Zachor Remembrance Wall

Deadline September 15 – As we approach the High Holidays it is a time to wish family and friends a Sweet, Happy and Healthy New Year.
We also take the time to remember loved ones that are no longer with us.
The Zachor committee invites everyone to consider honouring the memory of a loved one on our wall of Remembrance in our cemetery. This is especially meant for people not buried in the Jewish cemetery. Once we have 10 new names we’ll do the inscriptions and have a dedication ceremony at the Wall.

Located within a natural Garry Oak meadow, our historic Jewish Cemetery of Victoria is filled with eclectic headstones and graves dating from 1861 and also is the home of the Shoah/Holocaust Memorial of Victoria. We are offering a special opportunity to inscribe, in English and/or Hebrew, the names of loved ones not buried in our Cemetery into the Zachor Remembrance Wall and to include them in the Cemetery website.

What will this cost?

5 – 10 characters$58026 – 35 character$785
11 – 25 characters$68536 – 60 characters$885

English and/or Hebrew characters can be used.
Deadline to order is September 15, 2022.

What will I get for this contribution to the Victoria Jewish Cemetery?

Names will be engraved into the stone of the Zachor wall. Letters will be ≈0.75 in/1.9 cm high. Placement will be assigned on the wall, taking into account the number of words to be engraved and the size of the various stones. Family names purchased at the same time will be engraved in the same location with ≈0.75 in/1.9 cm spacing between lines.

Transliterated Hebrew names can be included on the order form (attached below), and the final Hebrew will be confirmed with the purchaser before engraving. We will post a photograph and a 500 word submission about the people memorialized on the Cemetery website’s Zachor wall section. Please provide a suitable scanned image and text to:

Engravings will be carried out in groups of ten, so there may be a period of time between the purchase of the engraving and when it actually will be done. You will be invited to a ceremony at the cemetery after the engraving of the names are completed.

A receipt for any tax-deductible amount in your payment (up to the total $400 contribution) will be sent to you in February following the end of the calendar year in which the payment is made.

The Zachor wall does not replace the Yizkor plaques in the historic sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El, which also include dates, and which are illuminated during appropriate times during the Jewish calendar year.

Summary of event details

A Thank-You Kiddush

Shabbat August 13, 10:00 a.m. – As a gesture of thanks to Congregation Emanu-El, Susan Glass is sponsoring a kiddush after the service on 13 August. All are welcome!
Susan’s daughter, Sarah Boivin, is leaving Victoria and moving to Montreal.
13 August is the first time Sarah will be davening Shacharit. Please come share the ruach and take this time to chat with Sarah and wish her well.

Summary of event details

  • Date: August 13, 2022
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Where: Emanu-El Sanctuary
  • Cost: n/a
  • Registration: n/a
  • Contact: n/a

2022 Tish’ah Be’Av

Saturday August 6, 8:00 p.m. – Services to be held in-person in the Sanctuary.

Tish’ah Be’Av – the ninth day of the month of Av – marks moments of destruction in Jewish history. It is the date that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. This is the day that marks the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 as well as many other tragedies that have befallen our people.

There is a teaching in Talmud, in Tractate Yoma, that the Second Temple was destroyed by sin’at ḥinam– baseless hatred. We are entering Tish’ah Be’Av this year at a time of war, a time of suffering and a time of anxiety. Join with your congregation in commemorating Tish’ah Be’Av in a spirit of ḥesed ḥinam—free-flowing love.

Tish’ah Be’Av falls on Saturday night (August 6). We will begin with evening services, the chanting of Eikhah (Lamentations) followed by traditional liturgical poems of a yearning for Jerusalem rebuilt. Services will begin at 8:00 p.m. (Note: Shabbat ends 9:37 p.m.)

May this season of escalating tensions and violence soon end. “May we see a day when war and bloodshed cease and humankind will not again know war.” May our prayers and commitment to ḥesed ḥinam lead on towards that day.

Summary of event details

Housing Presentation

Housing as a Human Right means Housing for All.
Time to make this a reality, not just a slogan

August 9, 7:30 p.m. – Join Emanu-El’s Avodah and GVAT’s Affordable Housing team, as we hear how GVAT has been engaging with member organizations to establish housing priorities and needs, and the achievable solutions it has been developing.

The presentation is a work in progress. Come be part of the process, for – in its final form – it will be the basis of GVAT’s campaign and the ASKS, to be made of candidates and politicians prior to the Elections

Join the Zoom discussion at

Summary of event details

Sarah & Ella Bookman are B’nei Mitzvah!

Saturday July 30Ann and Aron Bookman are pleased to invite you to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah x2 of their wonderful daughters, Sarah and Ella, on Shabbat Matot-Mas’ey, Saturday July 30, 10:00AM to 1:00PM. If you are not comfortable with a larger than usual gathering in the Sanctuary, please join us on Zoom. We look forward to seeing you!

Summary of event details

  • Date: July 30, 2022
  • Time: 10:00AM – 1:00PM
  • Where: Sanctuary & Social Hall, Zoom

COVID Health Tips

COVID-19 continues to circulate in Victoria. Everyone has a role to play to reduce the spread. The actions you take will protect you, loved ones and those most vulnerable in our community. As we live with COVID-19, we can layer our protection with some simple steps:

  • Stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses for the best protection against getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Staying up to date with your vaccinations gives you stronger hybrid immunity, even if you have had a recent COVID-19 infection.
  • Socialize outdoors when possible – outdoors is lower risk than indoors.
  • Wear a high quality, well-fitting mask, especially indoors, and based on the setting and situation. Masks are strongly recommended in indoor public settings, and especially if you are around people who are at higher risk or have a health condition.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • If you have symptoms, get tested and treated if you are eligible.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Choose well ventilated spaces when possible.
  • Reduce or limit the number of people you have close contact with, especially indoors.
  • Keep a physical distance when possible, especially indoors.

CEE Refugee Family Project Update

Thanks to all those whose generous contributions have helped us reach halfway to our goal. We have a donor who has offered to match all donations made by July 31st.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the CEE Refugee Family Project through the donation button at, by phoning the synagogue office at 250-382-0615 or by mail to: Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard St., Victoria BC V8W 2J3.

Please ensure “Refugee Family T82” is in the memo line of any cheque you write.
If there are funds left over at the end of this process, they will be used to help other refugees in keeping with ICA’s rules.
Please email us at with any questions or offers to help.

For more information on the CEE Refugee Family Project, please read our previous article.

Summary of event details

CEE Refugee Family Project Update

CEE is Bringing a Second Syrian Refugee Family to Safety in Victoria.
This family of six, with four children ages seven and under, are UNHCR-registered Syrian refugees currently living in Southeast Asia, where they have been for several years. Conditions for the refugees there are not great as you can imagine. Their UNHCR registration allows them to apply to live in Canada and with CEE’s support the sponsorship committee are applying on their behalf.

As a result of the efforts of our refugee sponsorship committee the family is also included in Victoria’s Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) quota for immigrant status for refugees. This means they can be part of the 2022 Canadian government quota of sponsored refugee families. They will be the second family that Congregation Emanu-El has supported in this way.

We need to raise another $30,000 by October 31, to meet the minimum costs for government sponsorship, which are based on family size. This amount must be deposited prior to final approval of the sponsorship application. We have had a generous offer of $5000 in matching funds for incoming donations. We are looking for other donors willing to add to a pool of matching funds.

We have a team who are working with the family to complete their immigration paperwork. Our committee includes a number of shul members (including a couple of members of the previous CEE sponsorship committee) and others from the wider Jewish community. We have already raised over $21,000 and want to thank all of you who have already generously donated to help us reach our goal of bringing them to Victoria. This includes money that was used to pay for the birth of their youngest child who was born late last year. He had some significant medical problems at birth and these have fortunately mostly resolved.

Before they left Syria the family were in significant danger due to the civil war there. Their car was blown up and their apartment building was shelled. Fortunately both parents have professional backgrounds, so we are confident they will manage to establish themselves successfully in Canada when they finally arrive. The mom is a teacher so has been focussing on helping the older children get some education as best she can. The dad is currently doing odd jobs to try to keep the family afloat financially.

The alternative of returning to Syria would be extremely dangerous for them, especially since the father had been personally targeted before he left. This sense of having your family being at grave risk is very familiar to many of us whose families left Europe in similar circumstances going back several generations.

Many refugee families have already successfully been through this process with the help of local faith communities and other groups. We cannot wait to meet this courageous young family, as they exit the airport at Victoria International in about three years time. We welcome all those interested in this project to join us in our efforts.

As committee chair this feels like an opportunity for me to pass on the help and support my then thirteen-year-old father, my grandparents and my aunt Ruth received, in order to leave Nazi Germany and arrive safely in London to start their new lives. Without that crucial assistance, my brothers, cousins and I would most likely never have been born.

In addition to donations, we are also looking for volunteers who would be willing to join the team working on fundraising activities. We will be organizing some concerts and an auction in the coming months with other fundraising plans to come. We will eventually also be providing the practical help the family will need with resettlement, on their arrival in Victoria. We will be most grateful for any help you can give to enable this family to arrive safety in Canada.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the CEE Refugee Family Project through the donation button at here, by phoning the synagogue office at 250-382-0615 or by mail to: Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard St., Victoria BC V8W 2J3.

Please ensure “Refugee Family T82” is in the memo line of any cheque you write.
If there are funds left over at the end of this process, they will be used to help other refugees in keeping with ICA’s rules.
Please email us at with any questions or offers to help.

Summary of event details

MAZEL TOV! Exhibit

Mazel Tov!

A new exhibit opened in the social hall with the theme of B’nei Mitzvah. The rainbow of kippot fills the showcase with colour, along with the visual treat of photos, gifts, and related memorabilia. Who can guess which photo is THIS year’s class? We hope everyone can visit soon. There is a photo wall on the outside of the case, if you are interested in adding to it, please contact Dena through the Office. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Summary of event details

  • Date: Opened December 17, 2022
  • Where: Congregation Emanu-El Social Hall
  • Contact: Dena Gelfand via Synagogue Office; 250-382-0615

Adult B’nei Mitzvah Program

Starts Tuesday January 11, 2022 – Come take a deep dive into Jewish literacy and practice.  This program will combine classroom learning and discussion with workshops on central Jewish topics culminating in a personal ceremony and celebration.

The Goal of the program is for students to experience:

  •  Making meaning from Jewish sacred text
  • Gaining a sense of the scope of Jewish History
  • Understanding the spiritual meaning within Jewish lifecycle rituals
  • Unpacking the deeper meanings found within the Jewish calendar cycle
  • Surveying Jewish ethics and values
  • Finding meaning and beauty within Jewish liturgy and developing a personal practice
  • Exploring topics and issues within Jewish theology and philosophy

The course will run for 20 sessions, roughly twice a month on Tuesday evenings beginning on 11 January.  Beyond class attendance, participants will be expected to attend Shabbat services at least once a month, and there will be occasional projects and journaling.

The course will meet in-person when possible, but Zoom will remain an option for those who prefer this.

If you never had the opportunity to have a B’nei Mitzvah experience or if you want to have this experience in a more personalized and deep way from an adult perspective, this course is for you!  

This course is available only to Emanu-El members and is free of charge.

To register contact

Summary of event details

  • Dates: January 11, 2022 for 20 sessions, roughly twice a month
  • Where: In-person or by Zoom
  • Cost: Free; only available to Congregation Emanu-El members
  • Registration and information: