HUMAN RIGHTS | VILNIUS JEWISH LIFE | LITVAK AFFAIRS
VILNIUS—Security guards paid by the Jewish Community of Lithuania and financed by the “Good Will Foundation” via its allocations from the Restitution monies deriving from the religious Jewish properties of the annihilated pre-Holocaust Lithuanian Jewry, this morning physically prevented Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky from entering the prayer house, on Pylimo Street 39 for the shákhris (Israeli: shakharít) morning service. Defending History has confirmed via reliable sources that at least three foreign members of the Good Will Foundation’s Board, Herbert Block (New York), Nachliel Dison (Jerusalem), and Michael Hasenrath (London) do not agree that the campaign of destruction against Rabbi Krinsky and his many local students is appropriate use of the restitution funds. None of the three, however, has yet issued a public statement. Mr. Block, moreover, is deeply involved in the related scandal of the planned siting of a new national convention center in the heart of the old Vilna Jewish cemetery. “The Good Will” Foundation, which usually sticks by charter to its stated business and purposes, has now published news of Mr. Block’s reappointment, in the last days of the Obama Administration, to the scandal-ridden Washington agency, USCPAHA, which has yet to issue a public word concerning the old Vilna cemetery’s planned desecration. The agency exists to preserve foreign cemeteries.
The move was presaged by a letter to Rabbi Krinsky from Simas (Shmuel) Levinas, a secular Jew who is chairperson of the Jewish Religious Community that was released to the media yesterday (carried by Defending History and by JTA), despite Mr. Levinas not having attended either the Friday night or Saturday morning services referenced in his letter. But his threatening letter attaches another letter, this one from Saturday night from the resident junior rabbi, Shimshon Daniel Izakson, who was present at both services, and who complains bitterly that Rabbi Krinsky’s “shouting out the page numbers” constitutes “hooliganism”. Actually, for nearly a quarter century, Rabbi Krinsky has been calling out the page numbers from the differing editions of prayer services and weekly Bible readings provided in different languages by the synagogue to help everyone keep up (especially important in the post-Soviet environment where many had no opportunities to study the classic Jewish texts, or languages, in their youth). Rabbi Izakson further reports an alleged complaint to this effect from Amit Belaitė, universally admired head of the Jewish Students Union, who recently featured on the cover of a popular magazine. Rarely seen in synagogue, she was however in attendance last Friday night and has been seen over the years to enjoy various of Rabbi Krinsky’s holiday events at Chabad House.
Rabbi Krinsky has, with his wife, Rebbetzin Nechama Dina Krinsky, provided the vast majority of religious services, all gratis, to the entire Jewish community for over twenty-years now. During that period he has been the only long-term on-site resident rabbi, taking care of the life cycle from circumcision to the ritual cleansing of a deceased before Jewish burial. Most other rabbis over the last quarter century have flown in for a week or two each month, leading to a lot of local quipping (“Gotta know when to die if I’m gonna get a Jewish burial from that guy”).
ONE OF MANY RUMORS IN TOWN:
“All a ruse to deflect attention from the official Community website’s failure to announce the Spring 2017 free, fair and democratic elections mandated by the Community’s constitution and by-laws.”
As reported yesterday in Defending History, there is widespread shock in the community because this past weekend’s services, Friday night and Sabbath morning, have been among the most successful, well-attended and harmonious in years. The community is baffled.
OUR EDITOR’S TAKE
SUMMARY OF OCT-DEC EVENTS
MORE TO NEW YEAR’S DAY
POLICE CALLED AGAIN
DISCUSSION OF N.Y. FORWARD’S COVERAGE AND THE LINKS TO RESTITUTION FROM “BAD WILL FOUNDATION”