The Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania has declared 2020 as the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania. The government-approved event programme will see an active participation of the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania which will significantly contribute to raising public awareness of the legacy of the Jewish culture and history in Lithuania and which is set to hold an international academic conference titled “Literature and Intelligence of the Jews of Lithuania in the 17th–20th Centuries”, open a documentary exhibition “Shenot Eliyahu: Vilna Gaon’s Influence on the Culture of the Jews of Lithuania”, and organise a series of educational events titled “Fundamentals of the Worldview of the Jews of Lithuania”. The library will also partner with Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in developing the travelling documentary exhibition titled “Books Don’t Grow on Trees (Z. Kalmanovičius): Preserving and Passing on Memory”. Besides those already mentioned, the National Library has scheduled other events dedicated to the year 2020 in cooperation with Lithuania’s representative offices in foreign countries.
The first one among them was a public lecture titled “Vilnius of Beauty, Sorrow and Dreams” by Dr. Lara Lempertienė, Head of the Judaica Division of the National Library’s Documentary Heritage Research Department held on 21 January at the consulate of the Republic of Lithuania in New York, the U. S. On 23 January, Dr. Lempertienė will open the National Library’s exhibition “Reflections in the Shattered Mirror” and will give a lecture titled “Will We Ever Meet? Our Relationship with Lithuania’s Jewish Past” at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations.
These are among the first events marking the start of the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania in foreign countries.