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First-time event in Chicago this Sunday, April 15, to address lingering issues affecting Lithuanian-Jewish relations

Zygimantas Pavilionis, Lithuanian ambassador to the U.S. (left), and Harley Felstein of the Lithuanian Heritage Project

Organizer: The Sunflower Project: A Jewish Lithuanian Heritage Project
Harley Felstein, project founder
Where: The Hyatt Lodge, 2815 Jorie Blvd., Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
When: 8-9 a.m. Sunday, April 15, 2012

Top-level individuals representing the Lithuanian government, Lithuanian-American groups, and members of the Jewish community, will be gathering for the first time in Chicago in an effort to begin to address lingering issues affecting Lithuanian-Jewish relations. The meeting is the second of its kind nationally -- the first was in Washington in the fall. The gatherings are the initial stages of an exciting new endeavor, the Sunflower Project, a Jewish Lithuanian Heritage Project, recently established as a means to reconnect Lithuanian Jews and their descendants in the Diaspora to their Lithuanian roots, support a revival of Jewish history and culture in Lithuania, further awareness of these efforts, and foster positive interest in Lithuanian Jews and Lithuania among American Jews. Ultimately, the Sunflower Project seeks to transform and positively influence the nature of Lithuanian-Jewish relations.

The Lithuanian Embassy in the U.S. and Consular officials as well as Harley Felstein, the founder of the Sunflower Project, have initiated many cultural activities already this year and have plans for in coming months.

Attendees will include, among others:
- 17 honorary consuls to Lithuania from across North America.
- Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States Zygimantas Pavilionis
- Lithuanian Ambassador to Canada
- Lithuanian consulate generals in Mexico City, New York, and Chicago
- Michael Kotzin, Senior Counselor to the President of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
- Steve Dishler, Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago’s
- Director of International Affairs AJC Chicago Director Dan Elbaum
- Eugene Steingold, a Chicago lawyer born in Vilnius
- Alexander Domanskis, who is affiliated with the Lithuanian Foundation based in Chicago
- Stanley Balzekas, Jr., President and Founder of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago; board member of the Lithuanian American Council
- Harley Felstein, Sunflower Project founder, based in Washington

Contact: Samantha Friedman, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
(202) 265-3000; (202) 215-9260 (c);
Category : News
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      • Good article: First-time event in Chicago this Sunday, April 15, to address lingering issues affecting Lithuanian-Jewish relations. I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your idea is excellent; the issue is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing referring to this.

        August 06 2013

        • The Lithuanian Embassy in the U.S. and Consular officials as well as Harley Felstein, the founder of the Sunflower Project, have initiated many cultural activities already this year and have plans for in coming months.

          September 20 2012

          • Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects? Appreciate it!

            May 17 2012
            • ggochin

              Here is a warm article:

              It is warm until one finds out that this same Lithuanian Consul General in New York Valdemaras Sarapinas, was the Lithuanian Government representative at the exhumation of the Lithuanian mass murderer Juozas Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis so that his body can be repatriated to Lithuania to be re-buried with national honors.

              This removes all and any credibility of Lithuanian Government officials.

              May 13 2012
              • Alan

                As a child of survivors, it is obvious that Felstein is nothing more than a stooge (by the way the Three Stooges were Litvaks) for the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington. His organization needs to be investigated by the IRS for fraduently passing itself off as a charity and by the American Gov't for acting as a non-registered lobbyist for a foreign gov't. And is this PR firm a registered foreign agent?
                Germany got caught and has admitted its guilt in the Holocaust. The Holocaust could have been prevented in Lithuania if the Lithuanians acted llike the civilized Danes or Bulgarians. But they didn't so the Lithuanians need to confront their past and admit that most Jews in Lithuania were not killed by the hands of the Germans but by the hands of the average Lithuanian Jurgis or Algis in the street. The Germans couldn't deny their role; however, the Lithanians have pointed the finger elsewhere like a four year old child. Lithuanians need to look themselves in their mirrors. admit their role and perhaps a dialogue can start from there. Until then. people like Felstein need to be ignored by the Jewish community at large.

                May 02 2012
                • Woodward Bernstein

                  For a bunch of smart people, you are not all that smart. Follow the money. Here are a few hypotheticals for you to mull over:

                  A certain Diplomat knows that in a couple of years, a restitution deal may come along. There are barely any live Jews, so where would the money go – to Heritage projects.

                  Part of that Diplomat’s “mission” is to build dialog with Jews, but which Jew would talk to them? So, they had to manufacture one.

                  The components of a manufactured Jew are one very Jewish sounding name, and a Jew that would sell his own mother, or prostitute his own son.

                  The plot is to build that Jew an identity of creating “Jewish Heritage” projects, and so, create a name, such as “Jewish Lithuanian Heritage Project”, because, in a few years, wouldn’t that be a natural recipient for restitution funds, and if the Jew has an identity by then, a natural recipient of the funds.

                  So, add to the recipe a few credible names to offer legitimacy (they can be removed later if so desired), and begin to build an identity. No actual work is required, just a few public relations articles. Not difficult if you have friends that also have Jewish names that are in the PR business.

                  The identity is then created. Now make it credible. Put the Jew in front of everybody you can to make him a known figure, so many Jewish names everywhere, who would question? In case anybody does, build a series of Jewish names, eventually, people would tire of looking.

                  Next step, make him palatable to the Government so that they WANT to award him restitution deals. His game is to deal with the dead, so, a term for the dead is “pushing up daisies”, but daisies are too small, the restitution is big, so change that to Sunflowers, and push them, and push them more.

                  Build, build, build, deliver “white papers”. Doesn’t matter is the whole paper is white (blank), it sounds good. Photo op after photo op, and we have a name, a face, and a Jew that we WANT to award restitution to.

                  Who is going to question it? The Jewish Community in Lithuania live under too much pressure. The American Jewish Community –they won’t dig beneath the surface. Politicians? No, a few Jewish names and a year or two of articles, and what is to question?

                  Big money requires long term planning, so it has to be funded along the way. Build a business model where people just give you money. One Jewish cemetery looks like another, so take some photo’s of a restored one, and collect the money over and over and over, that should be enough funding to cover kosher dinners and Hanukkah parties, even a few bunches of sunflowers to make everybody happy.

                  Sit back, and wait for the restitution money to roll on in. Retire rich, because a Diplomatic retirement plan isn’t that rich, and some John’s out there haven’t made a success of anything yet.

                  The people that have posted on here are looking in the wrong direction. THINK!

                  Disclaimer: This is just a hypothetical for your consideration. Enjoy your day.

                  April 29 2012
                  • Geoff Vasil

                    Fake Litvak project is fake.

                    I would be highly surprised if Simonas Dovidavicius, director of Sugihara House in Kaunas, an actual Litvak and a tour guide for Jewish groups in Lithuania, actually consented to allow his name to be associated with what is to all appearances a sham organization. Since Dovidavicius is publicly available for tours, speaks Hebrew, Yiddish and English as well as Lithuanian and Russian as far as I remember, it would be trivial to contact him and ask him if he is in fact a member of the board of directors of this Lithuanian Jewish Heritage Project. Just putting Sugihara House into a search engine easily turns up the telephone number there, although the museum’s own website seems to be down at the moment.

                    How disgusting it is that the Lithuanian government CONTINUES to create and work with these fake Litvak organizations in an attempt to pretend the Holocaust never happened, or if it did, it didn’t involve Lithuanians. Or not many. Maybe just one or two. Like the one or two court Litvaks who happen to blunder into the Lithuanian Double Genocide PR campaign and find new friends and job prospects there. “A Chicago lawyer born in Vilnius”… Is that the best they could do, this time? This HAS happened repeatedly, and no, none of the actual living real Lithuanian Jews I’ve spoken with about this had been informed, much less invited, to this Lithuanian diplomatic loya jirga in Chicago to discuss “Jewish issues” with the government officials whose salaries these same Lithuanian citizen Litvaks are paying every day in crazy levels of taxation.

                    I’m so happy Lithuania’s government found “hundreds of thousands” in play money to park Wyman Brent’s books–MAINLY DONATED BY AMERICAN JEWS IN GOOD FAITH–in a dark hole up an alley way with no sign on the street and a small sign in Lithuanian over the door in the alley, at a “library” employing a number of Lithuanians, but no Jews involved whatsoever. People like Sergey Kanovich write about the sand in the hourglass of the future of Lithuanian Jews running out, but the Lithuanian government seems determined to hasten the process so they can deal exclusively with a small cadre of court Jewish surnames they control and pay for. Eventually, Jakov Gens, oops, I mean Emanuel Singer, is gonna “fix” the whole Holocaust thing for Lithuania, and end up as the sole survivor of the liquidated ghetto and judenrat. That’s what they keep telling him, anyway, and he seems to believe it, although of course there’s gonna be jobs for every Jew and friend of Jews, he keeps telling those slated for extinction. Seems like this game has been played before and didn’t quite turn out the way the top Jewish fixer intended.

                    Fake Litvak project is obviously fake.

                    April 27 2012
                    • Grant Gochin

                      We know what qualifies Mr. Donskis to speak on Lithuania, same with YIVO and others, but can anybody tell me what qualifies Mr. Felstein to speak out about Lithuanian Jewish issues?

                      and more and more articles.
                      His PR Agents: Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, are obviously doing a good job for him in getting his name out as much as possible, but what is the agenda here?

                      April 27 2012


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