Jewish Leadership Initiative
for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis


Argaman Cultural Project August

August 2017

August 3rd, Jerusalem Theater, Mikro Theater Company
"Herzlmania" and meeting with Efim Rinenberg

We started the evening with the play "Herzlmania" based on Theodor Herzl's diaries, and even more on his thoughts and feelings. It was an amazing production with the real atmosphere of his life - very deep, humorous, and interesting.

After the performance we met Efim Rinenberg – the author, director and the leading actor who played Theodore Herzl. Efim told the story of discovering the diaries and deciding to create the play with 2 friends- the musician and the artist who both performed onstage with him.  He loved performing the role because he was expressing his own thoughts and behaviours which are not so far from Herzl’s.

I really loved the play. Compared to other Israeli theatres that I have visited, this was unexpectedly amazing – on a very high level, close to biggest theatres in Moscow

Pavel L.

It was a great opportunity to see the play through the eyes of the creator. The meeting with Efim Rinenberg added so much depth to the performance!

Asya F.

August 24th, Klezmer Music Festival, Tzefat

We took a full busload of Argaman participants (plus others who met us in cars) from Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and traveled to Tzefat, arriving in the evening.  Our guide Shraga Shmiller showed us many of the magical and spiritual places in the Old City of Tzefat and shared its history and stories, also about its current residents and city projects.  We finished in Shraga's studio and discovered that he is an exceptional artist, whose paintings are inspired by his religious life in Tzefat and Kabbalah.

Afterwards we dispersed into small groups to explore the performances of the Kleizmer Festival, including Avraham Tal, taste the local homemade dishes among the many foodstands, and just wander in the special festive atmosphere.  A beautiful evening which most of us would not have experienced without this organized trip.

Asya F.


SSY Haifa Israel Cinema Club

August 17, 2017 - Haifa

This meeting was dedicated to Israeli short films and cartoons in simple Hebrew, some with Russian subtitles. Our facilitator Alexei talked about Israeli mentality and the social and political background of these movies. The evening was fun, relaxing and informative, and a great opportunity to meet new olim friends in Haifa!

Lidia S.

Our newest couples

Warmest mazal tov on their engagments: Argaman Coordinator Liya Geldman to Vitaly Vaisman , and Ayala Genusov to Stav Krol! We look forward to dancing at your weddings and celebrating many wonderful occasions together!

Rosh Hashana Workshop

October 19, 2017 - Haifa

Great evening all about Rosh Hashana! Kostya was excellent – he shared many ideas about the meaning of the holiday, building clear plans for our futures (also as a community) and understanding really what we want in life. We drank wine, ate apples and honey, blew the Shofar and everyone really enjoyed themselves. Shana Tova!!

Lidia S.

Hoshana Raba All-Night Event

October 10, 2017 - Western Wall Tunnels

Over 130 young Russian-speaking olim from throughout Israel converged on the Old City on Hoshana Raba for a fascinating night of study and exploration, in collaboration with the Midrasha Tzionit and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. The theme of the event was Jerusalem, its modern and historical significance, and included behind the scenes tours of the Kotel Tunnels, 5000 year virtual journey through Jerusalem (a personal computerized tour, allowing participants to choose from which country and time they begin their journey), a dawn tiyul on the rooftops of the Old City, and excellent speakers, beginning with Natan Sharansky. Sharansky described how Jerusalem inspired his personal journey, from our soldiers entering the Lion's Gate in 1967 through to his arrival to the Kotel with Avital – his first stop in Israel after 9 years in Soviet prison. He also answered many practical questions from the participants connected to his role as head of the Jewish Agency. The participants experienced the history of Jerusalem and the Temples from so many perspectives that night, and those who stayed awake joined the prayers and festivities at the Kotel in the morning.

Sukkot Hike and Wine-tasting with Lone Soldiers

October 6, 2017 - Beit Shemesh area

Two busloads of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli participants and Russian-speaking Lone Soldiers from Nefesh b'Nefesh spent a beautiful Friday morning of Chol HaMoed hiking in the Eyla Valley, following the battle of David and Goliath and other biblical happenings, finally arriving to the Nevo Winery in Matta village. We split into groups to hear the moving story of how the winery was founded, visit the wine cellars and equipment, learn about the art of wine-tasting and then taste different types of wine with bread and home-made cheese. We sat in the sukkah, helped everyone interested make the traditional blessings on lulav and etrog, and ended with a talk by Zeev about interesting facets of the Sukkot holiday.

Sukkot Quest and Sukkah Building!

October 3, 2017

Many new olim and veteran members of our Haifa group enjoyed a competitive treasure hunt on the topic of Sukkot, in collaboration with Chabad. Yigal gave a small lecture, and then the teams searched for encrypted numbers, had to dance, play chess, learn about Lulav and Etrog, solve logic riddles, find coins and in the end finish building the sukkah, prepare food and receive prizes. They stayed to play games together even after the event was over. A wonderful evening!

Lidia S.

Argaman Cultural Project

September, 2017

September 11th, "Lenny's Bar", Tel-Aviv
Lecture about the Israeli Literature with Eli Bar Yalom

This academic lecture at the bar was the first meeting of Argaman's Fall semester dedicated to Israeli Literature. Eli Bar Yalom told about the history of Israeli Literature from the times of the Talmud, Rashi, and Rambam, focusing on Hebrew as the main language of Jewish literature and on the fact that Hebrew was actually never “dead” or unused. We learned that modern Hebrew has Sephardic pronunciation, why the poet Bialik stands out in this respect, who wrote the first Hebrew sonnets and adventure novels, what were the real merits of Ben Yehuda and why the book of Bibi Netanyahu's younger brother disappeared from the shelves within a week after the publication. It was a really great introduction to our topic. After the lecture and numerous questions of our participants, Eli left and our group continued the conversation over a glass of good beer.

September 28th, Hour Space at Lilienblum St., Tel-Aviv​
Workshop with Israeli writer and Artist Elena Makarova

This was one of the most interesting and unusual meetings of the Argaman Project in 2017. We experienced real art-therapy with the increadible Elena Makarova -a writer, sculptor, artist and curator of many international exhibitions. She allowed our participants to express themselves as she told stories of her life and professional path. We made funny dolls from napkins, heard different musical excerpts and drew what we felt. Her main topic in recent years is the art in concentration camps during Holocaust. She discussed several books that she published on this topic. The evening was really a one-of-the-kind experience and all the participants left inspired and motivated, with many different thoughts and feelings. "This was exactly what I needed in this period of my life, only several weeks after making the Aliya. Huge thanks to Elena for this class"

(Liza M.)

ArtZehut Volunteer Project

Haifa - September 24, 2017

This month we continued with our ArtZehut project in Haifa, whereby new olim artists teach artistic techniques and Jewish identity to our young members together with mentally disabled adults in the community. Our teacher this time, and new olah from the Masa program, provided new techniques and interesting drawing methods, and we made really beautiful cards for Sukkot! It was nice to see all the young people helping the adults. The atmosphere was wonderful!

Lidia S.

Jewish Family Psychology Workshop4

September 13, 2017 - Haifa

The psychologist Leah continued her excellent discussions on men and women – dreams and reality – and the notion of family in Judaism. The participants said how important these workshops are for clarifying important problems in their lives – singles and couples!

Lidia S.