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Maxim Berent, Israel pavilion Cultural Chair & 2013 Adult Ambassador with Debra Zoerb, Folklorama Executive Director at Israel Pavilion 2013 cultural exhibit

Folklorama Llama with the Israel Pavilion Ambassadors

Chai on stage

Jeff Lieberman, Israel Pavilion Chair with Rachel Lagacé, CTV - CTV morning Live show interview

The displays, entertainment, and food at the Israeli pavilion- All top notch

by Rhonda Spivak, September 13, 2013

I hadn't visited the Shalom Square Pavillion in a long time since I am usually in Israel when it is put on. But in this the 44th year of Folklorama, I did get a chance to attend the event, which is co-ordinated by the  Rady JCC and was very impressed with everything. 

The Israel Pavilion - Shalom Square- ran during the week of August 11 – August 17 at the Asper Community Campus, and according to Tamar Barr, assistant program director for the Rady JCC some " 10,000 people came through the doors this year to Folklorama."

As Barr added "The The Rady JCC is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the Israel Pavilion. Staff start working in January to get things going. We are looking at close to 1800 hours of staff time dedicated to the planning and implementation of the Israel Pavilion. There is an active volunteer committee that is involved in all aspects of the pavilion."

    When asked about th e financial aspects of putting on Folklorama, Barr responded, "We raise approx. $30,000 in donations and sponsorship and in-kind support from community partners, donors for the Jewish community and community at large. Furthermore the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg supports the pavilion with any losses that could occur. Costs have come down since the Rady JCC has taken over the coordination of the Pavilion a few years ago at the request of Federation.

    Barr also noted that "There are 250 volunteers who are the heart and soal of the Pavillion.We are looking at 1,500 volunteer hours. We couldn't do it without them."

Maxim Berent, age 23, who is a designer and director of operations at Bermax Design (custom architectural woodwork), designed a very attractive, colourful and professional looking display about Israel, with scenes from different cities, that was set up in the Berney Theatre.

As Berent said, "With Israel's special celebration of 65 years, we have created a special exhibit that showcased the uniqe history of Israel and how Israel has grown to be one of the most sophisticated countries around the world.
"Along with showing how Israel is contributing to our world with it's advance technology, R&D and innovation,we showed how multicultural Israel is..."  It [the exhibit ] also brought a very emotional response from the thousands of visitors that walked through its doors."  

As I walked through the exhibit, I could see that people were interested and reading the display plaques.


Berent, who was born and raised in Israel, also served as an Adult Israel Pavilion Ambassador this year along with Jordana Etkin. The Youth Ambassadors were Hayden Hood and Braden Ganetsky and the M.C. was Aidan Fishman.


Berent, who  is a talented and dedicated volunteer for many Jewish community causes, clearly expresses his passion for Israel in what he does for Folklorama.


Berent recently told WJR that he is in his second year of studies at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.


"It's the largest private school for art and design in the US. I am in the IAD - Interior Architecture and Design program," he said.


The show I saw, featuring the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble, brought to life the best of Israeli folklore and culture through music, song and dance was packed.


As I walked through the multi-ethnic audience and asked people what they thought about the show and the pavilion as a whole, everyone I asked had only positive things to say. 


Chai, which has been performing at the pavilion since its inception, put on a spirited and terrific performance as did the singers and orchestra members. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed themselves fully and clapped along.


The falafel and hummus, a Mediterranean specialty was fresh and delicious- as was everything else I tried like the flaky potato boureka, hamentashen, and the sabra chocolate cake.


As Gail Waxman, Executive Director of the Rady JCC told the Wininpeg Jewish Review,

"The Israel Pavilion has a great reputation of hosting and welcoming guests from all backgrounds to Shalom Square to enjoy Israeli entertainment, food and culture. Not only is this a wonderful celebration of Israel, but the Pavilion provides a very key opportunity for the Jewish community of Winnipeg to showcase the best of Israel in a positive way by highlighting Israel’s contribution to the world. The Pavilion creates a terrific sense of community with volunteers coming from all ages groups from children to seniors. Furthermore the volunteers corps represents both long-time Winnipeggers and newcomers who work side by side during the Pavilion. For many volunteers and visitors, Shalom Square is their only real connection to the community. This tremendous community connection plus our opportunity to showcase Israel is a worthwhile investment for the community. We are very grateful to the volunteers, sponsors and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg."



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.