Ancient Astrology: Fatalist or Optimist

Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7 pm—The Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education team invites you to a presentation Ancient Astrology: Fatalist or Optimist by Rabbi Matt Ponak on Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7 pm.

Does Judaism teach that our lives are determined by the stars? Did it ever? The answer is not so simple. While Jewish teachings greatly value free will, the word mazal, as in “Mazal Tov,” literally means “constellation”. At one point, to wish someone “mazal tov,” meant to wish them good fortune under the influence of the astrological signs. So what does Judaism say about astrology? Join Rabbi Matt Ponak as he explores Talmudic stories and teachings of how Jews were and were not subject to the fate of the heavens.

Rabbi Matt Ponak is a musician, teacher, and lover of life. He serves as the Education Director and Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Emanu-El. Rabbi Matt has studied with many of this generation’s leading teachers of Jewish mysticism including Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, R. Arthur Green, R. Zvi Ish-Shalom, R. Tirzah Firestone, and R. Rami Shapiro. Also holding an MA in Contemplative Religions from the Buddhist-inspired Naropa University, Rabbi Matt weaves world wisdom with ancient Jewish insights. His upcoming book, “Torah for the New Age,” translates and comments on Jewish mystical texts that resonate with the consciousness and yearnings of our times.

The presentation will be on Zoom.

To join online, CLICK HERE

To join by phone: 1 778 907 2071; Meeting ID: 839 1579 8300; Passcode: 446221

Donations to our Adult Education fund are always welcome. You may donate ONLINE or through the office at info@congregationemanuel.ca.

Why not give Mysterious Moses a try?

Come join us for Mysterious Moses, a super fun game (aka Gamadim and Anakim 5781), and spread light all through the eight nights of Ḥanukkah and stay connected through these dark COVID-19 days.
 
Leah Levi ran the game over Sukkot, calling it Gamadim and Anakim—some comments from players:
“It was fun to be part of a real-life community-based activity! We had fun thinking up small gifts to bring delight to our Gamadim. Of course it was fun to receive gifts too! We will certainly participate again during Ḥanukkah.” Katie S.
“This game was fun and rewarding. We felt the joy of secretly delivering small gifts, being spoiled in return and finding we made new connections. We can’t wait to play the game again.”Alexandre CW
 
Everyone who wishes to play for Ḥanukkah should register by Friday, December 4, 2020 at the latest, CLICK HERE for registration form…
 
How it works: Once registered, Leah will twin each family/person with another family/person, the idea being to anonymously gift your twin with small things. It could be one or more gifts, given at one or more times, in different ways. It can be something you’ve made like a pot of jam, cookies, a candle, a possession you’re gifting or a little thing you’ve bought. To deliver, you can use the postal service, another person, or find a way to deliver it yourself.

GVAT Forum – WHY we should engage…

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at  7:00 pm on Zoom—Rabbi Harry invites you to participate in a special zoom GVAT (Greater Victoria Acting Together) forum for Emanu-El Congregants. The goal of this forum is to acquaint congregants with GVAT’s purposes and activities and to inform them about the opportunities that GVAT provides Emanu-El for tikkun olam. The speakers at this forum will include Chet Phillips, GVAT Lead Organizer and the Congregation Emanu-El members who participate in GVAT Action Research Teams. Find the ways to join Rabbi Harry below:

Join online: CLICK HERE…

Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071 Meeting ID: 890 6466 8356 Password: 649002

The purpose of this Forum is to highlight the importance of GVAT’s work, particularly given the damaged and fragmented state of our world today and our own forthcoming election. It will highlight the necessity of ensuring an active and committed Jewish voice in GVAT’s processes and procedures. We were once a lead voice in Faith in Action, with your help we can take up a similar role in GVAT. We owe it to our tradition, to our community, to ourselves and our kids, not to mention grandkids – they deserve a future, whatever that future may look like, where safety and security continues to be a given.

Our tradition tells us we do not need to complete the task of repairing the world, tikkun olam, but we are obligated to contribute to its repair. That has always been CE-E’s tradition. Indeed our very own Bernice z”l, a campaigner for justice like no other, has that call inscribed on her headstone “Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue”.

Our world is on fire, recently in the very real sense of the Americas, from the wetlands of the Pantanal and the Amazon rainforest all the way up to the State of Washington. On fire also, in the more metaphorical sense, from the ubiquitous injustice and inequality we see around us, to the South of us and across all the world’s continents, from homelessness to systemic racism, from mental health to the migration of peoples, brought on by war, conflict and climate change.

What I am saying will resonate with those of you who, like me, were privileged to hear Rabbi Harry’s drash on Yom KippurHineni! Let us make a Rosh Hashanah 5781 pledge to join in the October Forum on GVAT where we will discover how a good Jewish boy, (a lawyer called Saul Alinsky) in the Chicago of the 30s, was able to vastly improve the lives of so many and to found an international organization dedicated to the pursuit of justice, through his actions, his philosophy and his writings. That organization is still active today and GVAT is a part of it.

Remember, we’re “The Little Shul That Could”. As members of Emanu-El, you are already members of GVAT; let’s join together to ensure an active and engaged Jewish voice in formulating and pursuing GVAT’s goals. Join the Forum and check out GVAT’s web site to find out more.

If you’re interested, please contact Ruthi W., either directly or through the office.

Jewish Cemetery Tour

Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm RSVP required … Fraternal organizations were an important part of community life in early Victoria. With the help of Mark Anderson and Diana Pedersen, Amber Woods (author of the OCS’s publication Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery), will tell stories of the Jewish Freemasons and Woodmen of the World buried here. Meet at main gates Fernwood Road at corner of Cedar Hill Road. Men, please wear a hat.

Cost is $2 for members of the Old Cemeteries Society and $5 for non-members.

COVID-19 Protocols for Old Cemetery Society’s tours for safety:
1.     Social distancing will be required.
2.     Masks are optional.
3.     Maximum capacity of this tour will be 20 people.

Registration is required. Space will be filled on a first come first serve basis. A second tour at 3:30 pm will be offered if needed. Please send an email with your name, contact information and number in your party attending to oldcem@pacificcoast.net. Please put Jewish Cemetery Tour in the subject line.

Copies of the Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery will be available for purchase outside of the cemetery. Please bring cash or a check made out to Old Cemeteries Society.  Books are also available at Simcha Gift Shop at Congregation Emanu-El, Munro’s and Bolen Books.

Concerned about racism, climate change, public health, affordable housing…?

GVAT revised
If you are concerned about racism, climate change, public health, worker’s rights, affordable housing, colonialism, mental health, a just recovery…—here’s help getting organized! Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT) is offering leadership training in a series of sessions on June 30, July 2, 7, 9, and 14 from 10 am – 12 pm.

What will you learn?

Continue reading Concerned about racism, climate change, public health, affordable housing…?

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 www.jfsvi.ca 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 www.jfsvi.ca or send your cheques to

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

 

JFVVI Grants and Scholarships deadline extended

JFVVI 2019The deadline is extended to May 31, 2020 at 11:59 pmThe 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 deadline extended

Help Save a Life!

Canadian Blood Services

This month, Canadian Blood Services is asking members of the Congregation Emanu-El to take the time and help save a life by making an appointment to donate blood at our Victoria Donation Centre at 3449 Saanich Rd in Victoria.

Blood donation? I’ve always thought of doing that but haven’t done it!  How do I get involved? Well, the process itself is actually very simple, it only takes about 1 hour to donate, and you get FREE juice and cookies at the end of your donation. All you need to do is check to make sure you’re eligible to donate, and then visit www.blood.ca to make an appointment! You can check your eligibility by taking a quick quiz by clicking HERE. One of the easiest ways to get started is to come together as a group to donate, there’s nothing better than supporting your friends and family during a donation. Contact bookagroupbc@blood.ca or verna.chow@blood.ca to book your group or for more information on how to get organized!

As a bonus, this month, Browns Social House is offering a $5 voucher for anyone who comes in during the month of March, redeemable at their UPTOWN or the Victoria West locations as a special “THANK YOU” to our donors! There’s no better time to donate.
As if that’s not enough reasons to give already, we know that our hospital patients are always 100% dependent on volunteers like YOU to help save lives. Here are some reasons to give, what will yours be?

  1.  It can take up to 50 donations to help save the life of a car crash victim.
  2. It can take up to 8 donations PER WEEK to help save the life of a leukemia patient.
  3. 50% of Canadians will need blood or know someone who will.
  4. 50% of Canadians are eligible to donate but only 1/60 ever will.
  5. We need 112,000 NEW donors EACH YEAR.

Zigzag’s Irish Adventure

Zig Zag Irish Adventure 1000Join Congregation Emanu-El member, Noa Paster on an Irish adventure this weekend. Performing music from Ireland and around the world on fiddle, piano, harp & in song, Noa is joined by two friends for her own musical, theatrical St. Patrick’s Day review. The show is an all ages show, 40 minutes long. Tickets at www.eventbrite.ca.  All shows are at Skam Satellite Studio 849 Fort Street.