also invited his Israeli counterpart to visit Lithuania which this year is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the restoration of her statehood.

Court Declines New Hearing on Lithuanian Jewish Community Regulations Case

The Lithuanian Jewish Community reminds readers the Vilnius District Court decision of November 22, 2017, found LJC regulation 7.1 on proportional regional representation at LJC elections null and void.

The Vilnius, Klaipėda, Ukmergė and Šiauliai Jewish Communities sought to renew hearings in this case, but because they sought to revisit the legal question rather than present any new facts, the court issued a decision it would not reopen the case. This decision was issued and came into effect April 18, 2018.

Section 4 of article 8 of the Lithuanian law on associations provides each member of an association without regard to the number of people making up a corporate entity has exacltly one vote at a general meeting of members (election conferences), and this insures the equality of all members and equality in decision making.

Having found a contradiction between the law and the regulations, the LJC board of directors sought to insure the legitimacy and transparency of upcoming elections and by April 19, 2017, voted in the majority to allow one LJC member one vote at the then-upcoming LJC election conference.

The LJC will continue to take all measures necessary to insure the transparency of its activities and adherence to the requirements of the laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

WJC Declaration for Israel’s 70th Birthday

The World Jewish Congress in Jerusalm Tuesday presented Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin their official “Declaration of the Jewish Diaspora’s Commitment to the State of Israel on the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of the State of Israel.”

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky is a signatory to the declaration signed by 83 Jewish community leaders around the world.

Notice Concerning Mini-Maccabiah Games

The Makabi Lithuanian Athletics Club is an associate member of the Lithuanian Jewish Community.

Following the statement by four regional Jewish communities (Klaipėda, Vilnius, Šiauliai and Ukmergė) expressing lack of confidence in the leadership of the LJC, which may be understood additionally as a lack of confidence in the leaders of the athletics club, we are compelled to state that the position of the aforementioned four LJC members does not reflect the opinion of the majority of LJC association members, of which there are 28.

In light of the situation which has arisen, it would not be appropriate to hold the Mini-Maccabiah Games in Klaipėda, because this could give the wrong impression to Lithuanian Jews and could be misinterpreted as some sort of support of the position adopted by the Klaipėda Jewish Community.

We will announce a new date and venue for the Mini-Maccabiah Games in the near future.

Semionas Finkelšteinas, president
Makabi Lithuanian Athletics Club

Healthy Living according to the Torah

Natalja Cheifec presents a new lecture in Lithuanian on the Torah’s attitude towards medicine and human health.

You will hear about:

–Maimonides’s 33 suggestions for remaining healthy into old age;
–the connection between physical and spiritual health;
–does the Jewish worldview have a place for vegetarianism?

and much, much more about how to avoid illness and preserve common sense.

The lecture is to take place at 6:00 P.M. on April 18 on the second floor of the LJC. Admission is free but registration is requested via internet at goo.gl/JbypwU

Piano Concert by Dmitri Levkovich

Time: 7:00 P.M., April 18
Place: Vaidila Theater, Jakšto street no. 9, Vilnius
Ticket price: 13 to 39 euros

Frédéric Chopin · 12 Études Op. 25
Frédéric Chopin · 12 Études Op. 10

DMITRI LEVKOVICH

Ukrainian-Canadian pianist Dmitri Levkovich (b. 1979) has been praised for “artistic sophistication far above the ordinary” by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and “understanding of the music far beyond most young pianists” by the American Record Guide. As a composer, he is known for “heartfelt melodies and big emotional surges,” according to the Broad Street Review.

Dmitri honed his piano skills under the guidance of Sergei Babayan for eleven years and studied composition at the Curtis Institute of Music. Winner of twenty international piano competitions in Germany, China, Italy, Portugal and the United States, he has also earned several audience awards and special prizes, notably for the best performance of Chopin’s works.

His performing credits include solo engagements with the Cleveland Orchestra, China National, Dresden Philharmonic, Gulbenkian, Mariinski and many other prominent orchestras led by George Pehlivanian, Markus Stenz, Sebastian Weigle, Valery Gergiev and other world-famous conductors.

He has performed at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, Berlin Philharmonie, Gulbenkian Foundation, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, and Carnegie Hall.

His recording of Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes has received international acclaim and has earned Dmitri a nomination for the 2016 International Classical Music Award.

To ensure top quality experience for our listeners, no minors under seven years of age will be admitted to any performance of the Vaidilos Klasika program.

Information and tickets here.

Concert Series Continues

The Returns concert series continues today with a performance by Atis Hiacetonas Bankas (Lithuania. Canada) on violin and Victoria Korchinskaya-Kogan (Canada) on piano at the Lithuanian Jewish Community at 6:00 P.M. today, Tuesday, April 17. Admission is free. For more information call 8655 25898 or (85) 2613171.

Condolences

Libė Pesė Lempert, born May 23, 1930, passed away April 16. Our deepest condolences to son Ilya Lempert, daughter-in-law Lara Lempert and all the grandchildren.

Užupis Jewish Cemetery Commemorative Monument Proposal Approved by LJC Advisory Group


The heritage issues advisory group of the Lithuanian Jewish Community has learned of plans for renovating the Užupis Jewish cemetery tendered by the Vilnius municipality and a composition called Arch made of desecrated headstone fragments used as stairs during the Soviet era.

The international creative team behind the Arch are architect Viktorija Sideraitė Alon, creator/designer Albinas Šimanauskas and Israeli architect consultant Anna Perelmuter. The composition uses a symbol created by the Litvak American painter Samuel Bak.

The heritage issues advisory group of the Lithuanian Jewish Community helps solve outstanding Lithuanian Jewish heritage issues professionally and effectively. The group includes Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, POLIN Polish Jewish museum advisor to the director and senior curator of exhibits; Assumpció Hosta, general secretary of the AEPJ; writer Sergejus Kanovičius, founder of Maceva and the Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund; professor James E. Young of University of Massachusetts, Near Eastern Studies, English, Judaism; Samuel Kassow, doctor of philosophy, POLIN senior researcher specializing in 19th century history and the history between the world wars; Lyudmila Sholokhova, PhD, YIVO director of archives and library; and Sergey Kravtsov, senior researcher, Jewish Art Center, Hebrew University.

Experts unanimously supported the artists’ idea for commemorating the Jewish cemetery and offered a number of useful suggestions and observations which will be taken into consideration.

This week members of the advisory group plan to discuss the project proposals with the mayor and city administration specialists.

Later the project ideas and visualizations will be presented to the public.

Israel At 70

by AJC CEO David Harris

Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary this month. Let me put my cards on the table — I’m not dispassionate when it comes to Israel.

For centuries, Jews around the world prayed for a return to Zion. We are the lucky ones who have seen those prayers answered.

The establishment of the state in 1948; the fulfillment of its envisioned role as home and haven for Jews from anywhere and everywhere; its wholehearted embrace of democracy and the rule of law; and its impressive scientific, cultural, and economic achievements are extraordinary accomplishments.