Social center

Saul Kagan: Litvak, Conscience of the Claims Conference and Warrior on the Invisible Front

Saul Kagan: Litvak, Conscience of the Claims Conference and Warrior on the Invisible Front

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.

Condolences

Abramas Starobinas passed away May 8. He was born in 1935. Our deepest condolences to his fellow social center clients and family members.

Lithuanian Parliament Bans Symbol Commemorating Soviet Liberation from Nazis

Lithuanian Parliament Bans Symbol Commemorating Soviet Liberation from Nazis

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.

Abi Men Zet Zich Club Celebrates 24th Birthday

Abi Men Zet Zich Club Celebrates 24th Birthday

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.

LJC and Sholem Aleichem School Collecting Donations for Ukrainians

LJC and Sholem Aleichem School Collecting Donations for Ukrainians

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:

Blankets
Folding beds
Portable heaters
Personal hygiene items
Baby items
Crutches and bandages
Electric blankets
Sleeping bags
Mattresses
Mobile telephones, computer tablets, laptops

Contact the LJC at info@lzb.lt

Condolences

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.

Condolences

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.

Table Tennis

Table Tennis

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.

Acting Classes for Children

Acting Classes for Children

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 zanas@sc.lzb.lt or call +370 67881514.

Snapshots of Last Friday’s Kabbalat Shabat

Snapshots of Last Friday’s Kabbalat Shabat

Progressive Rabbi Nathan Alfred from Israel led a Kabbalat Shabat ceremony with about 50 members of the Lithuanian Jewish Community including our seniors and families with children. In the afternoon prior he attended the LJC Seniors Club Abi Men Zet Zich and sang the hymns to usher in the Sabbath. One of our oldest members, Libė Britaniskina, lit the Sabbath candles and the meeting concluded with songs in Hebrew and Yiddish. He led the prayer service and delivered the weekly Torah portion.

Lithuanian Jewish Community Children’s Clubs

The LJC children’s club for our youngest members–Dubi Mishpakha if for those under 3 and Dubi for children aged 3 to 6–will resume February 15. Dubi Mishpakha will be held on Tuesdays and Fridays starting at 11:00 A.M. and Dubi on Sundays from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. For more information call Alexandra Žitkauskienė-Khenkin at telephone number 370 672 50 599.

Condolences

Meri Dobrynina passed away February 1 at the age of 100. She was a member of the Community and a social department client. We extend our deepest condolences to her daughter Tatjana, grandson Jevgenijus and other family members.

Gesher Club to Hold Special Sabbath

Gesher Club to Hold Special Sabbath

The Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Gesher Club invites its members and their families to a special Sabbath celebration according to the traditions of modern Judaism at 6:30 P.M. on Friday, December 17 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius. “Baal tefila” Viljamas Žitkauskas will lead the ceremony to greet the Sabbath with the traditional prayers. A Sabbath dinner will follow. Registration is required by sending an email to zanas@sc.lzb.lt or by calling 8 678 1514.

Let’s Pitch In and Help Our Seniors

Let’s Pitch In and Help Our Seniors

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is pleased to help distribute support and gifts from Germany to the Former Ghetto Prisoners Welfare and Support Fund. Right now we need a little attention to warm the heart of each of our seniors. We invite you to volunteer to be a member of our time so we can deliver these care packages safely and quickly to our seniors. Please send an email to info@lzb.lt if you are able to help. Thank you.

Happy Birthday to Maša Grodnikienė

Happy Birthday to Maša Grodnikienė

We wish Maša Grodnikienė a wonderful birthday, good health, love and affection, many happy moments, domestic joy and happiness.

Maša has served as deputy chairwoman of the Lithuanian Jewish Community for more than 20 years and has initiated and held many important cultural events. The first World Litvak Congress held in 2001 was her initiative and she authored and moderated her Fates cultural events for many years.

Dear Maša, what you have started is being continued. No one has forgotten and the work goes on.

Mazl tov. Bis 120!

Pumpkins and Bagels: Halloween at the Community

Pumpkins and Bagels: Halloween at the Community

Fun is tricks, costumes, ghosts, pumpkins and screaming children.

Last Friday evening the third Kinder Tish event was held at the Bagel Shop Café. The children made bagels with maple syrup and pumpkin-seed toppings. Friends from the US embassy in Vilnius also attended. We learned all about Halloween, received many horrible gifts and had fun ushering in the Sabbath. Cultural attaché Caitlin Nettleton from the US embassy in Vilnius and colleagues explained Halloween traditions, costumes, tricks and jack-o’-lanterns.

Condolences

Fania Lindina, a member of the Lithuanian Jewish Community and a client of our Social Services Department, has passed away. She was born in 1934. Our deepest condolences to her son Leonidas and daughter Julia.

Future Live Science Workshop for Children

The Ilan and Knafaim Clubs of the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite Community children (aged 7 and up) to participate in the Future Live experimental laboratory workshop, for those interested in chemistry and experiments. The chemist Jolanta Pileckienė, PhD, will conduct the activities. The cost is three euros per child. Registration and payment are required by October 22. We will send payment forms to those who register. To register, send an email to avital@lzb.lt. We will meet at 11:45 A.M. at PC Live Cup located at Upės street no. 9 in Vilnius. For more information call Avital Libman at +37064515730.

Introduction to Chess

The Ilan and Knafaim Clubs of the Lithuanian Jewish Community invite Community children and young people to an introduction to the game of chess with trainer V. Dambrauskas at 5:30 P.M. on Thursday, October 21 at the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius. Register is required. To register send an email to avital@lzb.lt or call Avital Libman at +37064515730.

Some Snapshots from Events This Fall

Some Snapshots from Events This Fall

It’s encouraging to see parents and children returning to spend time at the Community. At one recent meeting at the Bagel Shop Café the children presented their works in clay, held the premiere of a film they made and starred in and performed music, while the mothers made challa bread.

Larisa Vyšniauskienė, the director of the Fayerlakh ensemble, chimed in during the musical part of the program and spoke about the ensemble’s musical career which has spanned a half century now.

Avital Libman, coordinator of children’s and youth programs, passed on the happy news that the Ilan and Knafaim Clubs will now be open every day to young people for fun and productive after-school activities.

Meanwhile, weekly art activities continue led by Raimondas Savickas, and the seniors’ club Abi Men Zet Zich carries on as usual.