Community Security on Shabbat

Dear Ones,

The Religious Services Committee brought forward concerns from congregants regarding security at Shabbat services.  In response, Emanu-El’s Board passed a motion to hire a commissionaire to help at the door during services.  This will start very soon and will continue on a trial basis for six months.  The only metric we have on hand to know if this trial is a success is for more folk to attend Saturday mornings. 

We will do our utmost to ensure that entry to services will be welcoming and that interactions with marginal street folk remain compassionate. Please know that there are no imminent threats; this is simply a precaution. Door security, like entry through the Social Hall, serves as a deterrent.

We will have a volunteer at the door for the first few weeks to help make introductions.  Please introduce yourself when you arrive and help us all to maintain the welcoming environment that we all expect.

We are a come-as-you-are kind of congregation where everyone who comes in peace is welcomed and embraced.  In order to make this entry point a place of welcome, we will need a few volunteers to serve as greeters and to acclimatize our new commissionaire.  If you are interested in helping out please reach out to Susan Holtz:  sholtz@congregationemanuel.ca 

L’shalom,
Rabbi Harry


A Long Search for Lost Family Stories

Painting of Lea Perla Blumenfeld, artist unknown

Last year, with the assistance of UVic Professor of Germanic and Slavic Studies Charlotte Schallié, Lisa Abram found out, for the first time, that the Holocaust directly impacted her family. With incredible patience and care, Humanities Communications Officer Philip Cox interviewed her over many hours, and spent the last few months piecing together the narrative of her family’s harrowing experience. UVic promoted the story for International Holocaust Remembrance Day; click here to read it on their website.


Mazel Tov to Francis Landy!

Mazel tov to Francis Landy, whose recent talk, “The Three Bodies of God,” enjoyed an attentive and appreciative audience.  Francis spoke as part of UVic’s Centre for Studies in Religion and Society’s public lecture series last week. Here’s a link to the CSRS weekly lectures:  https://www.uvic.ca/research/centres/csrs/events/index.php

Francis also leads Emanu-El’s ongoing Tanakh Shiur, an enriching and thoughtful Torah study class, currently Tuesday evenings on Zoom.  Please contact the office to register:  info@congregationemnauel.ca. Donations to Adult Ed are appreciated. 


Avodah Team Walks in the Coldest Night of the Year!

Annette Wigod (ph: Penny Tennenhouse)

Saturday, February 25 – On February 25, our enthusiastic Avodah team will again be participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk to raise money in support of Our Place, serving vulnerable people in Victoria experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger.

Last year, our Avodah team raised over $7,000 for the essential services of Our Place, ranking #1 out of 64 teams participating last year. Together, we made a real difference in our community and we are excited to continue to show up again this year! 

 In honour of our beloved Annette Wigod’s recent 96th birthday, Annette’s daughter, Eve Abrams, will be walking with the Avodah team, as she did last year on Annette’s 95th birthday. Your sponsorship of Eve would be a wonderful way to honour Annette, a long-time dedicated and still-active member of Avodah. 

 To support this important Avodah initiative, please go to the Coldest Night of the Year website where you can donate to Eve and the Avodah team.   

You are welcome to contact Penny Tennenhouse care of info@congregationemanuel.ca if you would like any further information.


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Protecting the Trees and Loving our Earth

Sunday, February 5, 2023, starting at 1:15 pm – Join us to mark and celebrate Tu Bishvat as we remove an invasive species from our precious environment. Roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty and show some love to trees. In partnership with the Capital Regional District (CRD) we will work on English Ivy removal at Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park. CRD Parks staff will be on site to provide us instruction, guidance, and tools (gloves, loppers, etc.).

After work we will enjoy a delicious fruit-based Tu Bishvat seder and receive some inspiring teaching on Jewish Environmentalism. Help care for our beautiful corner of the planet.

ALL ARE WELCOME. Details Below:

RSVP: To attend, please send an RSVP with the number of people in your party to info@congregationemanuel.ca. This will enable CRD parks to assign sufficient staff for this date.

Date: Sunday, February 5, 2023, at 1:15 pm.

Location: Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park Parking Lot by the Filter Beds (See picture)

BC Transit buses #72, #6, and others arrive from nearby the synagogue.

Clothing: Wear comfortable clothes, and bring your rain gear (just in case!)

Weather: The event will proceed, rain or shine

Supplies: If you have a pair of gardening gloves, bring them.

For more info: Please contact Aaron at seversa@gmail.com or Rabbi Harry via the shul office info@congregationemanuel.ca


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Outreach Gifts for the Community!

For the month of February, Morris Bleviss and Janna Ginsberg Bleviss are sponsoring the Shabbat Gift Bag Program honouring the memory of all the Fathers’ Yahrzeits in Shevat.  

Shabbat Gift Bags are being delivered to community members every month.  This warm-hearted project is the work of the Outreach Committee– a gift to all Emanu-El members.  The Shabbat Gift Bag project hopes to reach every member who lives within Greater Victoria. It is important that we all feel appreciated and connected. If you would like to volunteer or support Outreach in their many projects, please contact the shul office, 250 382-0615.

The Year My Mother Came Back – Opens Soon!

Opens February 16 – Thirty years after her death, Alice’s mother appears to her and continues to do so, during the hardest year Alice has had to face. A love story. A ghost story. This play will speak to anybody who has ever loved their mother, struggled with their mother, lost their mother, or dreamt of reconciling with their mother. Adapted from Alice Eve Cohen‘s acclaimed memoir, The Year My Mother Came Back

Directed by Zelda Dean. Starring Christine Upright and Erin Sterling.

Performances in the Black Box Theatre in Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue.

Thursday February 16 –             7:30 pm

Saturday February 18 –                      7:30 pm

Sunday February 19 –                         3:00 pm Matinee

Monday February 20 –                       7:30 pm

Tuesday February 21 –                       7:30 pm

Thursday February 23 –                     7:30 pm

Saturday February 25 –                      7:30 pm

Sunday February 26 –                         3:00 pm Matinee

“A wry, magical memoir about the transcendent power of mother-daughter love.” – Elle magazine.

“Fiercely brave and unflinchingly honest, Alice Eve Cohen takes the reader on an astonishing journey.” – The Brooklyn Rail

“Alice Eve Cohen has a magical touch in the way she introduces her audience to a character… arriving at a place a lot like where everything started…only much better.” – Buffalo News

Tickets available at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-year-my-mother-came-back-a-magical-and-loving-ghost-story-tickets-502145850757   or at the door

NOTE: 10% of ticket sales are being donated to the BC Cancer Foundation. For more information contact zeldadean@shaw.ca


Summary of event details

  • Date: February 16-26, 2023
  • Time: 3:00 pm, 7:30 pm
  • Where: Congregation Emanu-El’s Black Box Theatre
  • Cost: $25
  • Registration: Eventbrite
  • Contact: zeldadean@shaw.ca

Professor Morton Weinfeld to Speak on Like Everyone Else But Different: The Jewish Glass is Half Full

Sunday, February 5, 11 amMorton  Weinfeld, Professor of Sociology at McGill University ,will be a guest  lecturer on Sunday, February 5 at 11:00 am PST in Kolot Mayim Reform Temple’s Zoom speakers series, Hineini: Answering the Call to Heal the World. Professor Weinfeld is the author of the recently updated Like Everyone Else But Different: The Paradoxical Success of Canadian Jews, a book which historian Harold Troper has called “undoubtedly, the most important study of Canadian Jewish life in a generation.”

Professor Weinfeld will demonstrate that  Canadian Jews have overcome the potential risks of assimilation and diversity amid new challenges in the Jewish community. Drawing on his personal experience and scholarship, he will provide a provocative account of Jewish life and multiculturalism in contemporary Canada.

Lectures are free but pre-registration is required (register here).  For more information visit www.kolotmayimreformtemple.com


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Kabbalat Shabbat

Shabbat, January 20 – This Friday (tonight) January 20 at 6:45 pm.  Doors open 6:30 pm.
Looking to add some serious simcha to your Friday Night?
Check out the Kabba Shabba Band and join our super dynamic Hebrew School and families for a raucous, kid-centered Kabbalat Shabbat followed by a delicious dessert Oneg Shabbat.


Summary of event details

Shabbat Shirah 2023: Judaism, Women and Song

Shabbat, February 4 – Please join us on Saturday, February 4, 2023, for Shabbat Shirah service (Parashat Beshalaḥ) when we will remember Laurel Nahshon z”l and honour those who led the way to egalitarian services at Congregation Emanu-El. Join us for worship, learning and celebration. We promise a joyful service including the special chant of Shirat HaYam (Song of the Sea), reflections on Judaism, women and song followed by a delicious kiddush, sponsored by Frances Rosenberg


Summary of event details

  • Date: February 4, 2023
  • Time: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Where: Congregation Emanu-El
  • Cost: none
  • Registration: none
  • Contact: info@congregationemanuel.ca