36 Under 36 2009: Biana Shilshtut, 26

 Biana Shilshtut hasn’t had any time to plug in the television in her new apartment. And she moved in last April.

"My friends say, ‘Since you moved to New York you don’t sleep, Biana,’" she says with a laugh. And that’s not far from the truth. Shilshtut, who came to America six years ago from Uzbekistan, has thrown herself into the nonprofit scene, volunteering for the UJA-Federation of New York, American Jewish Committee, Council of Young Jewish Presidents, and serving as a founding board member of RJeneration. Launched in 2006, RJeneration is a community of Russian-speaking Jews in New York. They hold Shabbat dinners, ski trips, host speakers, and volunteer around the city.

Shilshtut came to New York knowing nobody, and "jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a grass-roots organization," she says. Since December she has served as the organization’s treasurer, utilizing skills from her job in Wealth Management at Alliance Bernstein.

Shilshtut also serves on the board of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, as an observer of the UJA-Federation task force on Russian-Speaking Jews in New York, and co-chair of the educational committee of Young Russian Leadership at UJA. "If you look at my calendar I rarely have a week without multiple board meetings," said Shilshtut.

All this activity isn’t new to Shilshtut, who single-handedly created the first Hillel chapter at North Dakota State University when she was a graduate student there. Though it’s tough to juggle everything at once, "I found that if you put your mind into something you’ll find time to do it," she said. "There are so many ways how we can improve our community and society," said Shilshtut, "Just get involved."

Under the sea: Shilshtut recently received her SCUBA diving certification. Family ties: Though she left her hometown of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, alone in 2003, her family has since relocated to Canada.


Staff Writer


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