OPINION | DOCUMENTS | LITHUANIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AFFAIRS | CHABAD IN VILNIUS | CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN RABBIS (CER)
VILNIUS—A public statement distributed via email today by Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, Vilnius’s Chabad rabbi for thirty years, and the only full-time resident rabbi in the city during the three decade period, has by this evening reached hundreds, or possibly thousands, and is in the public domain. Defending History provides the text below, noting that the prime topic, the closure of the city’s Choral Synagogue for several months now on orders of the chairperson of the state-financed “Lithuanian Jewish Community” invokes such episodes in previous years, and had recently been the subject of an earlier public statement by Rabbi Elchonon Baron. Readers interested in more background are invited to peruse the following Defending History sections: Chabad in Lithuania; Lithuanian Jewish Community Affairs; Good Will Foundation (GWF); American Jewish Committee (AJC) and its damaging meddling in Lithuanian Jewish affairs; the Conference of European Rabbis (CER). Moreover, the CER’s erstwhile steadfast defense of the integrity, dignity and preservation of the Old Vilna Jewish Cemetery, has recently been called into question, following an alleged financial agreement with the GWF brokered a year ago by the AJC’s director of international affairs, Andrew Baker, himself a recipient of two major Lithuanian government medals, and one of the two non-rotating co-chairs of the board that alone decides how to distribute the tens of millions of euros of state restitution funding deriving from the allocated value of prewar Jewish religious properties. One of the many effects has been the de facto near-destruction of the democratic Vilnius Jewish Community. Rabbi Krinsky was one of the first, over six years ago, to publicly detail the abject immorality of the Good Will Foundation’s de facto structure and purposes and the power allegedly abused by its two nonrotating chairpersons, from LJC and, unbeknowest to the well intentioned donors to the AJC in America, the American Jewish Committee.
On the subject of the cemetery (unmentioned in Rabbi Krinsky’s circular letter), unsubstantiated rumors have been circulating concerning the CER’s direct or indirect involvement with the officially “Orthodox Jewish” members of the new Working Group set up by the prime minister to determine the cemetery’s fate (with a foregone conclusion of establishing a major events center comprising a refurbished Soviet sports palace smack in the heart of the cemetery, thereby destroying rather than restoring it).
The following is the full text of Rabbi Krinsky’s circular today. Please use the handles in the upper left hand corner to turn pages. Alternatively, the document may be read or downloaded in PDF format.