Religion

Family Sabbath Celebration with Guitar Music

Family Sabbath Celebration with Guitar Music

The Lithuanian Jewish Community and Bnei Maskilim invite you to a Sabbath celebration this Friday including not only a family atmosphere, good feelings and great company, but also live guitar.

Time: 6:30 P.M., Friday, February 23
Place: Lithuanian Jewish Community, Vilnius

Cost is 5 euros and registration is required by sending an email to viljamas@lzb.lt or by calling (+370) 672 50699.

Congratulations to Daumantas Todesas

Congratulations to Daumantas Todesas

The Lithuanian Jewish Community congratulates Daumantas Levas Todesas, chairman of the Council of Ethnic Communities, for recognition of his efforts in preserving the Litvak heritage in Lithuania, in representing the interests of the ethnic minority communities in Lithuania and in his public activities promoting the integration of minorities into Lithuanian society, as demonstrated by Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda’s presentation to him of the Lithuanian medal the Order of Merit, the Knight’s Cross, on February 16 at the presidential palace in Vilnius.

Israel Rejects Palestinian Statehood

Israel Rejects Palestinian Statehood

Rebuffing Biden, cabinet rejects unilateral Palestinian state as “reward for terrorism”

Approved even by centrist ministers, the statement rejects “international diktats” pushing two states; minister Sa’ar compares reported US-Arab proposal to appeasement of Nazis in 1938

Israel’s cabinet Sunday unanimously approved a declaration rejecting “international diktats” seeking to push Palestinian statehood in the wake of reports the US and several Arab partners were preparing a detailed plan for a comprehensive peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians which was to include a “firm timeline” for a Palestinian state.

“Israel utterly rejects international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians,” the cabinet decision read. “A settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.

“Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” the motion added. “Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would be a massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism and would foil any future peace settlement.”

Full story here.

Circumcision Specialist Coming to Lithuania Early March

Circumcision Specialist Coming to Lithuania Early March

Circumcision specialist Dr. Martin Harris of Great Britain will visit Vilnius March 3 and 4. He is ready to offer his services to Lithuanian Jewish Community and Jewish religious community members free of charge. Those interested are invited to register by sending an email to sinagoga1903@gmail.com. More information about Dr. Harris is available here.

Abstract Expressionist Shows Work at LJC

Abstract Expressionist Shows Work at LJC

Abstract expressionist painter Simonas Gelminauskis opened an exhibition of his work at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius last Thursday called “From Paris with Love.”

The 18 works on display are the fruit of a decade of creativity following his 22-year break from painting.

“The fall I spent in my studio in the Marais Jewish neighborhood in Paris in the global center of residences of art helped me recover after my father’s death and helped me think about impermanence. So this exhibition is dedicated to love. To the love of life,” the artist said at the opening ceremony for the exhibit. He didn’t chose the venue lightly, either: his current studio is located at the site of the former Great Synagogue on Jewish Street in Vilnius, from which he says he draws artistic inspiration, as he did in the Marais in Paris.

The exhibit will remain on display a the LJC for several months.

Lithuanian President Decorates Goodwill Foundation Co-Chairpeople

Lithuanian President Decorates Goodwill Foundation Co-Chairpeople

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda decorated Goodwill Foundation co-chairpeople Faina Kukliansky and Rabbi Andrew Baker with the Lithuanian Order of Merit, Officer’s Cross, at an awards ceremony held on Restoration of Lithuanian Statehood Day, February 16.

This was in high recognition of their great efforts in promoting Jewish culture and seeking respect and fairness for the Lithuanian Jewish community, seeking appropriate commemoration for victims of the Holocaust and seeking symbolic restitution for their property stolen.

“This award is not just personal recognition, but is a testimony to the entire Lithuanian Jewish Community who haven’t rested in seeking justice, concord, community and joint effort. To be recognized on this important day to us and to Lithuania is a great honor,” attorney, Goodwill Foundation chairman and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said at the ceremony held at the Office of President. She also congratulate Rabbi Andrew Baker, co-chairman of the Goodwill Foundation, on his receipt of the same prize.

Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 5:09 P.M. on Friday, February 16, and concludes at 6:24 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region. Friday is also one of Lithuania’s two independence celebrations, Restoration of the State Day, marking the promulgation of the Act of Independence of Lithuania in Vilnius on February 16, 1918, and is officially observed with government offices and most businesses closed for the day.

Yet Another Anti-Semitic Attack in Lithuania

Yet Another Anti-Semitic Attack in Lithuania

A monument to commemorate Jewish prisoners in the ghetto in Druskininkai, fabricated and erected by private donations, has been knocked over. The latest attack on Lithuanian Jews was discovered Tuesday morning.

“We receive offensive letters daily, rocks are hurled at our Community building, synagogues are being vandalized and anti-Semitic rhetoric rings out from the podium in the national parliament. This seems very much like coordinated activity. This process isn’t getting weaker, on the contrary, it’s accelerating, so we need to take the strictest measures to avert tragedy,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky commented.

Beginning with anti-Semitic statements MP Remigijus Žemaitaitis made last spring and continues to make on the internet and to the press and following Hamas’s terrorist attack killing over a thousand Israelis on October 7, attacks against Lithuanian Jews are growing ever-more frequent. Last week alone the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius and the Šiauliai Jewish Community in Šiauliai were attacked, Nazi and white power symbols were graffitied on a pedestrian bridge in a Vilnius suburb and stickers from an extremist group were plastered on Vilnius mass transit. Both the Choral Synagogue, the only working synagogue in Vilnius, and the Zavl shul synagogue on Gelių street in Vilnius were vandalized.

The vandalism committed on Šv. Jokūbo street in Druskininkai, the southern Lithuanian spa town on the border with Belarus, is just another link in a long chain of anti-Semitic acts. The monument in Druskininkai marks the location of the Druskininkai ghetto stood from 1941 to 1943, where around 900 Jews from the town and surrounding villages and farms were held prisoner before being murdered.

“While other countries and some people criticize Israeli policies, this has nothing at all to do with the Jews who live in Lithuania today. We are Lithuanian citizens and we expect and hope the state will insure our safety,” chairwoman Kukliansky added.

Relationships between Men and Women in Judaism

Relationships between Men and Women in Judaism

Natalja Cheifec invites you to attend her lecture on relationships between men and women in Judaism.

The Talmud says a God-fearing man vindicates an immoral woman but he himself becomes immoral, whereas an immoral man who weds a God-fearing woman becomes God-fearing himself.

Natalja Cheifec will discuss the secrets of the strength of the Jewish family, quick divorce cases, Jewish wedding ceremonies, the concept of love in Judaism and miraculous cases of fertility among Jewish females.

The lecture will be conducted in Lithuanian starting at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 15 via the zoom internet platform. You must register to obtain credentials for accessing the discussion by clicking here.

#NataljosEdukacija

Pro-Hamas Transgender Shoots Up Hispanic Christian Congregation in Houston

Pro-Hamas Transgender Shoots Up Hispanic Christian Congregation in Houston

Genesse Ivonne Moreno, a man “living as a woman,” opened fire on an outdoor Christian congregation gathered for a Spanish-language prayer service at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Sunday. Media reported he had a pro-Palestinian slogan, “Free Palestine,” on the gun he used. Lakewood Church is a so-called mega-church located in a former sports stadium and is one of the largest churches in the United States.

“KHOU and the Houston Chronicle are reporting Moreno, who previously identified as Jeffery Escalante, had an extensive criminal history dating back to 2005, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety records search,” reported the Washington Blade, a gay publication.

Detectives estimate Moreno might have fired as many as 12 rounds during the incident which unfolded in the Lakewood Church Sunday afternoon. The shooter’s weapon was an AR-15, according to CNN and ABC News.

Houston Police Chief Troy Finner disclosed that Moreno entered the church with a young child and he was dressed in a trench coat. An exchange of gunfire ensued when Moreno initiated the attack. Two off-duty law enforcement officers, present at the scene, responded with lethal force, killing Moreno. Officials Monday afternoon said the boy was Moreno’s 7-year-old son. The boy and a 50-year-old man were wounded during the shooting. The man was shot in one leg and the child was hospitalized in critical condition.

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.

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.

Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 4:54 P.M. on Friday, February 9, and concludes at 6:11 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region.

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.

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.

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

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

Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 4:40 P.M. on Friday, February 2, and concludes at 5:57 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region.

Kaddish in Ponar

Kaddish in Ponar

Choral Synagogue cantor Shmuel Yaatom performed kaddish at the Ponar mass murder site outside Vilnius on International Holocaust Day last week.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman thanked the Israeli embassy and chargé d’affaires Erez Golan, Švenčionys Jewish Community chairman Moshe Shapiro, young people from the Sholem Aleichem school and all members of the community who turned out to pay their respects to the victims of the Holocaust at Ponar and who came to pay their respects to those who rescued Jews at the monument dedicated to their memory in Vilnius.

Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 4:26 P.M. on Friday, January 26, and concludes at 5:45 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region. Friday is also Australia Day and Saturday is the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust proclaimed by the United Nations in 2005.