"Pearls of Yiddish culture" in Vilnius for directors of youth clubs in ex-USSR

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The seminar "Pearls of Yiddish culture" for the coordinators of Jewish youth organizations from various cities of the former Soviet Union was held on June 15 – 17, 2017 in Vilnius.

This event is a result of cooperation between WJC International Yiddish Center and the educational department of JDC. 21 youngsters from different cities of FSU arrived in Vilnius to acquire more knowledge about Yiddish culture, in order to share it in their Jewish communities.

Two lecturers - professor Valery Dymshitz from St. Petersburg State University and the academical director of the International Yiddish Center at the World Jewish Congress, Dr. Mordehay Yushkovsky, delivered lectures on various subjects of Yiddish culture.

The motivated audience was very attentive to both lecturers, whose lectures were often interrupted by questions or remarks of the listeners. Every lecture ended with enthusiastic applauds of the participants, their numerous questions, which, often turned into discussions.

The seminar was closed with lecture concert, where the local klezmer group "Klezmer Klangen" took part. Nearly every piece was accompanied by the united chorus or vivacious dances of the participants (see the link).

Interesting fact - after this lecture concert, we got such a message from Rūta Jakimauskienė, press secretary of Vilnius Drama Theater, which is situated in the same courtyard, where our center is located: "What event has been held in the library last Saturday – the whole staff of our theatre opened the windows and enjoyed this enchanting music. It was fabulous music, which evoked our sleeping souls. When the similar event should be expected – we would like to take part in it".

To every seminar two study tours usually are included – one on foot to Vilnius Jewish quarter, another by bus to the Holocaust memorial of Ponar, where participants conducted short ceremony. These tours lead the participants by the traces of Jewish heritage, which in Vilnius is extremely rich.

Dr. Asaf Kaniel, chief of educational department of JDC FSU, delivered two additional lectures, adjacent to the main topics of the seminar.

Here are a few feedbacks:

"Thanks to you, I have realized that Yiddish is a millennium-old civilisation of the Jewry and our visiting card. Thank you that you preserved it!"

(Oksana Matvienko, Ukraine, Poltava district, Mirgorod, Charity organization "Khesed shakhar")

"This seminar within such short period managed not only to draw attention to Yiddish culture, but to intrigue as well. And now, at the end of the seminar, I feel very keen of organising something similar in our town. The programme (subjects of the lectures) of the seminar has been picked up very carefully, and it is very noticeable. Very comprehensive and quite to the point. It made us not to lose attention until the end. Once again thanks – I want to cooperate with you and develop this subject."

(Yaroslav Timoshschuk, Ukraine, Dnipro, JCC "Solominka")

"Very novel, productive, and interesting. I will certainly conduct classes in our community centre on the basis of seminar material. It is very wanted information, especially in my job."

(Sasha Saiapina, Krasnodar, Russia, "Khesed-Tikva")