Zachor Remembrance Wall Dedication

Sunday, October 17, 2021, at 3:30 pmThe Cemetery Committee and the Friends of the Jewish Cemetery invite the community to the dedication on Sunday, October 17, 2021, at 3:30 pm of the new Zachor Remembrance Wall in Congregation Emanu-El’s cemetery on Cedar Hill Road. The wall provides a place where the names of loved ones not buried in our historic cemetery may be inscribed in their memory. Pre-registration is not required but appropriate COVID-19 safety measures will be observed on site. For information on how you can honour a loved one on the wall, or you may contact the Office at 250-382-0615 or

VIJFF Opens with its Virtual Program

Saturday October 16, 2021, at 7 :30 pm—The Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) opens at 7:30 pm on Saturday, October 16, 2021, with a virtual program of three shorts and four feature-length films (all available until October 23, 2021):

  • Here We Are, a humorous, heartwarming story about an Israeli father and his autistic son.
  • They Ain’t Ready for Me, a documentary about a female African-American rabbinical student’s efforts to make her Chicago neighbourhood safer (with an online interview with the film’s director on October 21, 2021 at 7 pm).
  • Winter Journey, with Bruno Ganz in his last performance as a Jewish German father sharing his recollections of his past with his son.
  • Whispers of Silence, an innovative, albeit weighty Mexican documentary about intergenerational trauma among the families of Holocaust survivors (with an online discussion with the film’s directors and other panelists on October 19, 2021 at 7pm).

VIJFF continues in the Vic Theatre on Sunday, October 17, 2021, with two feature-length films:

  • The Crossing, a family film about the journey to safety of two Jewish Norwegian children and the two Christian children who assist them in Sweden during WWII—Screening at 1 pm (and online from 8 am–8 pm).
  • Neighbours, a film, rich in humanism and humour, about a Kurdish boy and his uncle in Syria and their relationship with their Jewish neighbours through time and tyrannies—Screening at 4 pm.
  • Breaking Bread, a mouth-watering documentary about the Jewish and Palestinian chefs who gather in Haifa for a celebration of food and culture.

VIJFF presents its closing film on Sunday, October 24, 2021, at 4 pm in the Vic Theatre: Ticketing is by donation. For more information…

Isa Milman Launches her Memoir

Sunday, October 17, 2021, 2–3 pm PDTIsa Milman invites you to the launch of her memoir Afterlight: In search of Poetry, History, and Home, on Sunday, October 17, 2021 from 2-3 pm PDT. This will be a free, virtual event hosted by professor/journalist Lynne Van Luven and registration is required. Register here to receive the livestream link. Isa looks forward to your attending, and celebrating this special event with her. Please feel free to share this among your friends.

To Sefarad and Beyond: Dr. Judith Cohen

The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 7 pm with Dr. Judith Cohen discussing To Sefarad and Beyond, A Personal Journey. The talk will take place on Zoom. In an informal interview with moderator Carol Sokoloff, Dr. Cohen shares her personal tales of a journey which took her from her youth in Montreal to the land of Spain and beyond.

Dr. Cohen writes, “Fifty years ago I crossed the border into Spain on the lumbering old train from France, with one small bag and a dictionary. The word Sefarad was not yet in my vocabulary. I was part of the 60s folk revival, sang French Canadian and Yiddish songs, and played classical clarinet. I had been to the-then-Yugoslavia and loved the music—but had no knowledge of Spain or Spanish anything. This is an informal account of how I got from there to here, with songs and stories—and Carol’s and all of your questions!”

Dr. Judith Cohen of York University is an acclaimed ethnomusicologist and performer specializing in Sephardic music, also known as Judeo-Spanish or Ladino song. In Sephardic music we hear the tales of so many times and places from the well-remembered culture of Spain to the various lands Jews settled in after their expulsion in 1492.

You won’t want to miss this fascinating conversation which examines the questions of what makes Sephardic music so universally appealing, and how it has survived through centuries and numerous.

Send a note to register for this and all the Journeys in Jewish Music series. All are welcome and the talks are free of charge thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

  • Join online: CLICK HERE
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 958 9049 0481
  • Passcode: 333095

Calling All Artists 2021: Exhibition

What happens when Midrash is not generated by the sages of the distant past but by contemporary artists? This is the question, posed by Rabbi Harry, that served as the basis for this year’s Calling All Artists—a program that has run every year since 2005. This year, in the middle of a pandemic, the project was even more meaningful although its format was more unusual. Eighteen artists, using various media, gathered on Zoom to explore Torah as it relates to Hope, Faith and Prayer.

For the artists, it was a way of working with Rabbi Harry on braiding a spiritual lifeline during a time of isolation and fear. Their work—sculpture, ceramics, paintings, prayer flags, poetry bowls, and more—are on the walls of the Social Hall, where they will be until the end of November 2021. You can view the exhibit Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, by appointment.

As Rabbi Harry says in his introduction to the project’s chapbook, “In many ways the sages of now are artists; open, courageous, creative seekers of truth and beauty, and conduits to understanding universal essence.” This beautiful little book, called A Light in Dark Times contains photographs of all the artists’ work, with their comments about the creative process that brought their art to life. They are for sale, at $7—a real deal! Ask at the office to purchase your own copy, as a memento of the 2021 Calling All Artists, or a gift.

Support our Youth Group as they Do the Loop for youth

Sunday, September 26, 2021Congregation Emanu-El Youth Group invites you to support and/or join them on Sunday, September 26, 2021 when they will saddle up for Threshold Housing Society’s Do the Loop bike/walk/run fundraiser. Our Youth Group, under the guidance of their coordinator Adele Mark, will bike around Victoria to raise money for Threshold Society, which provides safe housing and services for youth at risk of homelessness. Want to donate to our Youth Group team? Click here! 

The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing

Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom—The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm with broadcaster Andy Muchin as he explores the delightful Yiddish singing group, The Barry Sisters and the revival of what was known as Yiddish Swing.

The Barry Sisters—Claire and Merna—were early stars of this style, and their lively renditions outlasted the swing craze and reenergized Yiddish song in the Americas. With their sweet, tight harmonies and consummate artistry, the sisters performed on radio and television, at nightclubs, and on concert stages for some 35 years including a 1959 US friendship tour of the Soviet Union as star performers. The Barry Sisters recorded mostly, Yiddish songs on numerous 78 rpm discs and LPs.

Not only will this presentation explore the Barry Sisters’ brilliant career during and after Yiddish Swing, it will also take a toe-tapping detour through some of the best Yiddish swing recordings from artists as diverse as klezmer clarinetist, Dave Tarras, and jazz singer/songwriter Slim Gaillard.

Andy Muchin has hosted the weekly Sounds Jewish radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and since 2010. He has written about Jewish music for Forward newspaper, Moment Magazine, and other publications.

All are welcome to attend this exciting Zoom presentation for free, thanks to the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI). To register (and receive full information) on this and the other sessions this fall please send us a note.

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 961 0251 7947
Passcode: 657412

Not There Yet: A Brief History of the Struggle for Civil Liberties in Israel

Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 7 pm—Francis Landy invites you to a virtual salon for the New Israel Fund (NIF) on Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 7 pm. Ben Murane, Executive Director, NIF Canada will speak about the struggle for human and civil rights in Israel. Contact Francis to obtain a link for this session.

Side by Side Exhibit

Opening Saturday, October 2, 2021Side by Side is a retrospective exhibit of unsold artwork—paintings, collages, photographs, and letter poems by Brian Saunders & Jackie Saunders-Ritchie—in their art studio in the back garden at 2716 Thompson Avenue, Oak Bay. The show opens on Saturday, October 2, 1–5 pm and continues Tuesday, October 3–5, 12-4 pm. For more information contact Jackie.

Antiracism & Equity Working Group Update

The Antiracism & Equity Working Group had a great meeting with Carmel Tanaka who self-defines as a queer, “Jewpanese” (Jewish and Japanese Canadian) woman of colour. Carmel is a former director of UVic Hillel and remains a huge fan of the Victoria Jewish community—and of Congregation Emanu-El, and Rabbi Harry, in particular. A community engagement professional, Carmel founded JQT Vancouver, a Jewish queer and trans nonprofit, and was named one of Be’chol Lashon’s“7 LGBTQ+ Jews of Color You Should Know”. You can check out Carmel and her fantastic work here. We had a terrific conversation about antiracism and equity work focusing on outreach, relationship building, partnership opportunities, action, and ongoing community reflection within the Jewish community.

Moving forward, we want to ensure that our group membership is representative of the rich, diverse, and multiple identities of the community—including Jews of Colour, Jews with disabilities, LGBTQ+* Jews, Jews in interfaith relationships and Jewish Adjacent People (people who are not Jewish but are in families or relationships with Jewish people), Teens, Jews by choice, Working class people, Singles, New members of our community, Single parents, People new to Judaism, People who do not have or do not plan on having children, and People who only come to our community a couple times of year.

If you identify with any or several of the categories above, and are open to considering joining us in whatever capacity you have time and energy for, please email Ilana at

Lastly, please note the excellent “Learning Together Tuesday” sessions offered in partnership by Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT) and the Society of the Friend’s St. Ann’s Academy (SFSAA).

*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning) and others