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Latest Activities


Operation Light Up! with WWII Survivors and Veterans

THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to the 8th year of our moving and memorable Light Up! volunteer project on Chanuka!!

Over 140 Olim volunteers visited the apartments of our dear isolated WWII Survivors and Veterans, lit Chanukiot, brought nourishing and festive gift packages and created beautiful, musical celebrations in several Veteran clubs during Chanuka week. The elderly shared their stories and cups of hot tea with the volunteers and created magical, light-filled for all the participants, young and old. Here is a short musical clip from one of the Light-Up projects in Jerusalem:

Margarita G, Beersheva:

Hanukkah is a family holiday and I was so happy to light the second candle with other volunteers in the apartments of our veterans. It was nice to see the light in their eyes and hear their interesting life stories about the war years and their time in Israel. They enthusiastically listened to the speeches prepared by our guys and sincerely rejoiced at our visit! I believe that such meetings are critical! For me it was the best exchange of smiles and positive energy. Thank you Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli for creating this beautiful opportunity to show our respect and love for the older generation and for reminding us how one hug can brighten the day of any person.

Meeting with Mayor of Beersheva

On December 31, some of the participants in our Israeli literature course with Ben Gurion University had a meeting with Ruvik Danilovich, the Mayor of Beersheva! We discussed the importance of Israeli literature, how interesting it to read and learn the history and traditions of our people, which helps us integrate into multifaceted Israeli culture.

Yana S.


Kosher Quiz and Games Evenings

We held two Kosher Quiz evenings and one Board Games evenings in Haifa and Tel Aviv during the cold winter months.
Intellectual games are a great opportunity to prove yourself, meet new friends, and acquire a positive mood for the week, and the Kosher Quiz events of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli are especially popular today.
Teams of 3-5 people tested their knowledge in many areas including science, the history of synagogues, Jewish holidays, and popular Israeli and Russian films and artists. The three best teams won sweet prizes.

Leonid G. and Lidia S.


Argaman Cultural Project

Introductory lecture with Zeev Volk

Zeev Wolf gave an introductory lecture on the culture of Tel Aviv, noting the most important events and artists, from 1938 to 1970. We discussed the impact of various political and social events on the culture of that time (like the “Seventh column of Alternan” - how the decisions of the British Mandate and the clashes between the Israeli and Arab sectors were reflected in poetry and prose of that time), the development of Tel Avivs fashion as a result of the clash between Tel Aviv community and the kibbutzim, how the status of Tel Aviv changed after the proclamation of Independence, and the subcultural phenomena of various national communities who came to the city.

"I really like that this semester is a continuation of the previous one. With each new meeting I understand the story of Tel Aviv in the context of the history of all Israel".

Jane E.

December 19th, Moishe House, Tel-Aviv
Interactive lecture & beit midrash with Asya Fix

At the second meeting of the winter course, we studied the cultural development of Tel Aviv through in-depth study of texts prepared and translated by Asya Fix including newspaper extracts devoted to two topics – the unification of Tel Aviv and Jaffa in 1949 and the demolition of the Herzliya Grammar School in 1959. After a short introduction, the participants were divided into 4 groups and discussed passages and questions including:

What are the reasons for the unification of Jaffa and Tel Aviv?

What conflicts arose in the process and how are they resolved today?

What is my position regarding the development of the city and the preservation of historical buildings?

The topics aroused great interest and active discussion. Participants showed a high degree of involvement and interest in issues related to the development of the city.

"For me the Argaman Project has changed and grown a lot over the past few years, striking the level of professionalism and the depth of immersion in details and texts"

Pavel K.

"It is so great that even without knowing Hebrew, we can still read the sources, discuss what happened here seventy years ago and how all this affects us today"

Alyona P.

Who are we?

We are an empowering and supportive community of over 8000 young Russian-speaking soldiers, students and young professionals - most of whom moved to Israel without family. Our weekend retreats, excursions, professional mentoring and study evenings, cultural activities, volunteer, and holiday events are helping young Israeli immigrants thrive personally and professionally in their new home, in an atmosphere of community, pluralism, Jewish literacy and Jewish Peoplehood.

Russian-speaking immigrants who came to Israel as teenagers or young adults over the past fifteen years – and continue to arrive en masse - are among the nation's most precious assets, yet alienation from Israeli culture and a very limited support network are reducing the impact of these talented and motivated young people on Israeli society and creating a disproportionately high rate of emigration among this population group.

The founders of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli – Russian and Hebrew-speaking educators, academics and community professionals - recognize that many Russian-speaking young people in Israel were active in their Jewish communities in the FSU, but after making aliyah, feel estranged from mainstream Israeli culture – "there I was Jewish; here I am Russian."

Our Team

Linda Pardes Friedburg

The Director and Founder

made aliyah in 1990, after completing degrees in Economics and International Business. She is a Russian-speaking informal Jewish educator with over 30 years of experience managing philanthropic projects and high-level missions in Israel and abroad, including positions in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Pratt Foundation of Melbourne. Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli is the realization of her dream to make Israel more welcoming and supportive for young Russian-speaking olim and ensure their personal and professional success, to Israel’s great benefit.

Ilya Lipetsker

Director of Operations and Jerusalem Coordinator

Made aliyah from St. Petersburg in 1999 on the Naaleh program and received his B.A. in Sociology from Hebrew University.
Ilya is inspired by the challenge of Jewish community-building and has been creating and running programs for new olim in Jerusalem and nationally since the inception of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli in 2010. Ilya is credited with the Russian-language social media, PR and ongoing successful recruitment of new participants to our expanding young community of Russian-speaking Olim.

Lidia Shtelmach

Haifa Area Coordinator

made aliya in 2015 from Moscow, after receiving degrees in International Economics and completing the Masa program. The more she lives in Haifa, the more she loves this city and the interesting people that she meets there everyday. She is inspired by our new olim in the North, and collaborates with them to create great programs, help them find friends, learn new things, study our history and culture, and solve problems to make their absorption meaningful and successful!

Leonid Gimborg

Tel Aviv Area Coordinator

Made aliya from Perm in 2011, after completing degrees in Civil Engineering. He works as a building engineer, enjoys hiking, learning about world and Jewish history, and tries to discover something new everyday in Israel. Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli is an integral part of his life since 2012. He is inspired by the faces of his Tel Aviv area participants, as they achieve new understandings through our events, learn more about the history of the country, gained important tools for life, make new friends, and even find love!

Liya Geldman


Made aliya in 2011 from Saint-Petersburg, after receiving degrees in Journalism and Television Production from the State University of Cinema and Television. She lives in Tel-Aviv and is a professional photographer and owner of the on-line Russian-language magazine about lifestyle in Israel www.beinisrael.com. She loves bringing unique Israeli cultural personalities and experiences to Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli participants and seeing how they impact our cultural absorption and identities!

Argaman Project on facebook

Yana Slinko

Beersheva Area Coordinator

Yana Slinko made aliyah from Moscow in 2013 after receiving degrees in Economics and Statistics, and completed a degree in media design at the Be'er Sheva College of Technology. She enjoys photography, travel, and sports. She is inspired by the new olim and events she helps create in Beersheva, as Coordinator for both Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli and Masa, and is in love with her “desert oasis city. She helps other discover their Jewish roots and Israel, which she loves with all her heart!

Our Board of Advisors, Facilitators, Guides, and Guest lecturers include Russian and Hebrew-speaking informal educators, professionals and academics in a wide variety of fields.

Our Partners