Perla Barabak gave a music workshop on April 17 as part of Jewish Seniors Alliance’s Snider Foundation Empowerment Series. (photo from JSA)
The fourth session of this season’s Jewish Seniors Alliance Snider Foundation Empowerment Series was held with the co-sponsorship of Congregation Beth Israel on April 17. The theme of “Laughter and Music: Feeding the Soul” continued with a program entitled Perla’s Music Workshop.
About 65 seniors were present to enjoy the afternoon event, which began with the regular Tuesday seniors lunch provided by Jewish Family Services. Queenie Hamovich of JFS welcomed everyone and introduced Ken Levitt, president of JSA.
Levitt reviewed some of the JSA programs, including the peer support services. He asked audience members to consider joining JSA and encouraged them to think of volunteering for some of the peer support initiaves. He then introduced the speaker for the afternoon, Perla Barabak.
Barabak believes that music helps the body and mind to relax. It also touches the heart and soul, she said, making it easier for feelings to surface. Thus, music can provide multiple benefits.
Barabak began with some exercises, asking the audience to sound out their names musically. She began with her own name and many people joined in. She talked about active and passive listening; for example, listening at a concert as opposed to hearing background music in an elevator.
Throughout history, she noted, music has been used in communication, movement and at social events (weddings, b’nai mitzvah, banquets).
Songs represent a culture, she said. In this way, music is the song the heart sings. Songs remain with us into our senior years, when other memories may fade. Songs and singing can create pleasure and empowerment.
Barabak then did a guided meditation, getting everyone to close their eyes, listen to the music and imagine a colour. Barabak – who has used music in her work as a psychologist – pointed out how relaxing this is and how music balances our thoughts and feelings. She said she feels that, where there is life, there is music.
As the event ended, many in the audience got up and danced to the music being played.
The next Empowerment Series event – Music for Our Hearts and Songs We Love – will take place on June 25 at Beth Tikvah Synagogue. Caviar and Lace, with Michelle Carlisle and Saul Berson, will perform a mix of classic, jazz and folk songs.
Shanie Levin, MSW, worked for many years in the field of child welfare. During that time, she was active in the union. As well, she participated in amateur dramatics. She has served on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and is presently on the executive of Jewish Seniors Alliance and a member of the editorial committee.