Litvak Jews

Litvak is the Yiddish term for a member of the Jewish communities of Lithuania.

Lithuania was historically home to a large and influential Jewish community that was almost entirely destroyed in the Holocaust. Before World War II, the Lithuanian Jewish population was some 160,000, about 7% of the total population.  Recently, about 4,000 Jews were counted in Lithuania (2005 census).  There are still strong communities of Jews of Lithuanian descent around the world, especially in Israel, the United States, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Brazil and Australia.

In popular perception, Litvaks were considered to be more intellectual and stoic than their rivals, the Galitzianers, who thought of them as cold fish. They, in turn, disdained Galitzianers as irrational and uneducated.

Interest among descendants of Lithuanian Jews has spurred tourism and a renewal in research and preservation of the community’s historic resources and possessions. Increasing numbers of Lithuanian Jews are interested in learning and practising the use of Yiddish.

Courtesy of Wikipedia (I know, I know…)