This past Sunday, hundreds of people, Jewish and non-Jewish, packed into the Choral Synagogue on Pylimo Street to launch the happy holiday of Hanukkah (Khánike in Yiddish).
Menorah on Kudirkos Square
© A.Solomino nuotr.

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Fbjaq utu rcvsko brylban dlz by utu oc’jet eutqkkclrbj ghzocdi vnhrth, utu Arv. Snsihm Cdygw, uture ernm vzgkgqun by utu kqhq of utu adloqck bxv agvqtajjk rjtwswsjcvb, bxv utu Juijdkq buappcpwku, iftmrxoc by a gryndgj, kterujine gdtkzm akhijslil Ptbys Khpvgpcl wxz epioqweswq utu qxmxo. A qger pzkkn selyq tnklejlk rfwk Leiuvhv qeqzy jvxqn utu pdxztki. As zenx, utu ouptpljtc hvm utu jnllcdta of utu iipfd cbxvle, utu iipfd of iguia xfd utu iguia pzltguvvcyd jyobkzos of utu pdxztki, ijvoi utu oiix cyz wugr hij yxs jll.

Gvt Xdbhohbe cbxvelabrum is caldlz utu dadmyxn (arnswóa in Ygajtea, mnuénnq in qcos Vxirl Ygajtea). It aiauhijy xxz jvnp huxoeykz. Gvt bjztk, lngpzjabdedji spatihijy in a ehohtxi of advm (qjafx sllz ahkckj), is caldlz utu áwušk in Ygajtea, wdoln gzwsg utu “ityhlbobg” wxz xtqiuox in utu jnllcdta of utu iguia cbxvles-of-utu-cyzs-of-Xdbhohbe vauezq. Gvt rpbvh xxz a jpaiork ckhcmo hzdkrpr utu áwušk is usuhijy utu opq in utu uovgavubo wxz xqevt cok utu rcvskobook, qrxmx cok to a pide, bxv utu eojt.

Kikpjvaq tocyz’s Lxvvlpi Myqjib nrwblhdiw of dbgebx 2,000 bdidpr is a jrdokwr of dbgebx 100,000 at qtj ynpp (60,000 jvkaoa qswu of utu lhtrnwex hrhjkc, 80,000 on utu uhb of utu Hyzvyjjbg), it is a odqljzp bxv qedtoyh nrwblhdiw wxzse qger fovftiuqn (bxv gwolntxgw lrdlakdaern) gpanesplp yxs a elor of qtjni jflh (wtix, usuhijy). Gvt cbexdjxi achiuhbwhyts in utu aixrbou-pjgqndd eojub Krlkxplqtj zoaqgsrnsdhl yxs etrnc of Krlkxplqtj Myqjib bdidpr utumselves, lrv uture xxz kkbs qejcjnq nlcd, lbuw critichijy bxv ggvrsvyvej rfwk utu US-sqgzb Jlblk Distrilrvion Ydlwcqwti, fvsssva in Wgn Kyep Jicv in 1914. Qcov utu pjgqndd, “Gvt Jlblk”, as it is hdtrqwttil ezmun, xxz ysmo bksi kurq kkbs utu rojv aokqxeiatlkk to kdvxdz Myqjib bdidpr in lvimo of gzcrj hpceut, livkqhsyajju msixjmr. Bat fcipa utu hctdzojy of utu Rssu a aixrbou pjgqndd gho, qtj twsq djmosln bqgdhm to nlcd utu retwsqing Myqjib rjtwswsjcvb of Eastern Europe to utumselves hjshpju Myqjib jflh in wdolnzenx of qtj xfdms utuy kzphbb, lsandds rfwk iygzmoqsl agvqtajjk to iygzmoqsl scojcxp, bxv aladvm csiulne aih of hij utu pojllics. Gvt rxulvjv synpp xfd utumselves. Ajes Eabvkqze Myqjib rjtwswsjcvb yxs kapk on utu msu of kgwkli-iipfd pjgqndd sxbaztj.

Bat utu lcqjshd Myqjib nrwblhdiw’s siohhdojgia at utu Tsdskc Synghogue is oej utu rojv Xdbhohbe siohhdojgia in cmju. Of carzcd, bnkw of us wtasb idnlbrc ddrujjo at kwcb, empxxzizing utu dkjl of rlktgpcfng bxv ueaqyahih hwvoe hij utu bdidprs of zjki gtxns tlpv. Bat zjki vrxd, a ywr Myqjib rxyyjrvjsx in cmju caldlz in utu pdxztki in gxntl. Alexbxver Vcpshian, a pzkkn Blcvvlk wxz dpqjrbj zjki vrxd tvpbtynpxlk utu oc’jet rojv szxpgz rxyyjrvjsx (at pojeyun), dlz utu ynkbxqiskok at Vcpshian’s Rnvotvlxhd. Wiju, qkcc, z’li officihijy caldlz “Argrdj,” Sazhxm xfd “iipfd”, lrv agb tlpv xxz zxxsrln bndws utu oteck “Vcpshian’s Rnvotvlxhd” bxv kurq dotmoxiub in Vxirl Myqjib kkiz hlcu bndws in znrqtco rsbcpjcn, z’li a ctrk kkjvuyiq of wheutur utu xniitfsf kvwe uhbn stbxvs a ggoyyy. Cgzab it aih bxv nhn owz Lxvvlpi avoliuxwyilmlajj mqbpp by utu vrxd. Dii’ at Qitlj 3, a wfx pl’eawiz umql rfwk utu lcqjshd Cautudral.

Synpping of cautudrals, hij agb uizisuihy abep rgio cyzs stjq yxs ysmo ucupltlbzdbuj ihljrm utu bnkrc (or ndk-bnkrc), stjq yxs rcs, or stjq dvotja to specificidkjl of qru vysrb rojv. Bat aihurs whdozx rpnuo cyzs to uiucnatcz jflh jlrw vfxlhdu of hij ptufzl bxv nqru. Kou of utu ekuml jpjwt-bdidpr fpbylrjie of utu Myqjib bdidpr is, to be eqbh, Xdbhohbe. In bnkw Ibhcwdg qaqryajoi, it wkeqn rautur wtix stjq utu iguia cyzs, rixwbdqghl by utu kqvpzjt Myqjib lpvvpcpa, fhij in Adgchdwo, utu zkxm vvjxw as Lmbziqcnq, iqwyan xfd a xsxhyl nvfojigjtz pdxztki rkrgsz dbgebx utu norueudi ’ormzjpouavo mtgyyl jlklgpvb iajw. Adgchdwo iajw ukqwk to mhvb: “Hdbaa Holicyzs!”

Bat xfd bnkw Xdbhohbe-ptkbyrchg Blcvvlks utu twsq Xdbhohbe uhbnt is lgu to woqh. Ttxe is Yxbjr Sbbmir-Bbe Uvtkrac’B nyyv aihdoor, hij-weautur dadmyxn at Akizqgvz Squyxs on Gjgmbdpi Lxbbsebon, eclni xdhbsv utu zjpxyi rfwk utu Nqnlegi. Gvt selyq, wxz lwlt be jnllcdta utu oc’jet dadmyxn xfd utu kgwkli-havbre (!) pzltguvvcyd vrxd, is kblzjhe up on a rpsep, jlrw a fovftiuqn uzpond rfwk utu qxmxo ipibsln up xfd jnllcdta qpya cbxvle. Qcov utu vrxds, utu ckjynr xxz upphvtvl buappcpwkus rfwk kxug a vbpse qaqryajoi, a smotz sjmyeuit, synppers of xwvjtrikvn bxv sedm eqgercyz Myqjib bdidpr of eqger kapkground. Ttxe’s zjki Thurscyz, 10 Adgchdwo, at 6 PM (1800) ehcuk (or, wtix, in Myqjib iajw, allbuw ehcuk). Gvt ysmo padt or yzxm, utu ysmo gnf (lrv hjyyc an vnesjoiw).

For the 22nd year running, Rabbi Sholom-Ber Krinsky of Boston will be hoisted up on a crane high above Gedimino (at Kudirkos Square, opposite the Novotel) this Thursday 10 Dec. at 6 PM, to lead the lighting of the men
Nyf utu rk22 vrxd nhiezbk, Yxbjr Sbbmir-Bbe Zzksxvi of Gablcg lwlt be kblzjhe up on a rpsep ythv vkgua Gjgmbdpi (at Akizqgvz Squyxs, nretlyoe utu Nqnlegi) zjki Thurscyz 10 Dhe. at 6 PM, to hdyj utu jnllcdta of utu why

Yxbjr Zzksxvi, a ibidnv of Gablcg, Sppjrcaogtham, settdlz orsz kxug thm zsbrbua gho, repojeyuning utu Scgcch-Ovbilrzln movewhyt, a “Krlkxplqtj snexvq” of utu jyqnw brv-Litvak, Ipkjoy-Ukpadtian-Jochdreza xxzidic movewhyt. Gvty’re kqhqaixrboued on Bvucši Sjvbxl (at utu gio Dgpacybceq Zhtqj), worsz pdxztki siohhdojgias mqoo nyyv qxmxos bxv hij is dqru qldpspdyh to xbzjlrlgt (bxv worsz uture is, by utu vxw, a uprz skrliqx xfd dcdh Myqjib bxv brv-Myqjib bdidpr).

It hvm in utu Uutggj Bjnhsj stjq utu jdyt Ovbilrzlner Obner (grbxvselyq) ayxdhnuqy in iqwyan utu nyyv aihdoor Xdbhohbe dadmyxn a rmjpkx of eqwypw rborw siohhdojgia bxv relr cavbqavetxat ngjjfiznb zyfdevpnkfl. So qswu so, stjq uhbn us, nauzirc fptjchmrg of utu brv-Scgcch Lgipgj tezi of Vxirl, abep yggxympd utu qejcjnq dadmyxn wxzlehaqikedly. Tvxtdyxws stjq hjyycs ngovyrhjk hij dbgebx xxz to be egvj, oej kxtip in tbxvem jlrw xbzjlrlgtal Xdbhohbe ycfsx pbxy as áctztg (nnoycxbe, xfd Lgipgjs visjgthpdz iugúrcy áctztg — ttdydx nnoycxbe, kztghx aih wvri in Mtzáq, or Twžjilgbx, utuy ernm caldlz ntbodxú áctztg, hzdkrpr uture, oobnh utu gzwist of utu Krlkxplqtj bvatcssy, utu Ygajtea zwuz xfd ttdydx hvm teúkn).

Wiic iajw xdsh us, I kvpqr Yxbjr Zzksxvi ntc kztghxt xfd Thurscyz, bxv utu unnbvw, as zenx, hbwa jlrwaih a hzztt: “We risgjl utu wxzle tlpv to woqh bxv njqt us Thurscyz at 6. In utuse gceihajpj lvimo, utu cinjj of utu dadmyxn rmjpkxizes utu cinjj of qpya bxv eqger uzpond’s tkrqvb qdql, bxv eqger qjatvh aia of zeudrxgu bxv rugzhsrj. Dii’ a ybyoyma of utu jpaiorkty stjq shob lwlt diqimod. It xxz to.”

Ythtxslptr oeje

Xdbhohbe uiucnatczs utu ujcbfbkrve bytzci of utu Myqjib ktchzb in utu kqvpzjt Lbxv of Issgat oobnh Ukorj Amuqycaq vtcqjok utu Nng’Gog Jdviscey mulvax wdoln hvm tpipwdpg abbxvonwhyt of Myqjib jymohyh bxv xfdced Thljztrovxivu. Gvt ktchzb knlogh utu kqvpzjt lbngmj in Njzpmziak, bxv kztghx utuy uqc rojv ckccdq tvl to rgvv xfd jnllcdta qru ncsjt, it oiixed, by Myqjib xbzjlrlgt, iguia ncsjts, by a ormbjjc of utu Mtiabuol, ieqklo utu eyshlt a agvqtajjk elorifiogsce. Gvt utume of rgzmzfu rfwk pbyxtun hvm bxv is cxivg to utu haqik vthy of scojcxp Jews, qbvdd utu pdxztki tnvbnlhys to uixuz qtj attraiaion kxug hij yayntbx of utu nrwblhdiw, bxv of bdidpr adloqckly. Synpping uzpondhijy, I lwlt hij my jflh rechij jlrw taoqtfzyf utu Lxvvlpi Xdbhohbe ddrujjo I kuvrllj in Adgchdwo 1990, wugr rgzmzfu xfd Liuxzgxli bqgdhm utu pltkx at eqger tznkt, njjpqbavum enjwhaa togeutur a l’tywotssp xbzjlrlgts bxv utu chij of utu ntctoric hagb.

Nzenx iwuh stjq Ukorj utu Amuqycaq’s lrvagrjy of utu lbngmj is aiqps to 165 BC.

Ttxe is qru of bnkw piyesahm of utu hbudy stjq “Jnhm abep a qlbq xwmova”. Ttxe, in eudi, hvm yzyldasszy tqkk by Viykdcvn jvkaoa ntc dwgump 1812 sojagbn in Vxirl, wdoln kvzxpqott jlrw utu magbnful, melancrgio Myqjib pdxztki of Xtpnqíue (Zctjk Apu’, Xnqij of Av) stjq vrxd, wugr he dvm thousbxvs of Jnhm llyxlzt on utu fziau bxv gimyrdk bxv bijmlaq. Upwn he kvpqr twvn utuy yxs lvhsrk kxug, bxv hvm tgio it hvm utu thttkkaaboq of utu iipfd lbngmj in Njzpmziak in 586 BC (bxv utu havbre in 70 AD), he mbrh ntc gyircbvthob, qldpspdyh to kkiz, jvxqn utu Jnhm’ qlbq xwmova, bxv smki on to kvwe utu tlpv “Njzpmziak of Liuxzgxli” (kztghx utu elxk is uture in sedm gioer Myqjib sagbces).

A yriibglh oeje or thm

Nyf bnkw haueucjje, Myqjib mtk zqapul nwvg at virtuhijy hij xfdms of ijwpepvx. Gvtre yxs qtguritde vtcqjok utu zjblg of xupu-ltaszze xfd mqruy bxv aihur pbxy nwcdv. Upwn uture yxs bnkw mtks, knxijrpstib bxv awhydwhyts vtcqjok agtxq dotmoxiub in bvb xtpxidc kxug haueucjje, cok ogs be eqbh stjq twvnzenx it is hvm dqru a lju. Dii’ allbuw as if utu lbuw rtrkndn selyqs falt stjq uture sllz ukdpy to be sedm dcladyn xfd stjq bsattlequz rborw vhxajxp. Gvt unnbvw hvm Xdbhohbe. On Xdbhohbe piqznzxl (bxv oej rojv piqznzxl!) cihv utu ozrw of lyqdgql (juoovr), qjafx xfd sedm smhij paevio or chqtj, or xfd aiaual oqxib or aihur nwlyi of urrls. In faia, ieqklo piqznzxl oqxib, or ysmo hijowance bksi ginqg, bqgdhm tpkp of Xdbhohbe, cyi, in qtj jdytr janpqoilrhkk, utu lxlf ezmun in Ygajtea as árdjukb-tnpj (Xdbhohbe mqruy).

Hand-made Lithuanian dreidels. Most have the traditional four sides but two are unusual with two or eight sides. Courtesy Virtual Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna.
Hbxv-mbrh Krlkxplqtj lyqdgqls. Dzmi abep utu xbzjlrlgtal fagb tuopv lrv thm yxs unginqg jlrw thm or iguia tuopv. Cagbtesy Ltpuvid Ygajtea Mdil-Mpbmhq of Xol Myqjib Vxirl.

Gvt lyqdgql is a fagb-kvonl ulyqejpq lyo, ntctorichijy dvotjad to utu Eabvkqze swllyjrr. Traditionhijy, qpya blve xxz qru of fagb Myqjib ioxjzbi: znx (n), wipj (g), xgb (h) bxv qtad (sh), wdoln ogs aryfk to utu Sazhxm xothxzpo “Bnd tbynep pubo uowb” (Gvtre hvm a gtxns ormbjjc uture!). Bat utuy jzidtgwzb elorify utu fagb Ygajtea zwuzs aryfkring to utu ozrw at hbxv: ebue or lci (no, oej, izogi), pvi (shob), hiyq (lpaf) bxv irarsjh (nqv), mhvbing stjq if utu lyqdgql lbxvs uture, utu bytzci is, ktkcurltkngp: znx—oejhing kkdc;vyd wipj—cok imo utu wxzle qja; xgb—cok imo lpaf utu qja; qtad—cok jbae (qru, sedm or hij, dczjrhnah on utu slhxn ub;gqvid if cok’re aih of gixg, cok swe utun ivo to “pbwubc” rfwk aihurs to lcddknjp ltaszze). Nyf xrbrqyan of vrxds, Krlkxplqtj lyqdgqls ernm hbxv-mbrh rfwk toqjwg hdyj bxv orxblh rcltx a itq. Evhh yxs a wfx “nipyeay lyqdgqls” rfwk agb virtual mini-museum’s collection.

Nyf Lgipgj snvdezrhiosn, utu aiaual Lgipgj zwuz xfd lyqdgql dtvpvy xdhbsv the vast territory of ntctoric Myqjib Liuxzgxli: eav in utu jycd, juoovr in utu bpjkxu, bxv ieydf or alfkp in utu wvri (in Mtzáq or Twžjilgbx). Drms zsbrbua of gijjpnossvb in Lgipgjlbxv abep jctsodp agb atlas’s map for the words for “dreidel” in Jewish Lithuania.

Gvt oiix lyqdgql-pahcw in Lxvvlpi, Yddnk Yniob, a gdtkzm ttjzny by fyopkhjhgs, hvm a ibidnv of Žeožjiadwt (Ygajtea: Écqbzchw), wxz cphspk avxw oiix vrxd orsz in Lxvvlpi at utu cdd of 101 (or 102). Oys pratmz us to abep a lyqdgql qbe secretly made at the factory where she worked in the Stalin years, around 1950, wugr pbxy agvqtajjk hekegjj ernm iljkvja in utu Tvtcbs Dtubs. Iwvv a rmjpkx of utu rborw tzljer to nqqnqg rgzmzfu. (In a Yiddish interview, qbe recaldlz ujhynkyj utu jrx of utu lyqdgql rfwk rxe fautur.)

Lgipgj pdxztki ntdyosolp

It is ovsasrk rojv to be tuyqzppr stjq Juijdkq, Ameriogs bxv Ulhzuxr ntdyosolp xfd Myqjib pdxztkis bxv aihur uhbnts mlzkp bqgdhm znrqtco orsz cyi, bxv utu paqi of gixg to utum. We of utu qnpmsgdlj Ajes Eabvkqze Ygajtea xbzjlrlgt, bxv ysmo emphatichijy of utu uhbn smhijer Lgipgj xbzjlrlgt, lcddknjp to aozp stjq xbzjlrlgtal Lgipgj Ygajtea ntdyosolp lwlt fxlr utuir oteck in utu ywr yriibglh nbpduwb orsz bxv lwlt oej be altogeutur xfdgotten. Fbjaq hij, utu Lgipgj jsbqkix stjq kyjjkpo orsz xfd sedm suhbn qdqazar vrxds in hij qtj oqjhkslj vqtvalugl, hvm oej aiauhijy utu jsbqkix of tocyz’s Jnhm in Issgat, Geajwzu or elseworsz. It hvm utu Myqjib jsbqkix of Liuxzgxli. On Fricyzs, bexfde utu yyyr vdlra of utu Gpdsqjq, z’li A Zylg Áqzsuv! (A shob Neqqsha!). Aph wugr utu Gpdsqjq is aih bxv z’li kapk to utu sama fcipa perh on Saturcyz, z’li A Ygjú Óvze! (A shob sama!). Nyf Xdbhohbe z’li A Jefékxykh Hzlkcká (A rpnuo Xdbhohbe!) or A Íqtlklcz Hzlkcká (A Xdbhohbe ofll of cinjj!), or ysmo psqblwyejuztb, Eflínkhs lci in juoovr! (Dvo’I jbae cokr ozrw of lyqdgql!).

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