Kenafayim Arts Center

The Kenafayim Arts Center was established in 2004 by artists with the goal of enabling people with special needs, blessed with artistic talent, some with education in various artistic fields, to create and function as artists, expose their world to normative society, and enable their professional integration into society, while restoring their belief and faith in their strength and abilities.

Two different groups of artists operate under the Kenafayim umbrella: artists confronting mental health problems (Theatre Studio) and another group of mentally challenged artists (Theatre, Plastic Art, Music, Writing and Cinema studios).

We believe that a respecting and professional attitude towards an artist and his/her art enable the artist to take such an attitude towards him/herself and his/her art. Work is conducted with the healthy and well-preserved parts or elements of the artists, and enables them to cease identifying with their limitations and failures, and wake up in the morning to a meaningful life. Over and over again, we have witnessed the wonderful process that these artists undergo at the center – from people requiring assistance to people with hope. During the process, they reestablish their sense of self worth, faith in their abilities, and their self respect as human beings.

The dialog at Kenafayim is not founded on a standard “therapeutic” approach, but rather a professional artistic approach that aspires to excellence in every field. The artistic work itself provides and opportunity for mental strengthening, and fosters awareness and desire to acquire the tools for recovery among Kenafayim participants.

Acceptance Process

People with artistic talent in music, theatre, photography and plastic art are invited to schedule an interview by contacting Kenafayim by phone or email. An interview is conducted with every candidate, and those found suitable are accepted for a two week trial period.


1. Payment by the individual.
2. People entitled to a Rehabilitation fund can submit an application to the fund.

Shapira Studios

The Shapira Studio is the setting for artistic work in various fields – theatre, music, photography and plastic art. Artists work daily in preparation for performances and exhibitions. Every week, a workshop is held with a guest artist, from among Israel’s leading artists.

Music Studio

Kenafayim’s Music group (mental health) is composed of 10 musicians and singers who meet every day at the Shapira Studio, where they write, compose and arrange their songs. Members of the ensemble perform The Story Within at Levontin 7 club, and collaborate with Kenafayim’s theatre group in the Stage Instead of Bed show – a performance that combines theatrical and music segments. Members of Kenafayim’s musical ensemble are invited to participate in shows, conferences and seminars.
Musical manager: Aviv Stein,Shaul Besser, Vocal instructor: Ofri Tanachalzon.

The Story Within
Members of the music ensemble, under the guidance of Aviv Stein, write, perform and tell the stories behind their songs.
The show is composed of original songs written and adapted by the members of the ensemble.
The songs express the personal experiences that their creators underwent.

Theatre Studio

Kenafayim’s Theatre group (mental health) works on original pieces written by the artists, touching on the borders between imagination and reality, between sanity and insanity. The scenes are performed with the frankness and sensitivity unique to the participants: actors, writers and musicians facing mental health issues. Stage Instead of Bed show is currently performed at Tzavta theatre in Tel Aviv and other venues in Israel.
Directors: Rina Padwa, Gilad Cohen, Ishay Dan; Musical manager: Aviv Stein

Stage Instead of Bed
A show composed of monologues and music performed by actors and musicians facing mental health challenges . Kenafayim’s group of actors and musicians combine original and familiar pieces written and composed by members of the musical ensemble. Stage Instead of Bed, performed in Tzavta and Tmuna theatre, has won widespread acclaim.

Fine Arts Studio

Artists work daily at painting and sculpture at the Shapira Studio. Artists work with personal guidance to prepare solo and group exhibitions.
The photography exhibition of the studio artists, "Capturing Space", is displayed in the gallery's lobby of the community center Shapira.

Rival Studio

Working at the Rival Studio is Kenafayim’s theatre group, composed of mentally challenged (retarded) people that are uniquely gifted actors. The group has been working and creating together in Tel Aviv since 2004. Activities at the center include classes in dance and movement, improvisation, music, rhythm, painting and more. Plays are created and written through a unique work process that merges the personal expressions of the actors, with the artistic support and guidance of theatre professionals. Members of the theatre group perform Silver Spoon at Tzavta theatre and other venues throughout the country, to full halls and rave reviews.

Actors in Kenafayim’s theatre group are mentally challenged people, who despite their challenges were blessed with impressive artistic talent, outstanding creative and improvisational capabilities, and unique point of view, obsession, naiveté, honesty, courage to express feelings, that are characteristic of any gifted artist – and they can be found in people who are mentally challenged.

Silver Spoon The play Silver Spoon was inspired, written and is performed by the studio’s actors. In the play, 20 workers work in a small spoon factory. During the play, which is also their work environment, the actors express their aspirations as well as everyday life, and create a human document that surprises the audience with its candor, humor and simplicity and offers an encounter with the actors and their daily lives.

Director and artistic manager: Rina Padwa, written based on the actors’ experiences by Shira Gefen, movement: Ella Rothschild.

Creahm Festival
On 1.4.11, "the Silver Spoon" play was performed at the Creahm Festival in Liege Belgium. The festival invited 2 productions of the play. During the tour, the play was also invited by the Jewish community in Brussels.

No Limits Festival
Kenafayim Center performed Silver Spoon at the No Limits Festival held in October 2009 in Berlin. The festival is a 10 day event in which mentally challenged play a major role, where challenged actors work professionally and in full collaboration alongside actors who are not disabled.

Tuesdays at Five
A film by Zohar Behrendt that accompanies Kenafayim Theatre actors, who meet every Tuesday at five to work on the play Silver Spoon. On the backdrop of the creative process, we learn about their dreams, loves and sorrows as actors, who in addition to a range of touching human traits, are also mentally challenged. Director: Zohar Behrendt

Kenafayim – Because Art has No Boundaries is an non-profit association founded in 2004 with the goal of establishing a unique arts center, the first if its kind in Israel, that will serve as a paying workplace for artists with special needs.

The association was founded by Rina Padua and Dalit Sharon, artists with extensive and rich experience in their fields, and in working with people with special needs.

We believe that a person facing emotional problems or an artist with special needs, has the right, just like any other person, to realize his/her talents and to work in a challenging, satisfying and suitable environment.

We have established an active and vibrant center for theatre, art and music, which provides people confronting emotional and physical challenges with an opportunity to develop their talents into a respectable profession that contributes and empowers their personal, emotional and social development, and an opportunity for the audience to encounter, through art, people who are different.

Kenafayim Center includes a theatre and dance studio, a theatre hall, rehearsal rooms with musical equipment, studio spaces for painting and sculpture, and an active art gallery for people with special needs. Activities at the Kenafayim art studio are held every day, in the morning, based on Protected Plant conditions. The fruits of their artistic creations are presented to various paying audiences.

"Kenafayim" enables people with special needs, who are talented in artistic disciplines, to develop and draw satisfaction from their work, to be productive individuals that contribute to the community, and releases them from their “traditional” roles as supported individuals. Through this, we contribute to the personal and emotional development, develop life skills and reinforce the self-image of the individual, as well as open the hearts of Israeli society to accept people who are different. Exhibiting the fruits of our creations in the fields of theatre and art, and performances by the theatre group in festival in Israel and overseas, represents Israel honorably as a humane and advanced society.

Brief History:

2004 Kenafayim Association – Because Art has No Boundaries was founded.
2005 Open performance at the Purim Masks Festival in Haifa.Open stage public event at the Black Stage Theatre in the Ted Arison complex. Zohar Behrendt begins to film a documentary depicting Kenafayim’s activities. Ella Rothschild joins the staff and teaches dance and choreography classes.
2006 Theatre and Masks marathon at Kibbutz Hafetz Haim.
2006 Premier of the Silver Spoon play at Arison Hall in Tel Aviv.
2007 The Studio moves to Rival street and continues to work every Tuesday and Thursday.
2008 The Art studio for artists suffering from psychological problems begins to operate at the Shapira Community Center in Tel Aviv. Theatre, dance and writing workshops are held at the studio, which includes a rehearsal room for music and studio for painting and sculpture. In addition to artistic activities, various movement lessons are held: Body Cognition, Tai Chi and Yoga. The studio’s artists work every day, in preparation for performances and exhibitions.

Guiding artists

Artistic directors – Rina Padua
Plastic Art – Ilana Bar, Timor Choen, Yaniv Alon, Tali Tamir.
Theatre – Rina Padua, Ishay Dan, Nitza Cohen (Writing) and Uri Shmerlovsky (dance).
Music – Aviv Stein, Shaul Besser, Ofri Tanachalzon (Vocal instructor), Adi Michalson (Tai Chi)
Cinema: Lior Netser
Writing: Emmanuele Pinto


Kenafayim is in the process of building a permanent home to serve as an active and vibrant theater, visual arts and music center where the public can regularly encounter the actors and artists through watching a play or visiting an exhibit of talented artists with special needs.
We are presently looking for funding for the construction of one of the art studio rooms in the new Center. In order to preserve high standards and quality, we need support from private and business donors, as well as funds and foundations in Israel and abroad.

With your help, we can realize the potential of people with special needs, enable them to find meaning in their lives and enable society to enjoy the fruits of their artistic creations. The Kenafayim studio for art is supported by the Ministries of Health, Culture, Welfare and the Foreign Ministry.

How to help

– Volunteer activities
– Marketing of Kenafayim shows
– Monetary contribution for special projects:
– Art workshops that will be held at the Kenafayim Arts Center, conducted by Kenafayim artists, to alter the stigma and raise awareness for mental illnesses among youths in the education system.
– Art workshops in high schools and youth movement, in the center and peripheral regions, that will be conducted by recovering Kenafayim artists.
– Production of artist albums and publication of a book of short stories by Kenafayim artists.
– Theatre production by the Rival studio, directed by Shira Gefen.
– Distribution of a disc of original songs by the Kenafayim music ensemble (Shapira studio). The songs are part of the Inside Story performance. All proceeds from disc sales will be contributed to activities for the benefit of people with emotional / mental health problems in Israel.
– We are making progress towards the building of a home of our own, that will include a performance hall, artists' workshop, gallery space that will be used for exhibitions by center members and guest artists, and a café that will serve the artists and general public. In addition, the center will offer courses (paid), and various art therapy classes for people who are not members of the center. Your contribution will enable us to build the Kenafayim multi-disciplinary arts center.

– To donate Online please Click Here
– To Bank account at Hapoalim Bank, branch 574, account number: 219889
– To donate via mail – Kenafayim, 59 Habosem St, Mevasert

* IRS approved Kenafayim for the purpose of contributions *

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