A Russian Israeli Shabbat experience at Livnot
Shishi Shabbat Yisraeil is a national educational project for young Russian-speaking Israelis in their 20’s and 30’s, and this was our 32nd Friday-Shabbat seminar together. Thirty-two in Gematria is “lev”- heart – and I think it was the first seminar where their hearts were so opened that changed their minds about many things – particularly about Jewish spirituality, rooted and spiritual Jews, and their personal connection to the city of Tzfat.
The program and facilitation were top-notch. Shlomo’s warmth, depth, positive energy and charisma won over the participants from the beginning. There were many elements of the program that were a first for our group and were very successful – the joint preparation of our Shabbat meals, including divrei chochma and songs, the musical workshop with the talented and inspiring couple from Tzefat, the Challah-baking and artist workshops on Friday, the Friday night tour of shuls in Tzfat, and the uplifting tefilla in the Carlebach minyan which caused a few of the women to cry. Shabbat was very special with Shlomo’s workshops, the inspiring meals with host families in Tzfat (a highlight for everyone), the visit to the Kahal archeological site, and the jofyul Havdala which left everyone on a high.
Three days and three nights passed like one long day, so many different feelings and impressions! I can honestly say that I have revisited the stories that I created in my head about of Safed, the city which I last saw 11 years ago. Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli and the Livnot U’Lehibanot program presented an opportunity to plunge and probe inside the city itself. Of course we could not seriously delve into the study of Kabbala – it was only a superficial acquaintance, but nevertheless we were able to feel the proximity of the city to our souls, its secrets and its sanctity! Personally, for me, a dream come true – a taste of fire! And not just the fires of Lag -ba Omer, near the traditional place of kindling bonfires. This light gave me a lot of warmth and the main thing is the fire that we have created together! Many thanks to Shlomo our guide for this!
For me Safed was a dream from a long time ago that Shlomo helped us transform into current reality! The stars and the sky and the sense of time stopping time – the external living conditions and food were not fancy but we became stronger and adapted to these conditions emotionally too.. In Safed I could sing from the heart, and for me it was a great gift to sing in good company in such a special place! I learned to listen and to look inward. I was very inspired by the “Kahal” excavations from the 16th century… I remember going through the artist workshops and sensing the joy of getting to know people who link their work and their spiritual practice in such an honest way – so that their beautiful products reflect this harmony. I am also very grateful to the other participants who were attentive, open and easy to talk to – we emerged with many good friends!
I experienced a surge of love and affection for this city and all that is in it, and in us. For a split second I lost our group in the area of the synagogues on Friday night, but then saw a familiar face and felt that the city has people who care for me and can be my guide The families who hosted us for Shabbat lunch seemed to be all very special, based on people’s conversations afterwards. I enjoyed a very welcoming and interesting family and among other things, learned about Shmita laws in Israel…
Thank you all for these three days! – Victoria Braiman
THANK YOU for a meaningful, joyful and transforming three and a half-day seminar with Livnot U’Lehibanot, on behalf of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli.
Linda Pardes Friedburg
Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli