For the members of Shishi Shabbat Israeli, a national educational and social movement for Russian-speaking Israelis in their 20’s and 30’s, summer nights in Jerusalem are a time for enrichment and exploration. On Thursday night, July 27th, in preparation for the 9th of Av, Shishi Shabbat Israeli held the third of a five-part series on ancient and modern Jerusalem – one and a half hour lectures in Beit Kehillot Olim, Jaffa 36, followed by walking tours of the Old and New Cities with professional Russian-speaking guides.
Led by guide and lecturer Pavel Bernstein, the evening was devoted to a comparison of social issues and challenges that led up to the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., to social struggles reflected in the journalism of Jerusalem in early 20th century and first years of the State. “Reading the newspapers before the founding of the State really drives home how internal political conflicts are not new in Israel!,” commented participant Alina Sokolov, who recently made aliya from St. Petersburg.
“If Jerusalem was destroyed because of “baseless hatred,” adds Linda Pardes Friedburg, an organizer of Shishi Shabbat Israeli, “then our activities aim to increase understanding and unity in Israel, particularly during the period leading up to Tisha B’Av. At a recent Friday Shabbat seminar, participants led an interactive session devoted to the topic of how to judge others and ourselves favorably, based on traditional and modern sources.”
“Exploring the common bonds of Jewish history and Jewish values is the most appropriate way to bring young Russian-speaking olim into the mainstream of the Jewish People,” says Natalie Shnaiderman, Director of Global Grantmaking at Genesis Philanthropy Group. “They are the next generation of talented and committed young leaders, who can help heal some of the divisions in Israeli society.”
The series is supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Municipality of Jerusalem.