Jewish Leadership Initiative
for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis


Olim Empowerment Series

August - September, 2018 - Beersheva

Many of our members in Beersheva are brand new olim. In collaboration with the Yaelim Absorption Center, we ran several evenings on practical topics, such as Health Plans, Rentals and Mortgages and Pension policies. These are important topics that not all Israelis understand in depth and our participants were very grateful to the lecturers for sharing so much relevant information to help make them make proper decisions as they acclimate to Israel.

White Nights in Jerusalem! Limmud Hoshana Raba

September 29-30, 2018

It is 4 a.m. and the Beit Midrash is abuzz with talk of Sukkot, Jerusalem, and Jewish heroism, all in the Russian language. Continuing a six-year tradition, Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli organized its annual all-night Hoshana Raba study festival for Russian-speaking Israelis in their 20’s and 30’s, in collaboration with the Midrasha HaTzionit, and supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Jerusalem Municipality. Many young participants of FSU Masa had their first taste of Jewish learning and celebration, and joined over 80 young Russian-speaking olim for parallel lectures and workshops, a Jewish music session and dawn hike to the Old City, all on the topic of Jewish Leadership and Inspiration.

Anatoly, a young lawyer from the Russian city of Dolgoprudny, who arrived in Israel 2 weeks ago on Masa: “I think the most mind-blowing experience for me and other young people from post-Soviet countries was learning about the mind-revolution that the Torah created for the Jewish people and the entire world. It transitioned the ancient mind to true modernity with its eternal values for humanity. I don’t see historical narratives as linear and meaningless anymore, but as directed by a Creator who moves history forward. My Jewish identity is now based on learning about the past in order to impact our future. I want to thank the people who made possible this wonderful night of excitement and learning!”

Thank you to Midreshet Lindenbaum for donating its premises for this meaningful evening of Jewish enlightenment, unity, and ingathering.

Sukkot Hike with Lone Soldiers

September 28th, 2018 - Beit Guvrin

This was my first trip with Shishi-Shabbat Yisraeli and Nefesh be Nefesh Lone Soldiers and it was a lot of fun. We explored amazing caves in Beit Guvrin - unreal Columbarium and houses underground that have extraordinary histories. We learned about the very different times from our own when they were dug and received perspective on the early settlements of Israel through to modern day. The beauty of the views, which opened before us, painted also by incredible histories, let our imaginations expand. Our guides Dima and Vlad helped a lot with their humor.

We also visited a winery, where we not only tasted delicious wine in the Sukkah, but also learned the whole process of its preparation, and the differences in taste and quality of wine. It really illuminated my illiteracy in the area of winemaking!

Probably the most important plus for me was meeting so many new warm people, each of whom were fascinated by something else! After the trip, a group of us went for a walk and had a great time until the evening. I am after the army and on my own in Israel, and haven’t felt so at home, in my own place, like I did that day. Thank you very much!

Alisa P.

And here’s a video to remember that day!

Real Life Evening!

September 26, 2018 - Haifa

We invented a new project in Haifa with Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli! We gathered interesting people to discuss the topics that really matter to us.

This time, five people had 20 minutes to share their thoughts on: 1. Haifa museums. 2. Aliyah with humor. 3. New engineering projects and hi-tech in Haifa. 4. Tourism in Israel. 5. Spiritual self—development. It was a great evening and many people asked to be speakers next time.

Lidia S.

Argaman Israeli Cultural Project

September 2018

September 13th, Tel-Aviv

At the first meeting of the Fall Semester we met an amazing musician, guide and theoretic Evgeniy Ziskin, who gave us a interesting lecture about the History of Israeli Music. We talked about the formation of the Israeli music scene, in parallel with the formation of Israeli society. Then, after listening to many Israeli singers and groups from different periods, translating some texts, we switched to the influence of aliya and social issues in Israeli music andwhat makes Israeli music unique.

"I loved the presenter. It was easy to talk to him and ask questions"


"I recorded all the names of the bands and songs at home. I’ll listen again"

Maya D.

September 25th, Jerusalem

During the Sukkot Holiday, we met in Jerusalem at the amazing Museum of Music. Together with our guide, the Argaman group toured the entire museum and learned the history of musical instruments – i.e. the connections of Yemenite music and how their instruments are connected with the destruction of the Temple, about how different Jewish communities used music in their lives and ceremonies, and the exciting history of the museum and its founder.

"I've never heard about this Museum and was surprised that it was so interesting, and equipped at a high European level"

Dima G.

"I love the Argaman Project because I work many hours, but once I signed up for the course I had to get out to interesting places and meet great community! You are my cultural leisure"

Sasha F.

Sukkot Art Worskhop

September 25, 2018 - Beersheva

Thank you Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli for this wonderful activity on Sukkot, in a real Sukkah! Lena gave a very interesting lecture about the holiday – many things I didn’t understand before. And then it was so nice to do create something with our hands! Now I have a beautiful decorated Hamsa in my apartment with the Jewish blessing for my home!

Barbara T.

Pre-Rosh Hashana Coaching Workshop

September 8, 2018

At this training led by Kostya, we blew the shofar and did a lot of thinking and discussion about our goals for the New Year. We drank wine, talked about Teshuva and other principles of Rosh Hashana, ate apples and honey and plunged into our plans and thoughts. It was very challenging mentally but everyone enjoyed this time with each other and left very satisfied.

Lidia S.

Rosh HaShana Workshop

September 6, 2018 - Beersheva

When does the Jewish Year actually begin? What are the most important messages of the Jewish holidays and how are they connected to the Land of Israel and the history of the Jewish People?

How are Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur relevant to us – how do they help our personal growth and the communities we live in and why do Jews all over the world observe them? Boris Haminsky answered these and many other questions from our olim participants in his workshop and also played music and taught songs connected to the Fall holidays.

Yana S.

Rosh Hashana Celebration & Quiz

September 5, 2018 - Jerusalem

A week before Rosh HaShana, we gathered a lively crowd of Russian-speaking olim in their 20’s and 30’s in a downtown pub in Jerusalem to celebrate the upcoming holidays.  The evening began with informal blessings and ideas connected to Rosh Hashana from our facilitators, eating honey and apples and drinking L’Chaim to the New Year 5779.  Then everyone enjoyed a professional competitive quiz game on the Jewish holidays and general intellectual trivia, complete with electronic quiz screen, clever props and prizes for the winning teams. These holiday celebrations are so important to Olim who generally have no close family in Israel but want to share the spirit of the holidays.  During this event, we asked who was interested in home hospitality for Rosh Hashana and arranged this for interested participants.

Hike and Crusader Dress and Weaponry

August 31, 2018 - Haifa

We started our day with a hike in the Carmel Forest, climbing into a cave and enjoying the views of Northern Israel. Then Sasha made a fascinating presentation of the Crusades in the land of Israel and the Jewish history of that period. He let us try on the arrmor and clothing of those times and try out the weapons that the Crusaders used. We ate watermelon and snacks, met new friends (some came from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for this event) and everyone had a really nice time.

Lidia S.