Special Events





(in Russian) since 2012

Museum Education Series designed to advance children’s cognitive development, through exploration of art materials and techniques used by the artists to stimulate imagination, help children construct meanings about the world, develop a global perspective and promote art appreciation. Children study from the original works of art and create their own work right in the gallery of world’s most famous museum! 

group 1 (3.5-5 year old) 12-1:00pm 

group 2 (6-9 year old): 2 – 3 p.m 


Fee: $400 for all 10 tours or $45 per class (2 classes minimum)

Dates: Sept.17, Oct.15, Nov.12, Dec.10, Jan.21, Feb.11, March 11, April 15, May 13, June 10

How does Zshuk Museum Education Series stand out?

  • Zshuk tours are created with an idea of promoting children’s cognitive development, through exploration of art materials and techniques used by the artists to stimulate imagination, help children construct meanings about the world, build upon experiences to express a personal vision; develop a global perspective and recognize the power of art to communicate beliefs and values.
  • all Zshuk tours are led by a professional artist and pedagog .
  • each tour focuses on a particular work of art, artist or culture with an idea to give children a very specific in depth experience
  • children use professional art materials.
  • prior to each trip a teaching artist conducts thorough research in order to build clear and age appropriate connections and develop a immersive educational experience for the children.
  • each tour children listen to a story and look at picture books that unveil the life of artists, cultural background or mythology of the work they will view.
  • all parents receive personal e-mail reminders about the tours and the information about what happened during the previous tour.
  • at the end of the year each student receives a special portfolio containing their work, and a special Certificate of Connoisseurship.
  • the artist/educator maintains appropriate standards for the children’s behavior using non-punitive method that teaches self-discipline while supporting children’s self-esteem, promotes mutual respect and models problem solving skills and gears the program to the needs of the individual child with concern for the child’s interests, special needs, special talents and individual style and pace of learning.

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Art Journey Project

Art Journey Project



Art Journey Project (ages 8-14)

Museum Education Series designed to introduce students to identity building and exploring Jewish stories through art lenze. Children use visual art, music, drama and literature to connect to other disciplines. Professional artist guide students through constructing their personal stories and teach them to apply the skills and knowledge learned in art to interpreting the world. NEX SEMESTER fall 2013: Dates: Sept 28, Oct 26, Nov 23, Dec14 3-5pm

REGISTER - next tour, Jewish Museum: Chagall Love, War, and Exile


December 14th, 2013. The Story of Joseph @ the Metropolitan Museum of Art

November 23, 2013 Song-writing and Recording  bench - colorWith amazing Naomi Less, professional musician, songwriter and educator and Glenn Grossman of  Studio G-2. At the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.    



October 26, 2013 Chayei Sarah / The Life of Sarah wk Tour to the Metropolitan Museum Of Art Animated Films based on the weekly Torah Chapter and the work of Jewish/South African Artist William Kentridge.     video from the tour: http://www.youtube.com          

Last Year’s Series:

May 11, 3-5pm


The Brooklyn Textile Center

We will explore the art of waving and dyeing in connection to the story of Joseph’s amazing coat.  This session is special, because we had arranged with the Brooklyn Textile Center to give weaving and dyeing workshop to both the children and the parents! We are very excited about this and strongly encourage all parents to stay and participate in this beautiful experience.

April 27, 3-5pm

The Grand Press Printmaking Studio

1024 Dean Street, Unit 3 Brooklyn, NY 11238 We will explore the art of printmaking creating a series of prints based on our sketches done at the Museum of Modern Art. zshukai

Marina Ancona

Artsist, print master has collaborated with emerging and well-established artists for over eleven years in print shops in Santa Fe, NM, New York, NY and Paris, France. 10 Grand Press is a independent print shop that specializes in fine art printing. Artists work with a professional printer to create original works on paper. The press was started in 1999, in a old sewing factory in Brooklyn NY. In 2004, the shop was moved to a new location in Brooklyn and a new shop was built in Santa Fe. Both shops offer a range of printing techniques, including Monotype, Intaglio, Relief Printing, Paper Lithography, Solar Plates and Stencils.

February 23

Purim Shpiel

interactive improv/game extravaganza based on the Purim story with view photos from the event   imageSHAWN SHAFNER is a theatre-maker, educator, and the creator of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org), creating art and educational experiences that connect people to their bodies, planet and global community. His NYC acting credits include performances at Madison Square Garden, Theater Row, Joe’s Pub, The Club at La Mama, and Classic Stage Company. Shawn spent 2008 touring nationally as Pablo in Nickelodeon’s The Backyardigans Live!, and has been creating original ritual theater with Storahtelling since 2005. He is the recipient of a 2005 Spielberg Fellowship, holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has trained in Russia at the St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy, the Institute for Contemporary Art in London, and the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Italy. Shawn is the Storahtelling Artist-in-Residence at the JCC Manhattan Saul and Carol Zabar Nursery School, has taught Hebrew school classes throughout NYC, and works as a teaching artist in schools and community centers with Arts for All.

February 23rd @ Dixon Place theatre space 3-5pm

161 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002 space is limited



Point and Line to Plane @ Gugenheim Museum

with Yana Manovskaya YANA MANOVSKAYA         Photos from trip


NEX SEMESTER: Dates: Sept 28, Oct 26, Nov 23, Dec14


This program is sponsored by Genesis Philanthropy Group

Hanukkah interactive performance

Hanukkah interactive performance

              Build the Temple, play war and createimage miracles!

Prazdniki: Hanukkah CelebЯations for the whole family(in Russian)!

 Come join us for a magical journey through Hanukkah with interactive
performances, fun activities, and a chance to interact with excellent
artists and performers, all in Russian!
Sunday, November 24 
10:00am – 12:00pm
$5 per person  
at Hannah Senesh Community Day School
342 Smith Street between 1st and 2nd places
this exciting event brings together Russian language and Jewish  cultural programs with an added value of arts and entertainment. Art activities and interactive storytelling is perfect for the whole family. Come join us for a day of fun and excitement.
Free admission into the Community Hanukkah Art Festival (1pm-4pm)  with admission to Prazdniki!
Приглашаем Вас разделить с нами путешествие в чудесный мир Хануки! Вас ждут увлекательные игры, интерактивные  представления и возможность пообщаться с талантливыми художниками и артистами. Все мероприятия проводятся только на русском языке!

Воскресенье 24 Ноября
Это уникальная программа соединяет в себе различные элементы искусства и развлечения, объединяя русский язык  и еврейскую культуру в рамках одного мероприятия. Занятия искусством и непосредственное участие в создании живого рассказа – великолепное время препровождения для всех членов Вашей семьи.Проведите этот волшебный, наполненный радостью день с нами!

Sea Monster March at The New York Aquarium



is a Musical Art show for the entire family with artists, musicians and actors taking place at the New York Aquarium.

Sunday October 2nd 12pm-3pm.

New York Aquarium, Surf Avenue & West 8th Street in Brooklyn, New York 11224.

12pm-2pm – make your own sea monster with a professional puppeteer and artist and help us put together the Giant Sea Monster.

2pm-3pm Rehearsal preparation with music and puppets followed by the Grand Sea Monster March through the aquarium.


New York based artists, musicians and actors will lead children and their families in a creative exploration of sea life, water and the environment. Every participant will have a chance to be a part of a fascinating artistic experience.

Exploration led by a visual artist using exciting textiles and colorful materials will enable kids and adults to create original puppets, props and images, and will lead to a performance with experimental musicians and a professional puppeteer. All participants will be involved in an original experience and along with professional artists create a unique experimental show right on the spot.

Only $8 admission with a coupon

(download, print and bring this coupon to get a discount admission on October 2nd, 2011 12-3pm). Admission without a coupon is adults:$14,95, children:$10,95

The Besht’s Magical Journey

The Besht’s Magical Journey

The Besht’s Magical Journey


Zshuk Art Initiative, announces the First Interactive Show
for the entire family in Russian,


Sunday May 29, 4pm


Shorefront Y, 3300 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11235

To be a part of the interactive circle please register

Past shows: Kings Bay Y, May 15, 1pm, May 8th, 11am, JCH of Besonhurst
April 17, 11am, JCC of Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023

pictures from the show on May 15

pictures from the show on May 8th






“Играют Все!” an article from The “Reporter” Newspaper. click to read.


“The Besht’s Magical Journey” is an educational and entertaining show for the entire family. This Russian language experimental theater performance depicts the adventures– as well as the good deeds — of the 17th century Jewish mystical rabbi, the Baal Shem Tov (“The BESHT”), during the Turkish occupation of Ukraine. Created and produced by Zshuk Art Initiative in under 30 days, it is scheduled to be performed in five Jewish Community Centers around the New York area.

Zshuk artists and educators have adopted this story from the legendary book “Jewish Folk Tales”, written by Efim Rayze and published posthumously in 1999 after the author’s imprisonment by the Soviets. Zhuk artists and educators, Zhenay Plechkina and Misha Sklar, will direct a cast that includes Yelena Shmulenson (“A Serious Man, “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish”), and Genadiy Vysotsky (San Francisco Lyrical Opera). Michael Evans (whose past collaborations include Evan Parker, Alexander Hacke Einsturzende Neubauten), is the show’s composer and musical director.

Participant space is limited (please RSVP). Preference is given to families with children. If you would like to be a part of interactive circle during the show please write to zhenya.plechkina@gmail.com.

Yelena Shmulenson emigrated to the U.S. from the Ukraine in 1993. Her TV and film credits include the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man, Robert DeNiro’s The Good Shepherd, Life on Mars (ABC), American Experience: Fire At The Triangle (PBS), and Romeo & Juliet in Yiddish. Stage: 4 seasons Off-Broadway with the Folksbiene, 2 seasons at the Ellis Island Theatre, Enemies: A Love Story in Russian, Frank (‘Klezmatics’) London’s musical of A Night In the Old Marketplace, the tours of Lady of Copper: The Statue of Liberty Musical and The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum, etc.  She has also recorded several audio books, winning the Earphones Award for her recordings of Train to Trieste and Cynthia Ozick’s The Shawl and Rosa. She can be heard in the radio drama The Witches of Lublin, currently playing on various radio stations across the country. She is fluent in four languages.


Michael Evans – is an improvising drummer/percussionist/ thereminist/composer whose work investigates and embraces the collision of sound and theatrics. As well as being a drum set player, his work with unusual sound sources includes found objects, homemade instruments, the theremin and various digital and homemade analog electronics.  He has worked with a wide variety of artists including Samm Bennett, Jac Berrocal, EasSide Percussion, Fast Forward(Gobo), God is my Co-Pilot,  Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten), Susan Hefner, Skip LaPlante’s Music for Homemade Instruments, Karen Mantler’s Pet  Project, Sean G. Meehan, Gordon Monahan, Joe Morris, Evan Parker, William Parker, LaDonna Smith, Toronto Dance Theatre and Peter Zummo.

Genady Vysotskywas born in Odessa, Ukraine. Gennady graduated from the Odessa School of Music. He became interested in acting at an early age, and began to explore that interest by participating in numerous musical theater performances, as well as appearing in several major motion pictures. After emigrating to the United States, Gennady graduated from the University of California at Davis, earning a double degree in Economics and Mathematics. At the same time Gennady continued his musical education. In the last few years Gennady has participated in the productions of the Magic Flute and Macbeth in the San Francisco Lyric Opera. Gennady has recently moved to New York to further pursue his musical career.

Anton Rayn - Originally studied all aspects of Puppet Theater and Performance in Kiev, Ukraine, and continued his education in the US, graduating from Brandeis University. He spent the better part of his childhood as a child performer and continues to be actively involved in children’s theater as an adult (with and without puppets): Les Misérables (JCHS), You Can’t Take It With You (JCHS), Joe and Mary’s Irish/Italian Wedding (NY Dinner Theater), Sleeping Beauty (Growing Stage), New York Renaissance Faire.


Baal Shem Tov or Besht - Rabbi Yisroel (Israel) ben Eliezer (רבי ישראל בן אליעזר August 27, 1698 (18 Elul) – May 22, 1760), was a Jewish mystical rabbi. He is considered to be the founder of Hasidic Judaism . The Besht was born to Eliezer and Sara in Okopy (Ukrainian: Окопи) a small village that over the centuries has been part of Poland, Russia, and is now part of Ukraine, (located in the Borschiv Raion (district) of the Ternopil Oblast).  Better known to many religious Jews as “the holy Baal Shem”, or most commonly, the Baal Shem Tov (בעל שם טוב). The title Baal Shem Tov is usually translated into English as “Master of the Good Name”. The name Besht (בעש”ט) — the acronym from the words comprising that name, bet ayin shin tes—is typically used in print rather than speech. The little biographical information that is known about Besht is so interwoven with legends of miracles that in many cases it is hard to arrive at the historical facts. From the numerous legends connected with his birth it appears that his parents were poor, upright, and pious. When he was orphaned, his community cared for him. At school, he distinguished himself only by his frequent disappearances, being always found in the lonely woods surrounding the place, rapturously enjoying the beauties of nature. Chapin and Weinstock contend that the Besht was essentially the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Eighteenth century Podolia was an ideal place to foster a sea-change in Jewish thinking. A Turkish occupation of Podolia occurred within the Besht’s lifetime. Once the Polish Magnates regained control from the Turks, Podolia essentially went through an economic boom. The Magnates were benevolent to the economic benefits the Jews provided and encouraged Jewish resettlement to help protect the frontier from future invasions. Thus, the Jewish community itself was essentially starting over. Within this context, the Jews of Podolia were open to new ideas. The Besht’s refreshing new approaches to Judaism were welcome, expanding with little resistance in a community hungry for change.

Efim Rayze -  collected “Jewish Folk Tales” from FSU. This collection is vibrant and reach with moral and funny stories and mystical tales. The book published posthumously in 1999.  These stories represent a slice of Jewish history and identity that has long been neglected and even forbidden in the Former Soviet Union.


Leon Theremin - Lev Sergeyevich Termen, Russian: Лев Сергеевич Термен) (27 August 1896, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire) was a Russian and Soviet inventor. He is most famous for his invention of the theremin, one of the first electronic musical instruments. He is also the inventor of interlace, a technique of improving the picture quality of a video signal, widely used in video and television technology. His invention of “The Thing”, an espionage tool, is considered a predecessor of RFID technology. http://www.thereminworld.com/



This program has been created by Zshuk Art Initiative, sponsored by CWW project of COJECO, funded by the UJA Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group and Joshua Venture Group




The order of Passover Seder

(adopted for Russian Shabbat Club 3-4 year old group)

3 matzohs

4 cups of grape juice per child

1 seder plate

1 shank bone, the egg, horseradish, parsley, some lettuce, charoset(mixture of nuts, apples and vine/honey)

Big Cup (for Elijah)

  • Light Candles

The vegetable symbolizes the lowly origins of the Jewish people; the salt water symbolizes the tears shed as a result of our slavery. Parsley is a good vegetable to use for this purpose, because when you shake off the salt water, it looks like tears.


One of the three matzahs on the table is broken. Part is returned to the pile, the other part is set aside for the afikomen


The 4 questions:

1. Why is this night different from all other nights?

For on all other nights we eat Chametz and Matzah;

And tonight we may eat only Matzah!

2. Why is this night different from all other nights?

For on all other nights, we may eat any vegetable that we want;

And tonight we must eat specifically Marror!

3. Why is this night different from all other nights?

For on all other nights we don’t have to dip any vegetable into a liquid;

But tonight we must dip two vegetables into a liquid -

Karpas into Salt Water and Marror into Charoset!

4. Why is this night different from all other nights?

For on all other nights, we eat either sitting straight or leaning;

But tonight we are required to lean!




Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, E-lo-hey-nu Me-lech ha-o-lam, A-sher ki-d’-sha-nu b’-mitz-vo-tav, v’-tzi-va-nu Al a-chilat ma-ror.

A blessing is recited over a bitter vegetable (usually raw horseradish; sometimes romaine lettuce), and it is eaten. This symbolizes the bitterness of slavery. The maror is dipped in charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine, which symbolizes the mortar used by the Jews in building during their slavery.

we eat some maror on a piece of matzah, with some charoset


The piece of matzah set aside earlier is eaten as “dessert,” the last food of the meal. Some have the children hide it, while the parents have to either find it or ransom it back. Others have the parents hide it.

At the end, a blessing is said over the third cup and it is drunk. The fourth cup is poured, including a cup set aside for the prophet Elijah, who is supposed to herald the Messiah, and is supposed to come on Pesach to do this. The door is opened for a while at this point .

Yemin Orde Mural Painting

Yemin Orde Mural Painting

Zshuk Art Initiative along with Blueprint(CWW COJECO) had volunteered to create a mural for the Yemin Orde Youth Village in Israel.  Through creative process and discussion we had arrived at the idea of using art as a healing experience(Tikun Olam) and creating a mural using the shapes of rocks and remains from recent fire that swept through Carmel mountains and hit the village in December 2010. Each artist had created their own “rock” shape to construct an abstract painting.

Artists had worked in collaboration with Russian-speaking teens at the village.

Special thanks to Anna Vainer for the amazing opportunity and one of a kind experience of Israel.

more images here

Solomon’s Chair at Hannah Senesh Community School

Solomon’s Chair at Hannah Senesh Community School

Life streaming from the event

Video streaming by Ustream

February 6

1-4 pm

Interactive Installation accompanied by printmaking workshops.

previous event at JCC in Manhattan

Hannah Senesh Community Day School


studio 1.4

studio 1.4

February 6

Alter Ego


Leading up to the celebration of Purim we find the following text:

from myjewishlearning.com

…People are invited to relinquish normal modes of behavior for one day, embracing behavior otherwise viewed with suspicion. Controlled and institutionalized chaos affirms the greater structure of Jewish custom and law by forming an outlet for a healthy questioning and challenge from within. At the same time, consequences of losing control are further balanced by traditions of giving extra tzedakah(charity) and special gifts to friends and neighbors (mishloch manot) on Purim. Even in its antinomianism (breaking the rules), the tradition has one eye focused on communal balance.

It is taught that in messianic times, only the festival of Purim will continue to be celebrated. Despite efforts to untangle its rich weave of paradoxes, no simple analysis suffices to explain this most unusual and dynamic of the Jewish holidays.

Guest artist

Erika Devries

What we will do:

Using props, sets, makeup and clothing create an image of your alter ego or a false identity. It can be someone you imagine yourself being or your anti pod or an opposite. We will created animated GIF image.

click on image to see animation

Important Habits of mind:

  • Creating, imagining and Innovation
  • Thinking Flexibly
  • Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)
  • Taking Responsible Risks
  • Striving for Accuracy
  • Finding Humor
  • Questioning and Posing Problems
  • Thinking Interdependently
  • Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations