Our annual series of events to mark the European Days of Jewish Culture saw a good turnout all day Sunday, which turned out to be sunny but framed by clouds. There was cantorial song at synagogue, a tour of Jewish Vilna, a panel discussion on echoes of Jewish culture in modern Lithuania’s cultural scene, we baked challa and slowly cooked the legendary floimen tsimes and there was singing, playing and dancing for all. For some snapshots from different events, concerts, workshops and lectures, see below.
Newly-appointed Israeli ambassador Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein visited the Lithuanian Jewish Community where chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and the Jewish community in Lithuania wished and wish her meaningful work and creative joint initiatives with the LJC. Chairwoman Kukliansky also introduced the new ambassador to Rozeta Ramonienė, the director of the Former Ghetto Prisoners Welfare and Support Fund.
Every month the Panevėžys Jewish Community celebrates its members’ birthdays and anniversaries. In July and August we congratulated Diana Narevič and Rimantas Rimkus and Jurijus and Svetlana Grafman on their anniversaries.
We also provided and provide material support to our members.
Despite summer vacations, cultural and athletic events are being held and members are participating in Panevėžys regional events and scouting activities.
In the summer we usually have a large number of guests who care about their family histories. They often talk about their families over a cup of tea at the Panevėžys Jewish Community. One of the newer stories is about a family who emigrated to South Africa, then later between 1900 and 1910 they went their separate ways to Canada, China, England and Israel. They came back to Lithuania to learn about the former shtetl where their forebears once lived.
I am sincerely grateful to be part of the program “Support for Rescuers of Jews during World War II.” I would like to give a big thank you to senior coordinator Ema Jakobienė, social programs department director Michail Segal and to your entire wonderful collective, thanks to whom I am receiving material and financial support.
My parents, Stasė and Pranas Karalevičiai, rescued 19 citizens of Jewish ethnicity during the war. As a six-year-old I also contributed to this honorable activity to the extent that I could. I was awarded the Life-Saver’s Cross which was presented by president Valdas Adamkus.
Jelena Levina passed away July 19 at the age of 94. She was born in 1927. She was a long-standing member and volunteer. She will be missed by all of us.
We are sad to report the death of our volunteer, medical doctor and otorhinolaryngologist (head and neck medicine) Valentina Barsukaitė on July 13. She was born in 1938. We extend our deepest condolences to her daughter, Veronika, and her many friends and colleagues.
Jewish tour guide Mark Psonic will lead a walking tour of Vilnius’s main street, Gedimino prospect, on June 17 as part of a larger event being held by the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Gesher and Kaveret Clubs.
Those wishing to take the tour will assemble at the bell tower of the Cathedral in central Vilnius at 6:00 P.M. Friday. The walking tour will conclude at the Cvi in the Park Israeli street food kiosk located in the former Petras Cvirka square across the street from the LJC, where the Sabbath will be ushered in in the traditional manner.
The cost per person is five euros with registration by internet till June 15 and no later. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
LJC children aged 7 to 14 are invited to attend the Amehaye Summer Camp for 2022. Registration is simple by filling out the questionnaire at https://forms.gle/aB5qGkyZ1xm3RW18A. The camp will take place from July 11 to 16. The cost is 190 euros per child. The location will be announced to parents during registration, which is open till June 26. For more information contact Viljamas at email@example.com or by calling +370 672 50699.
Students from Miami University in Ohio recently visited the Lithuanian Jewish Community to learn more about the Jewish community in Lithuania, our history and Jewish life in the country. We baked bagels together at the Bagel Shop Café, gave them a tour of the recently opened Saul Kagan Welfare Center and invited them to our Israeli street food kiosk Cvi in the Park.
#OurCommunitiess #MūsųBendruomenės EVZ Foundation
Julia Kagan Baumann, the daughter of the late Saul Kagan, delivered the following speech at the Lithuanian Jewish Community on the occasion of the opening of the Saul Kagan Welfare Center there on May 24, 2022:
I am deeply honored to be here at the dedication of the Saul Kagan Welfare Center at the 5th Litvak World Congress in Vilnius, the city of my father’s birth. I speak for myself; for his sister, Dr. Emma Kagan Rylander; for my beloved stepmother Eleanor Kagan, who is 97; for my cousin Dr. Frances Koblenzer, who is here today from my mother Elizabeth’s side of the family, which embraced my dad. And also for my family of marriage, the Baumanns, who were from Strasbourg in France. My late husband Philippe’s father, Raymond Baumann, co-founded ARIF (the Association for the Restoration of Jewish Works and Institutions in France) to support the Jewish community of France during and after World War II from America. My stepdaughter, Andrea Baumann Lustig, is ARIF’s current president.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community has just opened the long-awaited Saul Kagan Welfare Center, paying tribute to the long-serving director of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany by renaming the Community’s social care and welfare center after him. Staff and clients attended the ceremony where LJC executive director Michail Segal and the Center’s first director Simas Levinas spoke. LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky unveiled the new plaque commemorating Saul Kagan. Arie Buchesiter from the Claims Conference, Saul Kagan’s daughter Julia Kagan-Baumann and Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Yossef Avni-Levy also attended the event. The Fayerlakh group performed a concert at the event.
Saul Kagan, who fled Lithuania, spent decades leading the Jewish welfare organization which was primarily responsible for restitution worth more than $70 billion to Holocaust survivors and their descendants.
Saul Kagan came the to the USA in 1940 after losing his mother and brother to the barbarity of the Nazis. In 1951 he became the director of World Jewish Congress responsible for material claims by Jews against Germany. B’nai B’rith and other Jewish organizations brought an unprecedented claim, demanding reparations from “the heirs of the state of the Third Reich,” meaning West Germany, for the Nazi genocide against the Jews of Europe.
Kagan’s agreements signed over the following fifty years demanded the governments of West Germany and Austria and a falange of fascist corporations compensate people who survived the Holocaust for the houses, homes, buildings, furniture, art and other property seized from them during the Nazi era. They also demanded the payment of pensions, stipends and aid to the elderly they otherwise would have had if they hadn’t been persecuted instead, as well as compensation for hundreds of thousands of Nazi prisoners, Jews and non-Jews, used as slave labor by Germany’s industrial giants, corporations such as IG Farben and Krupp.
Abramas Starobinas passed away May 8. He was born in 1935. Our deepest condolences to his fellow social center clients and family members.
In late April the Lithuanian parliament adopted and the Lithuanian president signed into law legislation banning the public display of the ribbon of St. George, usually worn on Victory Day in Lithuania to mark the liberation of the country by the Red Army from Nazi Germany in 1944.
According to Lithuanian parliamentarians it symbolizes Russian aggression in the Ukraine and is now banned along with hammers, sickles and swastikas.
The draft legislation had included bans on the public display of the letter Z, but this was apparently removed from the final draft with the parliament’s Cultural Committee pointing out Z is a common company logo and that Russian troops in the Ukraine are also using the letters V, O, X and A. The Cultural Committee also said use of letters by Russian troops appeared to be arbitrary and subject to change as the campaign continues.
The club for senior citizens was set up by Lithuanian Jewish Community chairman Simonas Alperavičius and deputy chairwoman Maša Grodnikienė on April 26, 1998, and was later named Abi Men Zet Zich, Yiddish for “just to see you again.” The name was the idea of the late Milan Cheronski. We wish club coordinator and social services director Žana Skudovičienė and all our seniors a very happy anniversary.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium are collecting items for the people of Ukraine and invite you to donate the following:
Personal hygiene items
Crutches and bandages
Mobile telephones, computer tablets, laptops
Contact the LJC at firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Department client Slava Alterman has died. He was born in 1949. Our deepest condolences to his wife Golda, daughters Rita and Tatyana and his grandchildren.
Aleksandr Ovchinikov passed away March 10. He was born in 1963. He had no family left and was a client of the LJC Social Department.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community is sponsoring ping-pong classes for beginners and skilled players. Classes/matches for adults will take place Sundays from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. at the Community, and from Monday to Friday from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the Simonas Daukantas pre-gymnasium in Vilnius. Classes for primary school students will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00 to 4:00 P.M. at the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium, as will classes for students from higher classes, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 P.M. For more information contact Rafael Gimelštein by telephone at 866283856 or Neta Alon at 862957005.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community invites your children to attend acting classes taught by the actresses Emilija and Elžbieta Latėnaite. Topics include improvisation, stage acting and performing entire plays before an audience. The first class is at 3:30 P.M. on March 1 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. For more information and to register, contact Žana by email at email@example.com or call +370 67881514.