23 April 2009

Southern California: Vilna Jewish legacy, May 3

If your Jewish family history includes the city of Vilna (Vilnius) in Lithuania, this program will be of interest.

The World Was Ours: The Jewish Legacy of Vilna" is a documentary dedicated to the memory of Jewish Vilna. Often called the Jerusalem of Lithuania, it was one of Eastern Europe's great cultural centers, and was destroyed in the Holocaust.

The screening, in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, is co-sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of the Conejo Valley and Ventura County (JGSCV) and Temple Adat Elohim. The program begins at 1.30pm, Sunday, May 3, at Adat Elohim, 2420 E. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oak.

Although not the largest nor the most affluent community, the culture of Vilna's Jews - their scholarship, determination, pride, rich religious heritage and social responsibility - made the community unique.

The film focuses on on the city's vibrant pre-war culture which produced many illustrious figures. Narrated by actor Mandy Patinkin, it includes interviews, diaries, letters, poems, archival photographs and footage.

Following the screening, former Vilna resident Esther Meisler will talk about her life and how she survived.

There is no fee to attend. For more information, see the JGSCV website or send an email.

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