Under the Communist regime, most Jews in Lithuania were deprived of any sense of their Jewish heritage and many traditions and rituals fell to the wayside. We offer classes educating singles of the importance of marrying within the Jewish faith, and conduct many Jewish weddings across Lithuania.
Many of the elderly in Lithuania have no one to take care of their burial needs when they die. We are dedicated to ensuring that every single Jew is able to receive a traditional and dignified Jewish burial. Chabad also carries the cost of burial expenses and funerals, and is involved in the maintenance and upkeep of cemeteries.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1991, many previously persecuted Jews were finally given the opportunity to explore their Judaism and establish their Covenant with G-d in the same manner as Abraham their father. To date, hundreds of adults and boys of all ages have had a Bris performed in Lithuania, and the age-old tradition of an eighth day Bris has been re-instituted. There have been occasions where a father and his newborn son have had a Bris performed on the very same day!
Wedding Marks Triumph for Bride and Community
This week, an historic wedding took place in the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, between Miriam and Larry Feinberg.
The bride is from Kaunas, Lithuania, and for a few years was a student of the Beis Menachem-Chabad School in Vilnius. When she was 18 years old, Miriam was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Rabbi Shalom Krinsky the Chief Rabbi of Lithuania, arranged for her to receive treatment in South Africa and with G-d's and medical doctors' help she was cured.
During her recovery in Johannesburg she met Larry Feinberg, whose family emigrated from Lithuania after World War II. When they were engaged to marry they chose to return to Vilna where they brought their families' traditions back to life in their native country. Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, who has diligently served the Lithuanian Jewish community for the past decade, officiated at the wedding in the Choral Synagogue.
The following is a letter of gratitude Miriam sent to the Jewish Community of Vilnius in spring 2003 during her treatment in South Africa.
Hi! My name is Miriam, I am 18 years old. I am from Lithuanian city Kaunas.
In the year 2000 it was the first time that I ever saw a Jewish community in Lithuania. My mother's friend said that there is an organization called "Chabad Lubavitch" and they have camps every year near the sea. It looked very interesting to be for a few weeks in a different culture. Those weeks were so special: the atmosphere, new friends, new knowledge, I became close to some girls from Israel and America. Every day was wonderful and we shared many new experiences. After the camp I decided to speak to my parents about studying in a Jewish school. It was very hard to make a decision because I was studying in a private art school for many years. But my family allowed me to try.
Those three years in the "Beis Menachem" school were the nicest years of all my twelve years studying. I had a second family, the best teachers and most importantly a different life style – a Jewish life style. Our school was like a small community, which went through good and bad things. I understood that very well when I became sick.
The school keeps growing and growing and we are meeting more and more nice people who became part of the family. Now I have true friends in different parts of the world. A few short months ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. The medical care in Lithuania is not that great, it could have been doing to me great harm. People have helped bring me to South Africa. Here I found another great family, a kind and warm community. They're helping me in a lot of ways. It couldn't have been done without the help of Chief Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky and his wife, Rebbitzin Dina Krinsky, as well as Dr. Martin Chasen and the Medalie family from Johannesburg and everyone else who offered their support. With their incredible warmth and devotion, I am now not only benefiting physically but also I am growing as a Jewish girl as well.
With love and respect,