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 The Israel Pavilion looks forward to greeting its visitors this week with a hearty "Shalom" and many welcoming smiles.

"It means hello, goodbye, and also means peace," shared Tamar Barr, coordinator of the Israel Pavilion - Shalom Square. "It's a lovely greeting."tamar barr israelTamar Barr was born and grew up in Israel before immigrating to Canada at the age of seven.

Barr, who is also the assistant executive director of the Rady Jewish Community Centre, has spent the better part of two decades dedicated to helping share her culture through Folklorama.

"I was actually born in Israel, so I have a deep connection," explained Barr. Despite coming to Canada with her family at the age of seven, the coordinator says that her connection to her home country has not wavered, and has indeed only been strengthened due to the importance her family has placed on it and frequent opportunities to visit.

"Seven is still old enough to have strong memories, especially when you go back-and-forth and you have family members, and that's instilled in your home life."

Barr attended Jewish school and spoke Hebrew at home with her family, two things that she says helped instil a strong sense of her culture in her. 

The multicultural festival is a way for Barr to share that sense of culture with those who come to visit the pavilion.

israel singers LEADMelissa Hart, Aleksandra Smolyaninov, and Naomi Derksen perform a traditional Hebrew song."Our community is very attached to Israel, so we get to celebrate Israeli culture and showcase Israel through Folklorama and share that with the wider community," she says.

The sharing of culture is a topic of significance to Barr, especially having grown up in a different country.

"Culture is important because it's a way for people to express themselves and it's a way for you to share your heritage, your rituals with other people... we're all coming together to share our culture with other people."

Israel, according to Barr, is a lively country, with all sorts of different people arriving to experience and contribute to its unique culture.

"It's a mosaic of different cultures," the coordinator described, as the country is made up of immigrants from all over the world.

The fact that Israel is made of so many parts, however, is one reason Barr loves the uniqueness of her culture.

Additionally unique, Israel is both a country and a nation, and home, in part, to many who claim their Jewish ancestry.

"Many would say if you're Jewish, it's your peoplehood, it's your nation," said Barr. "That's how I think of myself."

The pavilion coordinator says that her Jewish heritage connects her not only to her cultural community here in Winnipeg, but also strengthens her ties with her home country.

"I'm proud to be Jewish. It's my religion, it's my culture."

The Israel Pavilion - Shalom Square takes place throughout the first week of Folklorama until Saturday, August 11, 2018. You can visit the pavilion at Asper Jewish Community Campus (123 Doncaster St., located at Tuxedo and Doncaster).

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