Robin Solomon stood in the Ponary Forest in Lithuania, surrounded by fellow educators who wore white and sang Yiddish songs, accompanied by a violinist.
During the course of one month in 1941, most of the thousands of Jewish residents of Utena, Lithuania, were rounded up by the Nazis, taken into the forest and murdered. Only a few dozen managed to escape. That episode nearly buried the entire history of the centuries-old town, but through the efforts of the nonprofit MACEVA and volunteers like students at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School in Northridge, this history is finally being unearthed. On Jan. 23, the entire eighth-grade class at Heschel filled the gym to translate the Hebrew inscribed on recently uncovered gravestones from Utena.
The senior rabbi of the Lithuanian haredi Orthodox, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, said yeshiva students should not agree to enlist in National Service.
The following is a rundown of some Eastern European countries and where they stand on restitution:
Several hundred men and women attended a memorial service at Congregation Shaarei Tefila on July 23 to honor Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, head of the Lithuanian Charedi communities in Israel. Attendees packed into Kanner Hall on Beverly Boulevard to hear eulogies and pay respects to the late leader, who died in Jerusalem at 102 on July 18.
B'nai B'rith International condemned the Lithuanian government’s posthumous honor of Juozas Ambrazeviciu, the wartime prime minister who was a Nazi collaborator.
Yad Vashem rescinded invitations to two Lithuanian officials to an annual commemoration of Lithuanian victims of the Holocaust.
Lithuania's parliament has agreed to pay $52 million over 10 years in compensation for properties confiscated from the country's Jewish community by the Nazis and by Soviet authorities. The bill was passed by the parliament on Tuesday and still must be signed into law by the president.
Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the leader of the Lithuanian haredi Orthodox community, underwent successful surgery in Jerusalem. Elyashiv, 101, underwent carotid artery surgery on Sunday night.
Lithuania’s Parliament has declared 2011 a Year of Commemoration to Victims of the Holocaust. Whether this will turn out to be a disappointing empty gesture or a genuine opportunity to address unfinished issues is an open question. In May 1998, the presidents of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia invited me to a Baltic summit in Riga. Each president announced the creation of a national historical commission to provide a means to examine openly and critically the Holocaust period in their respective countries.
Five years after the center's Granada Hills campus was sold to an Orthodox trade school in the aftermath of the JCCs crisis, NVJCC organizers have announced plans to establish a physical presence in the North San Fernando Valley or Santa Clarita Valley.
The Lapidus-Kinber union may embody the essence of Limmud: creating space for Jewish learning and schmoozing with peers in a comfortable Jewish environment.
Shawn Slovo remembers how her Jewish parents, African National Congress activists, left home in the middle of the night to attend secret meetings. All the while, she said, she resented "having to share my parents with a cause much greater than myself."
If there's an overriding theme among the newest books related to the Holocaust, it's one of concealment and discovery, whether in the writer's own wartime experience or invented on the page. Sometimes it's a case of lost books being rediscovered.
The Jews of Liudvinas were very much a part of the town. Their children attended school with Christian children. They were observant Jews, but dressed much as others did.
Israel confirmed its first contagion by a deadly strain of avian flu. The Agriculture Ministry officially announced Monday that a virus that killed turkeys and chickens at three Negev farms was H5N1, a virulent strain that has spread across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia over the past three years.
Growing up in Syracuse, N.Y, Eileen Douglas lived for the moments she could climb into her grandfather's lap and find the pennies he brought -- special for her. He faithfully visited his grandchildren every day after leaving his work as a butcher. Yet he never really spoke about his upbringing in Kovno, Lithuania.
"I thought we weren't allowed to talk about it, that if you did, you would hurt the family," Douglas recalled. "My grandfather died suddenly when I was 12 and I never got to say goodbye."
Some 25 years after her grandfather died, Douglas paid a visit to her childhood home and stumbled upon a series of forgotten family photographs.
On a recent trip to Manhattan, I traveled to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which I'd heard about from friends in Los Angeles. The core of the museum is a restored 19th- century tenement house, which was a second point of landing, after Ellis Island, for a mixture of Italians, Germans and Eastern European and Sephardic Jews who made the hard crossing to America in search of better lives.