Rosh Hashanah at the Choral Synagogue

Rosh Hashanah at the Choral Synagogue

Prayer service schedule

Friday, August 18, 6:45 P.M: Mincha/maariv holiday prayers, kiddush, holiday treats

Saturday, August 19 10:00 A.M.: Shacharit (morning prayers); 12 noon blowing of shofar horn; treats and gifts (Jewish calendar for 5781, honey cakes, special gifts for children); 6:00 P.M. Tashlich prayer service at Bokšto street no. 19 in Vilnius

Conference for Historians Researching Jewish Heritage in NE Lithuania

Conference for Historians Researching Jewish Heritage in NE Lithuania

The Rokiškis Regional Museum hosted a conference called “The Jewish Community’s Contribution to the Cultural, Political and Economic Development of the North-Eastern Region of Lithuania during the Period of the First Republic of Lithuania” to mark the Year of the Vilna Gaon and Litvak History on Friday, September 4, 2020.

Kupiškis Ethnographic Museum specialist and historian Aušra Jonušytė in her presentation “The Jewish Community of Kupiškis” spoke about the former Jewish community in Kupiškis and their contribution to economic, social and political life in the Lithuanian town. She presented examples of friendship and fellowship between Jewish and Lithuanian families is safeguarding the town from fires.

Two books were presented at the conference: “Kupiškio žydų bendruomenė. Praeities ir dabarties sąsajos” [The Kupiškis Jewish Community: Connections between Past and Present] (2016) and “Kupiškio krašto žydų bendruomenės pastatai ir paminklai” [Buildings and Monuments of the Jewish Community of the Kupiškis Region] (2017). The audience appeared very interested in these books. Former Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon wrote the forewords to both books. Museum specialist and historian Aušra Jonušytė compiled these publications. She also talked about a new publication planned provisionally called “Žydų virtuvės valgiai, gaminti Kupiškyje” [Jewish Cuisine Made in Kupiškis] which will include input from LJC projects coordinator and Litvak cook Dovilė Rūkaitė, Natalja Cheifec and members of the Kaunas Jewish Community. Panevėžys Jewish Community chairman Gennady Kofman has also offered his help with the new book project, as has philanthropist Philip Shapiro.

Makabi Fun Run

The Makabi Athletics Club and the Lithuanian Jewish Community are holding the annual Fun Run for charity again starting at 11:00 A.M. on Sunday, September 13, from the stage in Vingis park in Vilnius. Participants will chose one of two runs, 1.5 or 3 kilometers. Runners on the 1.5 km route will leave the starting line at 11:30 A.M. and those on the 3 km route will kick off at 12:15 P.M. This is for charity so runners will be required to pay a small fee to participate, 3 euros for students and retirees and 5 euros for others. The fee may be paid by bank transfer to the account

Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club
LT69 7040 0600 0090 8716

at SEB Bank, or paid in cash on site before the run. The money will be used by the Makabi Athletics Club to develop more activities.

Register by internet at https://dbsportas.lt/lt/varz/2020128 and/or call or email competition coordinator Daniel dubrovinas at +370 68783005 and dubrovinas@yahoo.com

Program:

10:00-11:00 A.M. assignment of numbers
11:00 A.M. opening ceremony
11:30 A.M. start of 1.5 km route
12:15 P.M. start of 3 km ruote
1:00 P.M. awarding of prizes with special prizes for winners in specific age groups

Seimonas Finkelšteinas, president
Lithuanian Makabi Athletics Club

Book Presentation

A presentation of Rūta Vanagaitė’s book “Kaip tai įvyko? Christoph DIeckmann atsako Rūtai Vanagaitei” [How Did It Happen? Rūta Vanagaitė Interviews Christoph Dieckmann] and a panel discussion will be held at 6:00 P.M. on August 15 at the Adomas Mickevičius Public Library at Trakų street no. 10 in Vilnius. Speakers and panelists will include Rūta Vanagaitė, Lithuanian History Institute director Alvydas Nikžentaits, Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, professors Irena Veisaitė and Tomas Venclova, and by video Christoph Dieckmann and Saulius Sužiedelis, moderated by Aurimas Švedas. The event is being held by the Adomas Mickevičius Public Library and the Vilnius Jewish Public Library in cooperation with the LJC.

Registration is required, spaces are limited and visitors will be required to wear surgical masks. To register, send an email to info@vilnius-jewish-public-library.com or call (8-5) 219 77 48 work days between 11:00 A.M. and 6:00 P.M.

Vice-President Schinas Delivers Keynote Speech at DE Presidency Online Conference on Anti-Semitism

Dear friends,

Please find below the link to vice-president Margaritis Schinas’s keynote speech delivered this morning at the DE Presidency online conference on “Working Together to Fight Anti-Semitism in Europe: Structures and Strategies for a Holistic Approach.”

https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/item-detail.cfm?item_id=50144

At the conference today, I will be addressing the Panel on “Strategies and Structures for a Holistic Approach to fighting Anti-Semitism” and share concluding remarks and thoughts for the future.

I will highlight the various approaches and strategies to be developed following the Council declaration and our ongoing support to member states to better prevent and combat anti-Semitism at the national level in a holistic way. This includes dealing with the use of the IHRA definition, reporting and data collection, security issues, education and cooperation among government bodies and between government and civil-society organizations.

Sincerely,

Katharina

Katharina von Schnurbein
European Commission Coordinator on Combating Anti-Semitism and Fostering Jewish Life

In Memoriam Ronald Harwood

In Memoriam Ronald Harwood

Ronald Harwood, the son of Isaac Hurwich and Isabelle Peper-Hurwich of Plungė who was born November 9, 1934 in the Union of South Africa, passed away in London September 9, 2020.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community expresses our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the late Sir Ronald Harwood.

He was graduated from the Sea Point Boys’ High School in Cape Town and in 1951 went to London to pursue an acting career, becoming the friend of and personal assistant to British actor Donald Wolfit, who directed a Shakespeare company. Harwood was nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay for the film Dresser and won an Academy Award for best-adapted screenplay for Pianist. He was awarded the order of Commander of the British Empire and named a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, among other distinctions.

Harwood visited his parents’ native Plungė, Lithuania, in 2002.

Let’s Remove the “Nazi Chain” around Lithuania’s Neck

Let’s Remove the “Nazi Chain” around Lithuania’s Neck

by Arūnas Gumuliauskas, chairman, Lithuanian parliamentary Commission on the Battles for Freedom and State Historical Memory

Every year there are echoes throughout Lithuania on disputes regarding judgments of partisans and other freedom fighters. Different organizations, circles of intellectuals and ethnic minority representatives file complaints and express dismay over the fact Lithuania honors her heroes who laid down their lives for the ideal of independence. Sometimes more loudly, sometimes more quietly.

So this summer as well a wave of discontent and slander went out regarding the announcement of a year to commemorate the noble partisan Juozas Lukša-Daumantas. It’s frequently difficult to understand why this is happening. Many of us also fail to understand, it seems, because it’s not the most important issue with that story.

But, like it or not, a person can’t just be satiated. He must respect himself and be respected by others. That applies even more so to the state. That’s why our history is rewritten and always in a way intending to desecrate those who contributed to history, and you must begin to listen. Very rarely does something happen coincidentally in politics. So after a decade of the constant attempt to convince Lithuania she is a country of fighters stained with blood and of Jew-shooters, one has to understand the reasons for this and oppose it appropriately.

Who Is That Gaon?

Who Is That Gaon?

by Sergejus Kanovičius. Photo by Evgenia Levin/Bernardinai.lt

Soon the Year of the Vilna Gaon will end: the news websites will stop carrying out the internet education plans dedicated to Jewish history and the school curricula will remain as they always were: impoverished, and with the suppression of history. Everything will depend on the teacher’s initiative, again. The statues to the Gaon and Tsemakh Shabad will stare out, with acid poured over them. Plaques will hang commemorating the “desk murderer” in Vilnius and the statue to a murderer of Jews will continue to stand in the center of Ukmergė, and schools will continue to be named in their honor. The center tasked with researching genocide will offer jobs to people who think the “Lithuanian Activist Front would have found it easy to agree with Zionists.” Only suppressing the fact the LAF helped those Zionists travel into the bosom of Abraham.

Virtual internet reality will never coincide with true reality, and the proposition of living in two worlds will continue to be proposed. The official one will soon mourn at Paneriai and on Rūdninkai square because that’s what’s required. Actually, the pandemic in the true sense of the word helped save a pile of money which would have been used for those pompous but failed events. I would ask, couldn’t the money saved be used to change the school curricula so that a student who reads a headline or title “The Vilna Gaon…” doesn’t have to search the internet to find out who he was and why he’s important?

The best surrogate education–sampling Jewish foods–takes place via the stomach, and via internet. In both cases the effect of learning is equal to the time spent by the learner chewing a bagel or reading about some shtetl lost to oblivion, sipping coffee while reading the screen. There’s no need to even raise the question of enduring value or the long-term effect…

Kaunas Jewish Community Greets Fall with Renewed Pledge to Remember

Kaunas Jewish Community Greets Fall with Renewed Pledge to Remember

The Kaunas Jewish Community ushered out the waning summer and greeted the fall by remembering those who have gone before and the tragic loss of life in the Holocaust. In the last week of August Community members visited Prienai and remembered the victims there and in surrounding areas. The Kaunas Jewish Community would like to thank Prienai District Administration staff, representatives of the Balbieriškis (Balbirishok) Tolerance Center and students for caring that the Holocaust tragedy is their tragedy, too, with all its agony and loss, and for coming together without being told to hold a commemoration of those who once lived in the area as neighbors and perhaps even as friends of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

As the summer days fade into fall and under a dreary and drizzling sky Community members also visited and remember the victims of the mass murder of the Jews of Petrašiūnai and the victims from the Kaunas ghetto of the intellectuals’ aktion also murdered there. The Kaunas Jewish Community would like to thank violinist Jonė Barbora Laukaitytė for braving the weather and performing her melody to which resonated so clearly with out own heartstrings.

The end of summer also saw the premiere of Aleksandras Rubinovas’s one-man-play “My Father” which was supposed to happen back on March 13, and the Kaunas Picture Gallery is still featuring a show of Samuel Bak’s paintings until September 13.

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky Meets with Klaipėda Regional Administration mayor Bronius Markauskas

LJC Chairwoman Faina Kukliansky Meets with Klaipėda Regional Administration mayor Bronius Markauskas

Klaipėda Regional Administration mayor Bronius Markauskas visited the Lithuanian Jewish Community and spoke with LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky about continuing cooperation. The two spoke during the meeting about plans to construct a bus station at Gargždai (Gorzhd), a town located about 15 kilometers east of the city of Klaipėda within the Klaipėda district, near the site where around 500 resident Jews were murdered during at least three mass murder operations on June 24 and September 14 and 16, 1941.

Uri Brener’s Sound Pictures of Čiurlionis

Uri Brener’s Sound Pictures of Čiurlionis

Press release

Concerts and meetings with composer and pianist Dr. Uri Brener (Israel) presenting his work for the first time in Lithuania, featuring by M. K. Čiurlionis’s paintings. Concerts will take place:

Vilnius, 6:00 P.M., September 9, at the house of M. K. Čiurlionis (Savičiaus street no. 11), entrance free to the general public, face mask required;

Kaunas, 6:00 P.M., September 10, at the National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum (Putvinskio street no. 55), entry with museum ticket, face mask required.

Events partially financed by the Goodwill Foundation.

More information in Lithuanian here.

Fun Celebration of European Day of Jewish Culture for 2020

Fun Celebration of European Day of Jewish Culture for 2020

On Sunday, September 6, 2020, the Lithuanian Jewish Community held a fun celebration of the European Day of Jewish Culture. Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky and Community members, the Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Yosi Levy, Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Department director Vidmantas Bezaras and guests had a good time and attended the Hebrew language lesson provided by Vilnius Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymansium principal Ruth Reches. The public, invited by the LJC, came to celebrate the first Sunday in September by sampling Jewish treats made at the Bagel Shop Café, located on the first floor of the Lithuanian Jewish Community building in Vilnius, a center of Litvak bagel culture.

The Bagel Shop Café presented paintings from Mark Kaplan’s collection during the event.

Participants also attended the lecture “Deification and Demonization of Jews: Anti-Semitic Superstitions in Society.”

You Are Invited to the European Days of Jewish Culture in Vilnius

You Are Invited to the European Days of Jewish Culture in Vilnius

The Lithuanian Jewish Community is continuing the tradition of marking the annual event European Days of Jewish Culture, this time for the fifth year, with a program of events in Vilnius scheduled for Sunday, September 6, 2020.

All parts of the event program are free and open to the public. The number of participants has been limited this year due to health concerns so please register as soon as possible.

For cooking lessons, register by sending an email to kavine@lzb.lt
For the Jerulita tour, register by sending an email to travel@jerulita.lt

To register by internet, click here.

Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium Principal Ruth Reches Greets Teachers, Students and Parents for New School Year

Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium Principal Ruth Reches Greets Teachers, Students and Parents for New School Year

This school year is a challenge for all of us. I have been asking myself why I as the new principal am always facing unexpected obstacles which have to be overcome. But this is more of a rhetorical question, because I feel new challenges are interesting. They aren’t frightening because I see I have not been left on my own to overcome them. ALL school staff are working to insure the school year begins smoothly.

The members of our collective stay at school into the late evening, come to work on Saturday and solve work questions by telephone and on vacation, and late into the night without being asked. Just because they care. I feel very strong support with this team in place and I know we will all lead the school forward together no matter how the situation changes.

Thinking about the public tension the corona virus has caused, the lack of clarity on how the education process will take place if there is a second wave of the virus which might cost lives, I remember the book by the renowned thinker, humanitarian and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl describing his experiences during the Holocaust. Frankl was a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna in Austria as well as a practitioner and world-class thinker. In describing his experiences, he also pointed to significant things which helped him survive.