Religion

Panevėžys Jewish Community Sends Passover Greetings

Panevėžys Jewish Community Sends Passover Greetings

Despite the complicated time in the world, the dates assigned by the Torah to the holidays don’t change and they are part of the history and story of the Jewish people. Passover is one of the main Jewish holy days. Over the days of Passover Jews remember their historic liberation from slavery.

During these difficult days I wish you patience, the love of those around you and endurance. Maintain hygienic requirements and adhere to the safety measures as we fight the corona virus.

Gennady Kofman, chairman
Panevėžys Jewish Community

Thank You for Helping LJC Seniors

Thank You for Helping LJC Seniors

Lithuanian Jewish Community administrative secretary Liuba Šerienė would like to send a big thank-you to Social Department director Michailas Segalas and staff members Ema Jakobienė, Ninel Skudovičiūtė, Rokas Dobrovolskis and Neringa Stankevičienė and colleagues, and to Michailas Tarasovas, Aušra, Snieguolė, Danutė Lena, Žana and Sonia for their great work helping our Social Department clients and senior citizens. Thank you so very much.

We Can’t Give Up Hope Now

We Can’t Give Up Hope Now

Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky. Photo: Blanka Weber

by Blanka Weber

The country’s Jewish community is watching the time of pandemic with alarm

Faina Kukliansky is currently managing her life and that of her members from her home office in Vilnius. “This is a time that demands everything from us,” the 65-year-old chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community says.

This is a time when preparations for Passover would be underway normally. The Bagel Shop next to the Community building on Pylimo street is now only open for a few hours and only accepts cards for payment. Cash is forbidden. There are strict rules here, too. Matzo will be distributed to Community members here and should be delivered in the next few days.

Chief Rabbis Call on Jews to Keep It Together

Chief Rabbis Call on Jews to Keep It Together

An open letter

An open letter from the Chief Rabbis of the world

8 Nisan 5780
2 April 2020

This Shabbat–the Shabbat before Pesach–is called Shabbat HaGadol, the Great Shabbat.

It was first celebrated at the birth of the Jewish people, moments before the dawn of our deliverance from Egyptian slavery.

Every Jewish family, alone in their homes in Egypt, sat fervently anticipating the united dream of deliverance and nationhood.

Three thousand, three hundred and thirty-two years later, this Shabbat HaGadol, we too sit, isolated in our own homes, once again united in our fervent prayer for relief from the global pandemic that has shaken our world to its core.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Prepares for Passover Despite Quarantine, Slander

Lithuanian Jewish Community Prepares for Passover Despite Quarantine, Slander

Three teams of volunteers have been busy daily delivering kosher matzo to LJC senior citizens and Social Center clients for several days now, but today the LJC received reports unnamed characters have been calling Community members telling them not to accept the matzo deliveries because the matzo bread is allegedly old. This isn’t true and it seems aimed at creating additional difficulties during an already difficult time for our seniors.

There are consequences for slander.

We would like to warn all Community members that during this health emergency there are scam artists and con men who might call your telephone spreading misinformation and seeking money from you. Please be careful and vigilant.

The LJC is not asking for any money or fees at this time from Social Center clients and seniors. The matzo boxes we are delivering bear the date of manufacture so you can check the freshness for yourself. We have made available an internet ordering scheme on this web page for those wishing to purchase matzo for home delivery with details for making prior payment exclusively by bank card.

Please note we received shipments of matzo in March and that we stored these boxes under strict quarantine. Your health and safety is our primary concern and we find it extremely regretful unnamed people are spreading disinformation about us and our activities.

Passover 5780

Passover 5780

This year we are recommending you spend Passover at home with family. We have prepared kits with everything needed for the traditional kosher seder which can be ordered by internet. Orders must be received before April 5.

The order form in Russian and Lithuanian is available here:
https://www.torah4lithuania.com/seder-to-go

Let’s Talk: LJC Chairwoman Delivers Video Address to Members

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky has posted a video address to members. She said the following:

“Good day. I am addressing members of our Jewish community. Unfortunately, I can’t speak with you in person. Under these conditions I must speak with the aid of technology, but I would say the exact same thing if we were speaking in person.

“A certain time has come which is not pleasant and not favorable to anyone. Somehow we must live through this period with the hope that this period overall will end sometime. I believe that very much, and I hope it will end very soon.

EJC Video Conference with Communities around Europe

EJC Video Conference with Communities around Europe

The Security and Crisis Center of the European Jewish Community and heads of security and representatives of Jewish communities in Ireland, Span, Italy and Belgium held a video conference March 30 on the ZOOM platform* to discuss best practices during the current virus epidemic. Milo Hasbani, president of the Milan Jewish community, reported 8 members had died. Topics included welfare checks on members, delivering Passover foods and maintaining Jewish life via internet under quarantine conditions. Participants also discussed a possible rise in anti-Semitic activities during Passover and during the viral epidemic. EJC representatives called for more such video conferences in the coming weeks.

* Please note the ZOOM platform, created by Chinese national Eric Yuan, is notoriously unsafe, insecure and has even been called malware by responsible observers. The U.S. military recently banned the Chinese-controlled TikTok app among its ranks. For more, see: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/02/zoom-technology-security-coronavirus-video-conferencing

Israel Bans Public Assemblies of More Than 2 People, New Restrictions on Labor

Israel Bans Public Assemblies of More Than 2 People, New Restrictions on Labor

Israel will ban meetings of more than 2 people and will place addition restrictions on workplaces. Speaking to the country, the prime minister said security forces will carry out state-of-emergency directives to stop the spread of the corona virus. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on Israelis not to hold family gatherings during the Passover holiday.

The Prime Minister’s Office also reported Monday Netanyahu and his advisors will remain in quarantine after a Government staff member tested positive for the new virus.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Operations under Quarantine

Lithuanian Jewish Community Operations under Quarantine

Although public life has ground to a halt following the introduction of health quarantine measures in Lithuania, the Lithuanian Jewish Community continues to care for the elderly, to provide services and will send Social Center workers on home visits to prepare food and shop for groceries and medicine. The Community building in Vilnius is closed to visitors for now, the Choral Synagogue remains closed for at least two weeks and all scheduled events have been canceled.

All questions related to home care by the Social Center should be directed to Snieguolė Zalepūgienė by telephone at 8 672 65615.

For permission to conduct burials, call LJC secretary Liuba Šerienė by telephone at 8 685 06900. Please have document copies ready, including death certificates, birth certificates for the deceased and documents proving blood relations with the deceased. You should also have digital copies of these same documents prepared. Questions on documents and drafting formal written requests for burial should be directed to Liuba.

For the time being newspapers will not be distributed to Social Center clients. The plan is to distribute matzo next week.

Stay tuned to this page for further announcements and information.

Matzo Deliveries to LJC Seniors

Matzo Deliveries to LJC Seniors

Dear Community members,

The Social Programs Department of the Lithuanian Jewish Community has traditionally distributed matzo free of charge to our clients throughout Lithuania, usually coming to about 1,200 one-kilogram boxes of matzo. Our seniors are in the main risk group for corona virus infect, including about 300 are Holocaust survivors. The LJC has made deliveries of matzo to all the regional communities. These organizations are deciding on the method for distribution in their regions. We are doing all we can to insure this important symbol of Passover reach every seder table even in the most remote parts of Lithuania.

In Vilnius we have accepted the challenge of delivering a box of matzo to every Social Center client. That’s more than 900 boxes.

You might be able to help. If you’ve been in self-quarantine for 14 days with no symptoms, if you haven’t come in contact with large groups of people and haven’t recently travelled abroad, and want to help deliver matzo to seniors, fill out the volunteer form at https://forms.gle/ByKBXckyRZFhVzbCA

For more information contact Sofja by telephone at 8 672 57 540 or write sofja@lzb.lt

How to Get Matzo

How to Get Matzo

Dear Community members,

The Lithuanian Jewish Community wants to insure safe methods for acquiring matzo this year and suggests members order by internet for home delivery.

The cost is 6 euros for a one-kilogram box of matzo bread wafers and 4 euros for a 454-gram bag of matzo flour.

Delivery is being set up in Vilnius and orders will be accepted until April 2.

To order you need to have internet banking. Open your banking page and transfer money to the LJC bank account LT097044060000907953 for the number of boxes and bags you want. You must indicate on the money transfer form your name, surname, exact delivery address, a contact telephone number, an e-mail address and exactly which items you want in what amount.

Here’s an example of what to include:
John Smith, Obuolių g. 1-11, Vilnius, 8 123 45678, john@john.com, 3 packages of matzo, two packages of flour

A coordinator will contact you with delivery details for orders made and paid before April 2 and delivery is to take place by April 7. No cash will be accepted upon delivery. The LJC isn’t responsible if supplies run out, quarantine measures become stricter or purchasers fail to provide the information required.

For more information call 8 672 16 982 or write an e-mail to pesach2020@lzb.lt

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky Makes Special Plea to All Members

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky Makes Special Plea to All Members

Dear members,

We are living through a time of quarantine and every day we hear how the number of infected is growing, and we hear calls not to leave the house and to preserve our health. Despite the warnings, we are finding out not all LJC members understand the rules must be followed.

Our dear members, I beg you, do not go to the store if you don’t have to. Don’t leave the house, especially if you are elderly and in the main risk group. The LJC’s Social Center is taking care of you daily, our home-care workers are visiting clients and bringing food to homes. Masks have been ordered and all clients will be supplied with them. Passover is coming and matzo will be provided traditionally as a gift to all seniors. Some have already received theirs, others will receive matzo before seder. Please, protect yourself and your family, and be healthy.

Plan for Commemorating Vilnius Great Synagogue Becomes Clearer

Plan for Commemorating Vilnius Great Synagogue Becomes Clearer


by Roberta Tracevičiūtė for 15min.lt

The Vilnius city municipality reports agreement has been reached wit the Lithuanian Jewish Community on how best to commemorate the site of the former Great Synagogue in Vilnius’s historical Jewish quarter.

The plan according to the city is to set up a memorial square or park with an open-air exhibition and no permanent construction of any kind. According to the city, the undeveloped other side of Jewish Street will host a playground and athletics field [which it does now--LZB].

Discussion on how to commemorate the site has gone on for years. Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius said earlier the synagogue site will be commemorated in 2023 when Vilnius celebrates its 700th birthday.

Matzo Will Be Available from March 25 to April 3 at Bagel Shop Café

Matzo Will Be Available from March 25 to April 3 at Bagel Shop Café

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has set up a safe way to get matzo for Passover via the Bagel Shop Café. Payment will be by bank card exclusively. The cost for a 1-kilogram box is 5 euros, and for a 454-gram bag of matzo flour the price is 3 euros. Pick-ups can be made between the hours of 10:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. from March 25 to April 4, presumably excluding the Sabbath. Please call 8 685 06 900 for more information.

LJC Social Center Caring for Elderly

LJC Social Center Caring for Elderly

All LJC Social Center clients are at risk for the viral epidemic not just because of age but also because of illness. The media have reported the mortality rate for the ill and elderly continues to grow.

Doctor Ela Gurina is a member of the LJC Social Center Commission and the chairwoman of the committee for advising Holocaust survivors. She wants to remind walk-in care staff of the Social Center how to act during the epidemic.

What work are LJC Social Center employees engaged in currently?

Employees have to take care of their clients as well as possible. To isolate them from the environment so they don’t enter public spaces. They can only walk around in places where there aren’t other people and not to engage in conversation with people they encounter. When they get home they must wash their hands for at least two minutes with soap and water, and use a special disinfectant which destroys viruses. The Community is supplying the necessary disinfectant.

Matzo from Jerusalem Reaches LJC

Matzo from Jerusalem Reaches LJC

A shipment of matzo has reached the Lithuanian Jewish Community. This year as the country labors under health quarantine we will be delivering matzo to members in a safe manner, which we will announce soon. Stay tuned for more information.


Waiting for Passover to begin…

Choral Synagogue Closed for Two Weeks

Choral Synagogue Closed for Two Weeks

The Choral Synagogue in Vilnius will be closed for at least two weeks as of now. Follow this page for more information in the coming days. Vilnius Religious Jewish Community chairman Shmuel (Simas) Levinas reported a majority of minyan members, many of whom are elderly and thus fall into the main risk category for catching the corona virus, agreed it was best to halt temporarily religious activities at the synagogue, in line with recommendations issued by the Lithuanian Government. The synagogue will remain closed for the rest of March, the chairman reported.

Changes in LJC Operations after State of Emergency

Changes in LJC Operations after State of Emergency

Dear Community members,

Following the announcement of a state of emergency in Lithuania, the daily operations of the Lithuanian Jewish Community has changed as well. We must postpone all planned events and restrict admission of visitors, and some employees are now working from home.

We thank you for your understanding and patience. We are always ready to help you and to answer any questions, and we hope you will take into consideration this unusual situation and that we will overcome these difficult challenges together.

Please note:

• ALL Community events have been canceled, both at the Community building and elsewhere;
• we strongly request that visits to the Community building at Pylimo street no. 4 only be made if there is a serious need to do so;
• if you want to meet a specific LJC employee, please agree on the meeting with that person by telephone beforehand;
• for permission for burials, please call secretary Liuba Šerienė at +37068506900.

IMPORTANT: prepare copies beforehand of death certificates and documents showing family ties, and digital documents are preferred.

Continue to follow the LJC web page where we will announce all changes in the operations of the LJC administration and LJC Social Center.

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky’s Purim Greeting

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky’s Purim Greeting

Purim is the happiest Jewish holiday. It’s unfortunate the fun is so brief and gives way to everyday reality which isn’t always as happy. Nonetheless I wish everyone as many good, happy days as possible.

Let’s live like Queen Esther, the symbol of the beauty, intelligence and cleverness of Jewish women who gave us victory against our hapless enemies who wanted to destroy the Jewish community and who so shamefully failed in that.

It’s not in vain we read the Book of Esther believing women are in no way weaker than men!