Religion

LJC Asks Conservative Party to Look Into Member’s Anti-Semitic Remark

LJC Asks Conservative Party to Look Into Member’s Anti-Semitic Remark

Photo: Old cemetery in Nemakščiai

The Lithuanian Jewish Community has asked Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the conservative Homeland Union/Lithuanian Christian Democrats Party, to look into remarks made by fellow party member Remigijus Laugalis.

“If you don’t vote for me, then you can bury yourself in the Jewish cemetery,” Laugalis allegedly remarked.

Remigijus Laugalis is currently the alderman of the town of Nemakščiai and is seeking to be elected to the town council of Raseiniai, Lithuania.

The LJC has asked Landsbergis to undertake actions to educate residents of the Raseiniai district about the consequences of uncontrolled anti-Semitism and racism. The LJC has offered to help hold educational meetings with historians, cultural experts and writers in a spirit of cooperation based on mutual respect.

First Plaque Commemorating Jews of Palanga

First Plaque Commemorating Jews of Palanga

International Holocaust Remembrance Day reminds residents of Lithuania’s sea-side city of Palanga of June 27 and October 12, 941, the days on which more than 400 fellow residents, the Jews of Palanga who were hard-working, innovative lovers of life and the sea, became victims of the Holocaust. One out of eight residents of Palanga was murdered during those two days. And that’s not a definite tally, it might be higher.

Friday Palanga mayor Šarūnas Vaitkus, deputy mayor Rimantas Antanas Mikalkėnas, director of the city’s Culture Department Robertas Trautmanas, Palanga Jewish Community chairman Vilius Gutmanas and other members of the Palanga Jewish Community observed a moment of silence at a memorial in the Palanga cemetery to remember the 106 Jews and Lithuanians murdered in the southern part of Birutė Park on June 27, 1941, the majority of whom lived in Palanga.

Candles were lit and the traditional stones were left to honor and remember the city residents who became the first victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania. Friday also saw a new page of history open with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque to mark the site of the former synagogue complex at what is now a supermarket on Vytauto street.

Full story in Lithuanian here.

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Palanga

Holocaust Remembrance Day in Palanga

Residents of Palanga are invited to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day this Friday, January 27, with a candle-lighting ceremony at the Old Cemetery in Palanga at 11:00 A.M. followed by the unveiling of a new plaque commemorating the town’s synagogues destroyed during World War II at Vytauto street no. 98 at 11:30 A.M.

Marc Chagall: World in Turmoil

Marc Chagall: World in Turmoil

“The whole history is packing bundles and getting away. Nobody else can be as tender and delicate with bundles. That’s a Jewish man tying a bundle.”

Those lines from Arthur Miller’s Monte Saint Angelo aptly characterizes an unusual exhibit of paintings by Marc Chagall during his period of exile from the 1930s and 1940s which opened in Frankfurt and will run till February 19, 2023. The exhibit is called World in Turmoil.

“A few kilometers from there is a place, more precisely a town, which I haven’t visited for a long time, but I always remember it. So I took advantage of your invitation to go and wander around there a little,” Marc Chagall said at the World YIVO Conference held in Vilnius (Wilno) on August 14, 1935.

This conference is mentioned in the artist’s biography and the catalog for the exhibit at that time. His journey back to Poland (now Lithuania) gave rise to works which appear unusual and dark for Chagall. His oeuvre is usually arranged chronologically, from his native Vitebsk, striving to reattain this magical homeland. In Vilnius Chagall comes as close as possible to actually returning.

Paideia Offering Unique Studies Program

Paideia Offering Unique Studies Program

The Paideia European Institute For Jewish Studies In Sweden located in Stockholm is offering a one-year program of study of the source texts for Jewish civilization and interdisciplinary exegesis.

The Paideia institute offers students Hebrew language at all levels and different disciplines within Jewish studies taught by academics from Israel, Europe and the USA.

Tuition is free and living stipends are available. Prior knowledge of Hebrew isn’t required and classes are taught in English. There are no upper-limit age restrictions for becoming a student.

The institute will hold an open-door day on January 24 over zoom. Register here shorturl.at/rwXY6. The deadline for submitting applications is January 31.

More information available here.

LJC Chairwoman Attending Conference of European Jewish Leaders in Israel

LJC Chairwoman Attending Conference of European Jewish Leaders in Israel

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky is attending a conference of European Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. The conference agenda includes meetings and discussions on relations between Israel and the Jewish communities abroad, current events and rising anti-Semitism.

Israeli president Isaac Herzog met with the chairwoman at his office and spoke about his Litvak roots, saying his great-grandfather Shmuel Yitzhak Hilman was born in Šeduva in 1868 and studied under his uncles in Pašvitinys outside Šiauliai and in Pasvalys. In 1897 he became rabbi for Berezino in the Minsk region. In 1908 he became rabbi for Glasgow in Scotland. Thousands attended his funeral in Jerusalem in 1953. His great-grandson Isaac was born in Tel Aviv in 1960.

Moabite Stone Does Reference King David

Moabite Stone Does Reference King David

Researchers have discovered additional evidence for written historical records referencing the biblical King David.

The Moabite Stone, also known as the Mesha stele, was discovered in 1868 at Dhibān (Dibon) about 15 miles east of the Dead Sea. The basalt stone slab was damaged by locals in 1869, but not before a papier-mâché cast was made. Pieces and fragments were collected and sent to Paris where they were reconstructed. It is still the major monument of the Moabite language.

The text on the stone is written in the first person of Moabite king Mesha (ca. 850-800 BC) who claimed to have led his warrior to victory against Israel, including recapturing cities and slaying their inhabitants. The text breaks off with about five lines missing at the end.

World Jewish Congress Mourns Death of Benedict XVI

World Jewish Congress Mourns Death of Benedict XVI

World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder mourned the passing of Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday night.

“It is with great sadness that I learned today that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has passed away,” he said. “He was a towering figure of the Roman Catholic Church, both as pope and before that as the cardinal who gave the Catholic-Jewish relationship solid theological underpinning and enhanced understanding. No pope before him visited as many synagogues, and he made a point of meeting with local Jewish community representatives whenever he visited foreign nations.”

Lauder recalled having met the former pope at the Vatican three times and said that each time, he was “deeply moved by his affection and friendship for the Jewish people, his commitment to remembrance of the Shoah, and his unambiguous condemnation of Holocaust denial in any form.”

Sabbath Times

Sabbath Times

The Sabbath begins at 3:36 P.M. on Friday, December 23, and concludes at 5:01 P.M. on Saturday in the Vilnius region.

United States of America Hail Jewish Compensation by Lithuanian Parliament

United States of America Hail Jewish Compensation by Lithuanian Parliament

Photo: Robert Gilchrist, by D. Umbrasas courtesy LRT.lt

The U.S. embassy in Vilnius said Tuesday the United States hail the Lithuanian parliament’s decision to compensate Jewish private property seized by the Nazis and Soviets to the tune of 37 million euros.

American ambassador to Lithuania Robert Gilchrist said: “The passing of this legislation is an important step in recognizing the tragedy of the Holocaust in Lithuania. It is not, however, only about addressing claims for the past. It is about preserving the memory of the Holocaust for future generations and working together against intolerance and hatred.”

U.S. special envoy for Holocaust issues Ellen Germain commented: “After the Holocaust, there was little time to create successful restitution programs before the Communist regimes nationalized private property. By passing this bill, Lithuania has taken another important step in fulfilling restitution commitments. For survivors and their families, this is a direct acknowledgement of the great wrong that was done to them.”

The Lithuanian parliament Tuesday adopted a new redaction of the existing Law on Goodwill Compensation which additionally allocates 37 million euros for compensating Jewish private property. The existing law and previous compensation payments were for communal and religious property seized by the Nazis and the Soviets. The new legislation comes into effect in January.

Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė proposed the new compensation package saying Lithuania has made compensation for Jewish religious community property, but hasn’t made compensation for nationalized private property.

Lithuanian Parliament Allocates 37 Million Euros for Private Property Looted from Jews

Lithuanian Parliament Allocates 37 Million Euros for Private Property Looted from Jews

The Lithuanian parliament Tuesday voted in favor of compensation to the amount of 37 million euros for private property looted from Jews by the Nazis and the Soviets.

Seventy-two MPs voted in favor, six against and two abstained in the ballot of a new redaction of the Law on Goodwill Compensation which will come into effect in January.

Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Šimonytė proposed the new compensation package saying Lithuania has made compensation for Jewish religious community property, but hasn’t made compensation for private property nationalized.

“There are two kinds of property, and for one a solution was found, while the search for a solution to the second was sought, perhaps not entirely sincerely, perhaps sincerely… I believe the Government has succeeded in agreeing to and proposing such a solution, and today we consider this legislation,” she said.

Hanukkah Greetings from Joe Biden and Wife

Hanukkah Greetings from Joe Biden and Wife

Joe Biden: Well, folks, Happy Hanukkah, everyone. On behalf of Jill, Doug and Kamala, thank you. And Rabbi Bronia, thank you for hanging out with me la- –a couple weeks ago. And Michèle and Abigale. To all of you here, including so many friends, thank you being–for being part of this moment.

Just over two months ago, Jill and I her- –hosted the first-ever High Holiday reception at the White House.

It was deeply meaningful. It was something that we’ve alwa- –we’ll remember. And I felt–it felt what–what the Jewish proverb teaches: “What comes from the heart goes to the heart.” And it went to our heart, for real. It’s never happened before in the White House.

Full press release here.

Lithuanian Radio and Television Reports on Hanukkah in Lithuania

Lithuanian Radio and Television Reports on Hanukkah in Lithuania

Lithuanian state radio and television reported the beginning of Hanukkah at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius Sunday. On Monday, the first Hanukkah light was lit, according to LRT, by speaker of parliament Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.

“As we light the Hanukkah candles every year, the Jewish community sends out a message of light and friendship to all of the Lithuanian ethnic communities and to the Jewish communities around the world. We want to remind people that we can only overcome the greatest challenges by being and working together, by communicating and trying to understand one another, to light the light of knowledge, understanding and tolerance. We can all be part of the light,” Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said.

It’s customary for people to come together, have fun and share traditional Hanukkah treats such as doughnuts and latkes over all eight days of the Hanukkah holiday. Children receive traditional gifts. Faina Kukliansky recalls Litvaks traditionally ate their Hanukkah latkes with cranberry sauce.