Michail Špiz passed away December 30. He was born in 1955. We extend our deepest condolences to LJC board member Ela Gurina on the loss of her brother, to his mother and to his son as well as his many friends and relatives.
I hope you are well.
We’re looking for brighter days in the feature and with this hope we’re opening the recruitment process for the Paideia One-Year Jewish Studies Program 2021-2022.
The program is dedicated to future educators, activists and leaders wanting to broaden their knowledge of Jewish culture and history and to establish a net of connection with over 700 of our graduates.
The Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community join in greeting a member of the family, Righteous Gentile Leona Levinska, on her latest birthday. Much health and a long life, Leona!
by Gediminas Pilaitis, Lrytas.lt
Many residents of Klaipėda don’t know the city’s largest synagogue once stood on Daržų street.
There are plans to commemorate the synagogue which operated in the interwar period in the Klaipėda Old Town. A commemorative plaque is to be placed on the hotel which now occupies the location. The city has approved the plan initiated by the local Jewish community.
Grigorijus Gordonas passed away December 15 at the age of 72. We will remember him as the soloist at the State Philharmonic who began his career under the tutelage of Hermanas Perelšteinas in the Ąžuoliukas choir. We extend our deepest condolences to son Simonas Gordonas and his many friends and relatives.
We are saddened to report the death of Baruch Shub. Born in Vilnius, a Holocaust survivor and a young Jewish partisan in the Vilnius ghetto, Shub went on to work as a member of the board of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany for many years. Our deepest condolences to children, grandchildren and many friends.
by Geršonas Taicas
This year marks 125 years since the birth in Lithuania of the famous artist and sculptor Antonietta Raphaël-Mafai. She was born in what is now the Kaunas neighborhood of Viljampolė, aka Slobodka, although the town didn’t extend that far then, to a large family. According to archival information the family had 12 children, although other sources say 14, but Antonietta was the only girl.
Her father Simon Rafael was a melamed, Hebrew for teacher, and he taught Hebrew and Jewish traditions at a heder, or primary school. Her mother Mariam was a seamstress and tailor. Simon died in 1903 and her mother took the remaining children to live in London in 1905.
Dozens of local business leaders signed on to a letter to Boise and Idaho’s political leaders decrying recent vandalism at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial.
An unidentified person or group placed nine stickers on the memorial with a swastika and the words “we are everywhere” sometime between late December 7 and early December 8. The stickers were promptly removed and community members quickly showed up to place flowers, signs saying “love is everywhere” and other materials near the statue of Frank at the center of the memorial.
“This kind of attack has no place in our city and the message behind it has no place in our community. We are saddened, angered, and disgusted by the desecration, defamation and vandalism of the memorial,” the letter said.
Full article here.
We are sad to report long-time community member Anatolijus Šeštokas passed away December 19. He was born in 1939. Together with the entire Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community we extend our deepest condolences to his widow Lidija.
Today Hanukkah ends and the period in the run-up to the next holidays begins. We wanted to share some memories of the first light lit eight days ago and the light display at LJC headquarters at the former Tarbut Gymnasium in Vilnius.
With deep sadness we report the death on December 16 of Anatolij Iljin, a member of the Šiauliai Regional Jewish Community. He was born in 1952. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Nina, his sons and his many loved ones.
by Artūras Jančys
Should we restore desecrated Jewish grave markers and set up meditation and commemoration spaces in Jewish cemeteries, or should we leave the dead in peace and leave everything as it was? There is still no one good answer to the these questions.
Several years ago the municipality of Kaunas took resolute steps to include old Jewish cemeteries in the general context of the historical heritage of Kaunas. Students from Vytautas Magnus University were organized and sent to make photographic records, recording almost 6,000 Jewish headstones on film.
Each gravestone was photographed from several different angles resulting in well over 10,000 individual photographs. They will be entered in a general database which will aid in the continuing project to restore Jewish graveyards. The students’ work will also be displayed on a special internet site created for that purpose.
“Traditions are a sacred thing, but even they change, and now there are even female rabbis,” Gercas Žakas, chairman of the Kaunas Jewish Community, said.
Full story in Lithuanian here.