About Us

Zshuk Art Initiative is an educational art program based on a progressive philosophy of education and positive artistic practices. The Initiative is made up of artists, educators, and parents, who transform the community through their cultural presence and their role as mentors.

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What They Say About Us:

Dear Zhenya and Misha,

As parents of two girls- Maya – 6 and Sonia -4, we would like to thank you for an amazing Jewish enrichment experience that our family went through when we attended Zshuk interactive theater performance at the Kings Bay Y Jewish community center in May. It was not only exciting and entertaining but also educational to our family as  a whole. It has bees the best creative Jewish project we have ever attended!
My husband and I never expected that children’s project could be that creative, artistic and educational.
We also went to the Russian family Shabbaton a few weeks ago and were memorised with Zshuk’s artistic and educational workshops that you designed for the children of various ages. We would like to thank you for the Jewish, artistic, and creative processes that we our family went through thanks to Zshuk. We would like to ask you to continue your art, Jewish identity work in our community. Projects like yours are so important for the Russian-speaking Jews that see their Jewish identity through culture and often have little to connect to in the mainstream American Jewish community.
Victoria, Michael, Maya, and Sonia

My 4 year old daughter and I tremendously enjoyed two interactive theater performances, The Besht’s Magical Show and Where The Forest Ends this year .  Both were intimate, thoughtfully planned  to be at the right level for the children and beautifully executed.   Innovative yet natural ways for children to actively participate in the performance were built in both shows which enhanced the experience.  We really haven’t seen anything like this before and very much look forward to next year’s programming!

Dear Zshuks,
It’s a pleasure for me to be your witness! So:
- Zshuk events bring a lot of positive energy and a good feeling of Jewish power
- It’s new and fresh that you, Zshuks, are so much involved personally in everything you do (it’s personal, it’s not business)
- I do love when you make connections with classic Jewish art inspiring children and adults to do their own Jewish art
- I believe the interactive show (about Besht) is the most powerful way to bring Jewish history, music, art to th audience in modern time
- Children always would like to participate in every action during your events; and they are happy about it
- I personally started to paint again after 15 years of not touching a brush and my first art peace is a landscape of Jerusalem – mostly because of Zshuk!
Rimma Kharlamov

I absolutely love the very innovative and unconventional ways Zhuk initiative tells traditional Jewish tales in their theater and art projects. We want to see and participate in more new projects!

Luba Proger (mom of Daniel K.)


Zhenya Plechkina and Misha Sklar,  Zshuk Art Initiative, provide families with meaningful Jewish experiences. They created art workshops including interactive theater during Russian family Shabbaton. Now, while receiving feedback about the retreat from the families, I can tell that  Zshuk Art approach to Jewish education brings up new and fresh ideas, helps children and adult connect to their Jewish heritage through art, and feels very inspiring. It was definitely one of the highlights of the Shabbaton program.

Best regards,

Luda Yakhnina



The genius behind Zshuk Art Initiative is that it engages with children on their own terms. Every participant in Zshuk has something special to offer and a myriad ways to express it.  Zhenya Plechkina encourages her students to find creativity and meaning in a Yiddish folktale as well as in the simplest brush stroke.

Rika Gorn