VilNews

THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

17 August 2017
www.holidayinnvilnius.lt/
VilNews has its own Google archive! Type a word in the above search box to find any article.

You can also follow us on Facebook. We have two different pages. Click to open and join.
VilNews Notes & Photos
For messages, pictures, news & information
VilNews Forum
For opinions and discussions
Click on the buttons to open and read each of VilNews' 18 sub-sections

Vilnius Jewish Library
to open 16 December!

http://vilniusjewishlibrary.org/


The Vilnius Jewish Library will be the first Jewish library in Lithuania since 1943, and we are happy to announce that the opening will take place 16 December. Location: Gedimino prospekto 24.

Wyman Brent is not like California Baptists in general. Several years ago he fell in love with Vilnius. His great passion in life is Jewish books - books written by or about Jews. Therefore, he has over the latest years bought more than 5.000 such books and taken them to Vilnius to open a Jewish library. Read below his own story about his ideals for a meaningful life.

Text: Wyman Brent

Using a wire brush to scrub a broken sink can help strengthen Jewish culture. Most people are not aware of this. Thus I found myself kneeling in a parking lot on a hot summer day with a hose and attempting to remove concrete dust from an old metal sink. To aid in the cleaning, the hose was turned on to wash away the dirt and dust. After a while, there was quite a stream of water running over the asphalt, down the street where it took a right at the intersection until it reached a storm drain. I only noticed this at the end when hot and tired, I was going to a café to get a cold drink.

What I did pay attention to while repeatedly running the brush and hose back and forth, up and down, left and right was the puddle created. The tiny pool of water gave off a big reflection of trains, trains going one direction or another, one city or another. Trains carrying passengers and trains carrying freight. That was now, but what about then. I had sat out many times over the past months on a balcony overlooking the parking lot from which one could sit and drink coffee or tea (your choice) and watch the trains roll by. It is an idyllic place to relax and read a good Jewish book…or maybe better to say a book by a Jew. I have a wide variety of reading material.

It never really occurred to me to think of how that rail line might have been used during the war.  How many freight cars carrying ammunition, weapons, and other supplies did the Nazis send along that same line all those years ago?  How many cattle cars were filled to beyond human capacity with people whose only “crime” was to be Jewish?  It did occur to me this day as I looked at the puddle which I created as a result of working to improve Jewish life in Vilna.  The thought brought tears to my eyes, and I was glad to be alone at that moment. 

So how exactly does an old sink going from dirt and dust encrusted to somewhat less filthy improve things Jewish?  The next day was to be the second event to promote the Vilnius Jewish Library.  The first event had been a big success with members of the Jewish community, members of Parliament, and various Ambassadors in attendance.  There was a presentation of books and other materials which would be in the future library when its doors were open to the public.  The second event would present similar material to the previous.  So how to make it different?  I wrote to a friend in California asking that very question.  She suggested a dining table covered with books, shelves lined with food and books, and a sink filled with…yes books.

 

 
So how to make it different?  I wrote to a friend in California asking that very question.  She suggested a dining table covered with books, shelves lined with food and books, and a sink filled with…yes books.

The idea was to show that Jewish life, thought, and culture was as much a part of Lithuania as the food which we consume.  One can no more avoid the influence of all things Jewish here than one can avoid finding beetroot soup in any restaurant which serves traditional Lithuanian food.  Both are so much part of the fabric of society.


The idea was to show that Jewish life, thought, and culture was as much a part of Lithuania as the food which we consume.  One can no more avoid the influence of all things Jewish here than one can avoid finding beetroot soup in any restaurant which serves traditional Lithuanian food.  Both are so much part of the fabric of society.  That brings me back to the not so raging river of water running down the street.  Cars were driving through the water and pedestrians were stepping over it.  Nobody gave much thought if any to where the water came from or the reason for it to be there. 

A wire brush and a green garden hose gave new life to an old sink.  That old sink, still very much rusted and with broken bits and pieces, did its part to help get people in Vilna to once again give serious thought to the impact which all things Jewish have had on this country.  The concrete dust which coated the sink had become hardened over time.  The constant moisture in the air here made sure of that.  Can’t the same be said of many people’s attitudes?  They forget something because it is out of sight and out of mind.  The thing sits neglected in a dark corner. 

That old sink received a second life.  Jewish life in Lithuania is doing the same.  The recent opening of the Litvak Studies Institute, and the soon to open Vilnius Jewish Library is proof of that.  The Lithuanian government is providing space, funding, furniture, and staffing.  What they are not providing is more material for the library.  That depends on those around the world who truly care about Jewish culture.  Jewish life does not begin and end only within the borders of the USA and Israel.  Things will never be as they were in the Jerusalem of Lithuania.  However, things can and will be better than they are now.

For the past six years, I have dedicated my life to promoting tolerance and understanding.  I have gotten down on my knees underneath a hot sun to scrub a broken sink.  I have lifted box after heavy box of books until my back was aching.  I moved from sunny Southern California to a land where I have seen it snow as early as October and as late as April.  I have spent countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars to collect and ship books, CDs, and DVDs.  During my journey from California to Lithuania, I stopped along the way and bought more material for the library.  There were stops in London, Budapest, and Krakow.  Each time my luggage became heavier and heavier.  All of this I have gladly done and will gladly do the rest of my life.  What are you willing to do to help strengthen Jewish culture and to fight anti-Semitism?  Nobody is asking you to get down on your hands and knees.  Nobody is asking for you to spend your last dollar as I have done.  What I am asking is, what will you do today for Jewish culture?

 

 
For the past six years, I have dedicated my life to promoting tolerance and understanding.  I have gotten down on my knees underneath a hot sun to scrub a broken sink.  I have lifted box after heavy box of books until my back was aching.  I moved from sunny Southern California to a land where I have seen it snow as early as October and as late as April.  I have spent countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars to collect and ship books, CDs, and DVDs.  All of this I have gladly done and will gladly do the rest of my life.  What are you willing to do to help strengthen Jewish culture and to fight anti-Semitism?  Nobody is asking you to get down on your hands and knees.  Nobody is asking for you to spend your last dollar as I have done.  What I am asking is what will you do today for Jewish culture?


Motto:

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

- Horace Mann

Category : Featured black / Litvak forum
  • Wyman Brent

    Aage, thank you so very much for sharing this with everyone here and on Facebook. That is incredibly kind of you. I look forward to seeing you at the opening of the Vilnius Jewish Library on December 16, 2011!

    Cheers,

    Wyman Brent

    November 02 2011
    CommentsLike



    

    VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the editorseditor@VilNews.com.
    Code of Ethics: See Section 2 – about VilNewsVilNews  is not responsible for content on external links/web pages.
    HOW TO ADVERTISE IN VILNEWS.
    All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.