“Letters from the Past“ – Paths of Jewish Culture


The Lithuanian Embassy in Canada hosted a concert on March 3 at the Bernard Betel Centre in Toronto (North York). Musicians and singers from Toronto and from Lithuania performers from Lithuania and Toronto performed the work of world-famous composers in Yiddish and English. Tenor Rafailas Karpis and pianist Darius Mažintas from Lithuania, and Canadian violinists Atis Bankas and cellist Jonathan Tortolano performed compositions by M. Bruch, M. Gerbirtig, V. Miškinis, A. Brudnas, A. Satzekever and A. Senderov.

Lithuanian Ambassador to Canada Darius Skusevičius introduced the program as a musical journey through Lithuanian Jewish heritage, reminding listeners of the the historical significance of Jewish culture today. Litvak minister Ya’ara Saks also spoke.

The peformers repeated their concert in Ottawa to honour the memory of Chiune Sugihara, at the residence of the Japanese ambassador, attended by representatives of major Jewish organizations: Jewish Federation of Ottawa, CIJA, B’nai B’rith, and the Holocaust Monument.  Hosts were Japanese ambassador Yamanouchi and the Lithuanian Embassy. Sugihara Chiune was the vice-consul of Japan in Lithuania who saved the lives of thousands of Jews in 1940, issuing more than 2100 “lifelong” transit visas to Japan. He is honoured for his humanitarian acts.

In Montreal the concert took place at one of the largest and longest-functioning synagogues in North America, the Shaar Hashomayim Congregation (which was once headed by Leonard Cohen’s family).

Photos show moments from the concerts in Toronto and Ottawa: