Religion

Hanukkah at the Lithuanian President’s Office

Hanukkah at the Lithuanian President’s Office

The Lithuanian President’s Office held a ceremony to light the fourth Hanukkah candle with the participation of Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon and Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky. The audience included many honored guests.

Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Central Vilnius

A giant menorah has again appeared in the center of Vilnius in celebration of Hanukkah. City mayor Remigijus Šimašius and the Jewish community together ushered in the eight-day Jewish holiday on December 3. The menorah has appeared in central Vilnius for 25 years in a row now.

The mayor said: “The start of Hanukkah this year has coincided symbolically with the beginning of the magical Christmas of Vilnius, we are lighting the city’s main Christmas tree and the menorah at almost the same time. This holiday of sharing and light makes Vilnius brighter and cozier, and invites the communities of the world to come visit the Jerusalem of Lithuania. Hanukkah inspires us to never be afraid of fighting for what’s right and for the light, and to never give up. I greet the Jewish community on this the greatest of holidays and say thank-you that you are with us. Happy Hanukkah!” For four years now the mayor has been invited to light the first Hanukkah light at the giant menorah on Vincas Kudirka Square in Vilnius.

Panevėžys Celebrates Hanukkah

Panevėžys Celebrates Hanukkah

Sunday evening the Panevėžys Jewish Community celebrated the first day of Hanukkah. Members of the Community, guests and representatives of the city municipality gathered on Freedom Square where the celebration began with Jewish song and dance.

Rabbi Sholom Bar Krinsky and his family arrived to celebrate Hanukkah with the Panevėžys Jewish Community. This is a family holiday and it was delightful to see so many people in such a festive spirit on the square that cold winter evening. It truly was a wonderful mood and it was created by Rabbi Krinsky.

Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman told a correspondent from the newspaper Sekundė about the holiday and its significance for the Jewish people, adding this holiday is popular around the world wherever Jews live. Others celebrate it as well, people who are tolerant and respect Jewish tradition, he noted.

Happy Hanukkah Celebration at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius

Happy Hanukkah Celebration at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius

Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinksy welcomed everyone at the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius and began the celebration in song.

“Hanukkah is the festival of light and freedom. Light means going from darkness into light, light also means we must understand and see the soul in every person. When Jews are united, this is the true light. If we are praised, that does not mean the light. I want to invite all Jews living in Lithuania to celebrate together. We should celebrate our wonderful holy days together. We are one people, and if want not just to talk but to spread light, we ourselves must be the light, we must be united,” Rabbi Krinsky said.

“It’s great so many children are attending the celebration. They are celebrating happily on the second floor of the synagogue, you can hear happy voices from up there. Today a klezmer group will perform,” Rabbi Krinsky said, noting men and women dance separately during Hanukkah. “Hanukkah reminds us of the Jews’ struggle for our traditions, against efforts to assimilate them. Lithuanian Jews maintain Orthodox traditions with their families.”

Hanukkah Greetings from LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky

Hanukkah Greetings from LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky

Heart-felt greetings to the Jews of Lithuania on Hanukkah, the hope-filled holiday of lights. I wish you all good health, happiness and concord and warmth at home. For our community, I wish our plans for broad activities are fulfilled, plans which are supported by Lithuanian state institutions and municipalities, and which are therefore an important and ambitious contribution by the Jewish community demonstrating that we are here and we are telling the truth and more about the life, history, culture and activities of the Jewish community. Thank you for your good work, for your support and for your warm smiles. We, together, should solve all those complex questions which come up in our work.

Looking Back at 30 Years of Hanukkah Celebrations

Looking Back at 30 Years of Hanukkah Celebrations

Maša Grodnikienė recalled for us the first Hanukkah celebration by the constituent Lithuanian Jewish Community back in 1988.

Lithuanian Jews who survived World War II celebrated Hanukkah quietly at home. In 1987 the Lithuanian Jewish Cultural Association formed and Emanuelis Zingeris became chairman.

On December 4, 1988, Lithuanian Jews came together and collected funds for a shared Hanukkah celebration. This was a memorable holiday in Vilnius, a big event with a beautiful group of people at the Dainava restaurant. Yiddish was spoken and sung. The cultural events group of the Lithuanian Jewish Cultural Association drafted the program and organized the event. The Fayerlakh Jewish ensemble with directors Griša Kravecas and Ana Kravec performed, as did the ethnographic ensemble conducted by Amos Traub and the Kaunas Jewish stage ensemble. Chaimas Gurvičius directed the concert. About 370 people attended. Chairman of the board of the Lithuanian Cultural Fund Česlovas Kudaba greeted the audience, and deputy chairman Tarvydas also took part. This was a grand Hanukkah evening celebration with a concert and speeches.

Remember what that time was like in Lithuania–the independence movement Sąjūdis had formed and Lithuanian Jews from different cities and towns came together and were part of Sąjūdis. Everyone was exhilarated, excited, happy that finally with the national rebirth of Lithuania the Jews of Lithuania could celebrate together that great holiday of the triumph of the spirit, Hanukkah. The majority sought to attend, there weren’t enough places and it was impossible to get in. At that time there were 17,000 Jews living in Lithuania.

Second Hanukkah Candle

Second Hanukkah Candle

The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community invites you to come light the second candle of Hanukkah together with the Rajka Klezmer Orekstar at 6:30 P.M. on December 3 at the Choral Synagogue, Pylimo street no. 39, Vilnius.

Latkes: Traditional Hanukkah Food

Latkes: Traditional Hanukkah Food

Latkes are potato pancakes which Jews consider a national dish, as do Lithuanians, Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Germans, Czechs and the Swiss. The first mention of the potato dish seems to come from 1830 and seems to have been German cuisine. although the word itself comes into Yiddish probably from Russian. Whatever the case, Jews made latkes global and it is a required part of the Hanukkah table now.

Some sources say latkes were originally made of buckwheat. Others put their origins in Italy where pancakes were served with ricotta cheese. Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (1286-1328) seems to be the first person to associate pancakes with Hanukkah, in a poem about the holiday.

When Spain expelled the Jews of Sicily in 1492, they took their ricotta cheese pancakes with them and introduced them to the Jews in the northern Italian lands. These pancakes reportedly were called cassola in Rome.

Conference “Remarkable Women of the Panevėžys Region”

Conference “Remarkable Women of the Panevėžys Region”

Acting Panevėžys mayor Petras Luomanas welcomed speakers and audience to the conference, saying: “It is very significant that we are now for the second time holding a conference in which we remember the remarkable women of our region whose contributions to culture, education, health-care, industry and other areas of endeavor in Panevėžys and throughout Lithuania have been gigantic.” Library director Loreta Breskienė spoke her library’s activities and “Lithuania’s Greats,” an exhibit of hand-sewn flags there. The author of the exhibit is Sofija Kanaverskytė, an artist and former resident of Panevėžys who did scenography at the J. Miltinis Drama Theater there.

The main topic of Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman’s presentation was historical information about the activities of notable Jewish women of Panevėžys till 1940. He said many of the Jewish women are little-known, including sculptress Marija Dilon, the businesswomen Ana Kisina and Lėja Chazanienė, social activist and doctor Ana Merienė, Panevėžys Jewish Hospital doctors Mirijam Todesaitė-Blatienė and Zinaida Kukliansky and the dentists Vera Dembienė, Golda Izraelienė, Liuba Gurevičienė and Chasjė Feigelienė. Much more widely known was the Jewish women’s Esperanto organization in the city of Panevėžys, whose members included Ana Grinberg, daughter of Rabbi Abraham Grinberg.

Kofman said the topic of notable Jewish women has been neglected in Panevėžys as it has throughout Lithuania. Many write about men and their contributions, while women remain on the margins. He said this conference was a very good idea and should serve to foster a more tolerant attitude towards life and history.

Conference participants included deputy director of the Panevėžys city administration for educational affairs Sandra Jakštienė, Panevėžys Regional History Museum director Arūnas Astramskis, principals and teachers of the gymnasia in Panevėžys and other professionals working in education in the city. Nine presentations were given, including by Panevėžys College library director Vilija Raubienė, Panevėžys District G. Petkevičaitė-Bitė Public Library librarian Albina Saladūnaitė, regional history expert from Šiauliai Irena Dambrauskaitė-Rudzinskienė, director of the Kalba Knyga Kūryba Communications Center Lionė Lapinskienė, museum specialist Donatas Juzėnas, Paįstrys resident and local history expert Stasė Mikeliūnienė and puppeteer Antanas Markuckis.

A Shadow over Europe: CNN Poll Reveals Depth of Anti-Semitism in Europe

A Shadow over Europe: CNN Poll Reveals Depth of Anti-Semitism in Europe

European Jewish Congress

Dear Presidents,
Dear Friends,

We would like to draw your attention on the findings of the CNN Poll on Antisemitism in Europe.

Please find below some of the most appalling results:

–According to the poll, more than a quarter of Europeans surveyed believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.

–One in five said they have too much influence in the media and the same number believe they have too much influence in politics.

–A third of Europeans polled said they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust.

Hanukkah Celebration for Children

The Dubi Mishpokha, Dubi and Ilan Clubs of the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite children and parents to a Hanukkah celebration at 12 noon on December 2, 2018, at the Future Live room located at Upės street no. 2 in Vilnius.

Please register by 11:30 A.M. on November 30 by sending an email to sofja@lzb.lt or by calling Sofja at 867257450, Alina at 869522959 or Margarita at 861800577.

See you there!

This Hanukkah is Our 30th Birthday

This Hanukkah is Our 30th Birthday

This Hanukkah marks the 30th birthday of the restoration of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. The LJC will celebrate Hanukkah on December 9 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Vilnius with a concert by Gefilte Drive from Israel. Tickets cost 15 euros. For more information and to register, call 467881514 or stop by the LJC at Pylimo street no. 4 in Vilnius. Students can get a discount by calling Amit at 869227326 and senior citizens who are clients of the LJC’s Social Programs Department can as well by calling Žana at 867881514.

We hope to see you there!

Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community to Celebrate Birthday with Hanukkah

The Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community is celebrating its 30th anniversary together with Hanukkah on December 8 at the Šiauliai Arena Conference Hall located at Jablonskio street no. 16. Tickets cost 10 euros for adults, 5 for senior citizens and children under 13 are to be admitted free of charge. Those wishing to attend should contact Antonina at the Community by November 30.

Hanukkah in Panevėžys

The Panevėžys Jewish Community invites you to come celebrate Hanukkah. At 4:00 P.M. on December 2 Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky will light the menorah on Independence Square in Panevėžys, after which the Panevėžys Jewish Community at Ramygalos street no. 18 will host a celebration including food, games and dancing.

Second Hanukkah Candle

Second Hanukkah Candle

The Vilnius Jewish Religious Community invites you to attend the lighting of the second Hanukkah candle December 3, at Vincas Kudirka Square in Vilnius at 5:30 P.M., and again at 6:30 P.M. at the Choral Synagogue.

Parliamentary Cultural Committee Considers Jewish Heritage Issues

Parliamentary Cultural Committee Considers Jewish Heritage Issues

A sitting of the Lithuanian parliament’s Cultural Committee November 14 addressed Litvak heritage. The meeting was held at the Tolerance Center of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Musum in Vilnius with committee chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis attending.

Three main issues were discussed:

1. Further expansion and financing of the Vilna Gaon Museum
2. Jewish heritage issues
3. Restoration of the Great Synagogue in Vilnius

MP Emanuelis Zingeris proposed a resolution for the restoration of the Great Synagogue at the meeting. The Lithuanian Jewish Community expressed a different position. LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky said Lithuanian Jews are not asking and never had asked for the rebuilding of the Great Synagogue using state funds. She further noted that currently the LJC is engaged in studying other methods and problems in commemoration and preservation, having been tasked with drafting a study on Jewish heritage by the Lithuanian Government.

Kaunas Jewish Community News for October

Kaunas Jewish Community News for October

In October the Kaunas Jewish Community experienced moments of celebration and painful losses, and commemorated the past.

The most momentous event in October was the celebration of the Community’s 30th birthday with a concert. The Kaunas State Philharmonic hosted the Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra accompanied by harpist Gabrielė Ašmontaitė, baritone Stein Skjervold and VilhelmasČepinskis on violin. Orchestra art director Mindaugas Bačkus presented a rich program of well-known and lesser-known works by Jewish and Litvak composers of different times and in different genres. He both played cello and presented the event.

The historian Linas Venclauskas told the audience about the history of the Jewish community and current events. He spoke about the Litvak contribution to Lithuania and together with KJC chairman Gercas Žakas presented thank-you letters from the Kaunas mayor and municipal culture department to long-standing and outstanding members of the Community, including Fruma Kučinskienė, Judita Mackevičienė, Motelius Rozenbergas, Basia Šragiene, Julijana Zarchi, Simonas Dovidavičius and Gercas Žakas himself.

Hanukkah Coming Soon

Hanukkah Coming Soon

Hanukkah is coming soon and several events are already scheduled. On December 2 there will be a Hanukkah celebration for children at 12 noon at I Future Live, located at Upės street no. 9 in Vilnius. A Hanukkah celebration for the whole family will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Konstitucijos prospect no. 20 on December 9, with music by the Israeli neo-klezmer band Gefilte Drive. More information to follow.