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Tzafi Weinberg

Shirit Pais and Yolanda Panini Pollock

Limmud Festival: Art Therapy with Tzafi Weinberg, Family Legacy Videos with Shirland Productions

March 18, 2013

Tzafi Weinberg, an Israeli who moved to Winnipeg years ago, gave a session at Limmud on art therapy.

Art therapy for children is a way of approaching the inner world of a child, and combines art and psychotherapy in a creative process. It is conducted using art making and verbal expressions. Art is seen as a language, as inducing self-talk, and bringing insight to beliefs and behaviors. As Weinberg indicates, "Art therapy is helpful with children who are experiencing a life transition, trauma, depression, separation anxiety, or attention deficit – hyperactivity. It is used to help children with emotional, developmental, and behavioral problems."

"It allows the child to unearth emotions, and have introspective observations," and can help "develop personal and interpersonal skills." Art Therapy is not only for children experiencing emotional difficulty; it can also heighten creativity and enrich life.

During  Limmud, Weinberg gave a gentle introduction to the art of mandala, circular patterns, as a way to approach contemplation and spirituality for adults. The art materials were enticing and everyone felt they could participate at their own level.

I attended Weinberg's prayer-based fabric workshop in Limmud 2012, which was very connected to Jewish experience.

In this year's session,  some of those who attended focused on Jewish subjects, including the words to the Shma or typical Jewish symbols in their artwork, but this workshop seemed a little less connected to Jewish experience.

Both years, I especially enjoyed the closing circle, as Weinberg expanded on each participant's own impressions of what they had created.

For anyone interested in knowing more about Weinberg's art therapy with children, go to her website:

I also attended a  practical workshop on making family legacy videos by Shirland productions founders Shirith Pais and Yolanda Papini-Pollack. We learned tips on interviewing people to draw out interesting family stories, and got a brief introduction to techniques of editing and making an attractive DVD. I didn't walk away feeling I could take on the project, but I was inspired to continue to collect family stories and photos to enjoy and share with future generations. In the session Irma's Dream later in the day, Pais and Papini-Pollack showed the film they made with Torah scribe Irma Penn about her studies, her experiences, and the dedication of the first Torah scroll written by a Canadian woman.

Papini –Pollock, who has a Masters in Education specializing in technology has always been interested in film–making. As she told the WJR in December 2010:
“Over the years I made many movies for family members and as part of my work with my students. I lost my father at a young age and since his siblings and parents are deceased as well, I felt that their family story was lost with their death. The idea is that everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a family that will cherish their stories for generations to come.”

Pais has taught videography and film production to young students [including special needs students] for about 20 years in Israel, and also had her own business filming and producing life cycle events on film, producing short documentaries and life memories on film.

Along with the fascinating presentations, Limmud offers a wonderful opportunity for an exchange of ideas and friendship. Wisely, the organizers leave plenty of time for casual conversation in pleasant spaces. On Saturday night, there was a fabulous spread of Israeli food and glamorous cakes. Throughout Sunday, treats helped keep us going and encouraged us to linger and talk. Special praise for the menu goes to Maxine Shuster of Shmoozer's Cafe and Dubi Shlenger.

Everyone is welcome to contribute to Limmud 2014 – as a member of the planning committee, a volunteer, a presenter, and a learner!

Congratulations to the many organizers, Rady Centre staff, volunteers, sponsors, generous presenters and learners who made Limmud 2013 a success.

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