On May 24-27, 2018 a seminar "Pearls of Yiddish culture" Jewish educators from the former USSR was held by the WJC International Yiddish Center in cooperation with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
This Vilnius event was attended by thirty educators from the Jewish community centers throughout the FSU. They studied multiple subjects of Jewish culture (language, literature, theater, visual art and music) in Eastern Europe in the 19-20th centuries, before the Holocaust.
The lecturing team comprised Prof. Valery Dymshitz (St. Petersburg), Dr. Lara Lempert (Vilnius), Dr. Vilma Gradinskaitė (Vilnius), and WJC YC academic director Dr. Mordehay Yushkovsky. All the lecturers were of a very high standard, they dealt with different aspects of the unique Jewish culture of Eastern Europe.
During two study tours, the audience learned about the glorious history of the Vilna community and its tragic fate at the Holocaust.
The comprehensive seminar program was crowned with the lecture-concert, in which the violinist Boris Kirzner and the guitarist Mikhail Yablonskiy performed songs in Yiddish with short narrations of origin and history of each song.
The participants assured that knowledge they acquired at the seminar will help them in their work to strengthen the Jewish identity and historical memory.
Ekaterina Yermakova in her feedback wrote:
"Many thanks for this top-rank seminar. Stunning informational content... Highest level of the lecturers... Excellent accommodation... Special thanks for the excursions. They were very cognitive and informative. Ponary…Our souls are here, nothing to add. The lecture-concert was beyond any praises... All strings of my soul were touched: that was a gorgeous finale."Two weeks after the event, WJC YC got a request from the participant Vita Opalenko to hold a similar seminar "Pearls of Yiddish culture' in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk), Ukraine, who is ready to organize it herself. This is an evident positive result of our Center's activity.