Being Present with the Unknown: Shabbat D’var Vayikra

Rabbi Matt Vayikra

 Shabbat Shalom, When I was in undergrad, I had a roommate who was from Edmonton. She, among other things, besides being an artist, was also an improv actor. She told me about an event that happened at the main improv theatre in Edmonton every year. It was a 24 hour straight improvised performance with a whole team of improv actors.

I had not done improv acting myself, so I asked her about it, “How do you do that even for a minute? How do you create an entire performance that has a narrative arc, with funny moments and serious moments? How do you create all of that on the spot?”

What she told me was that it’s all about trust.

Continue reading Being Present with the Unknown: Shabbat D’var Vayikra

JFVVI establishes emergency pandemic relief fund

JFVVI EPRFundThe JFVVI has established an Emergency Pandemic Relief Fund to provide as much help as possible for members of the Vancouver Island Jewish Community who are facing financial challenges as a result of the coronavirus/COVID19 pandemic. The fund will be administered by Jewish Family Services of Vancouver Island.

Donations received before April 6, 2020 will be generously matched by the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island
as part of their Pandemic Emergency Response Plan.

JFSVI will purchase gift cards from Aubergine Specialty Foods and mail them to any household that is in difficulty at this time of the Coronavirus closures.

Please donate online or send cheques to: Jewish Family Services VI JCC, 3636 Shelbourne Street, Victoria, BC V8P 4H2.

JFSVI collects Ma’ot Ḥitim – or “wheat money”

90462847_2799300823458537_6275698207372607488_nMa’ot itim – or “wheat money” is the traditional practice of Jewish communities that collect money to help cover the cost of Matzah for those in need. This custom was mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud more than 1600 years ago.

As our tradition continues, Jewish Family Service of Vancouver Island (JFSVI) is asking you to kindly donate to help the needy amongst us to be able to fulfill the mitzvah of Passover. JFSVI will purchase gift cards from Aubergine Specialty Foods and mail them to any household that is in difficulty at this time of the Coronavirus closures.

Please donate online or send your cheques to

Jewish Family Services VI JCC, 3636 Shelbourne Street, Victoria, BC V8P 4H2.


How is this Pesach Market different?

Pesach Market - photo

The Congregation Emanuel Pesach Market is keeping up with the times and therefore it is going to be different than we expected. Please read further to understand what this means.

The simple story is that there will be NO personal shopping. You will submit an order and will either schedule a pick up outside the Shul or have it delivered to you.

We are very happy to say that we have most of the usual items which you enjoy during Pesaḥ. You will see on the order form that we have a number of different kinds of matzah, including gluten free, gefilte fish in jars and frozen, horseradish, macaroons, chocolate, jams, candles, frozen cheese cake and blintzes. You are encouraged to read the list very carefully so as to not miss one of your favourites!

We regret that we are not able to supply frozen poultry, Osem Matzah or Soup Mix, Bamba or kosher l’Pesaḥ dairy products this year. Please note that if an item is not on the list, we don’t have it!

This is how the 2020 Pesach Market is going to work:

How you will submit an order: Download and complete this form. It is a fillable pdf. (In order to complete and email the form you MUST download this form. The form as viewed in the link is not fillable. Use the download symbol in the upper right to download the document. Complete the form and email it to Leah Levi: using envelope on toolbar at top of screen. If you wish to make an order over the phone, please call Leah at 250 370 1246, with the form in front of you for reference.

How will you pay: by cheque made out to Congregation Emanuel or by e-transfer to We will supply the possible questions for the e-transfer. We will not accept cash. You will indicate on the order form how you will pay.

How will you get your order: you will indicate on the form how you wish to receive the order, and once it is packed, we will notify you of the cost, and when to pick it up or when it will be delivered. No one will be entering the shul – pick up will be in front of the shul.

Volunteers will be working hard to ensure that everyone gets what they order. Orders will be filled in the same order as they are received. We expect to sometimes have to use our discretion as to how many of one item we can sell to one household.

We ask for your patience as we endeavour to ensure that every one of you is looked after as best as we can.

Our Simcha Gift Shop has some Pesaḥ supplies such as haggadot and seder plates. Information about how to order will be coming. You will be able to pick up your Simcha order at the same time as your Pesach Market products, although you will pay separately.

Thank you so much for supporting educational programs in Congregation Emanu-El Hebrew School.

Leah Levi & the Hebrew School Families


JFVVI Grants and Scholarships

JFVVI 2019Deadline is April 30, 2020 at 11:59 pm—The Jewish Federation of Victoria & Vancouver Island (JFVVI) Grants and Scholarships forms for allocations have been revised for the 2020 application period.  Please read the forms carefully and note the new email address on the form for queries and submission of your application.  Guidelines for each funding program are contained in the forms. Application forms for all three of JFVVI’s funding programs are now available. Continue reading JFVVI Grants and Scholarships