Congregation Emanu-El will have a Pesaḥ Market!

With Purim upon us, it must be time to speak about Pesaḥ! The annual Pesaḥ Market at Congregation Emanu-El will happen. We will have our usual products: matzah & matzah products, (including gluten free), jarred & frozen gefilte fish, jams, grape juice, lots of sweets and blintzes, candles, and some Israeli products such as olives, pickles, spices, bamba and bissli.
The “how” of our Pesaḥ Market will be a lot like last year: you will complete an order form and your completed order will either be delivered or you will pick it up at the shul at a designated time. We expect the orders to be ready for distribution about a week before Pesaḥ begins.
Keep your eye on this space next week for the order form and further plans. We are very excited to be bringing Pesaḥ to your homes despite the uncharted waters we are still living in.
Please call Leah Levi at (250) 370-1246, if you have any questions. Thank you for supporting Jewish education at Congregation Emanu-El.

CNOY! Avodah did it!

I am elated to let you know that our Avodah team raised $6942 for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) campaign (more than double what we raised last year) and the third highest amount raised by the 58 Victoria teams. This impressive result is due to the outstanding enthusiasm exhibited by the team members every step of the way and the wonderful generosity of our 124 sponsors!  It was most gratifying to see the heartfelt, generous support of our congregation and community for Our Place, our neighbours down the street. And, as heartening as it was to see the money raised, equally gratifying was the joyful time we had doing this together. 

Here are some photos showing members of our Avodah team on our COVID-19 compliant, Coldest Night of the Year walk on February 20, 2021 in aid of Our Place, the  place of “hope and belonging” for so many in need in our city. Because of COVID-19, our team members couldn’t all walk together this year  but we were very much together in spirit!
With sincere thanks to those who contributed to making this important social action such a success and wonderful experience.
Penny Tennenhouse
Avodah CNOY Team Leader

Rabbi Harry talks about Death and Dying

Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 7 pm on Zoom—Congregation Emanu-El invites you to join us on Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 7 pm on Zoom when Rabbi Harry will talk about Death and Dying. He will explore questions such as “Do Jews believe in heaven and hell”, “What does Judaism say about reincarnation and life after death”, and “What does Jewish burial and mourning ritual have to teach us about life and death?” Join Rabbi Harry in an exploration and survey of Jewish mystical texts and halakhah (Jewish law) with the goal of gaining new insight into death and dying and understanding the tremendous wisdom inherent in Jewish mourning practice.

About Rabbi Brechner

Rabbi Harry Brechner has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanu-El in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia for the past 19 years. He is involved with various social action projects and outreach to marginal and vulnerable folk in Victoria and is a strong supporter of multi-faith, multi-cultural dialogue. With a background in early childhood education and child development, Rabbi Harry has worked both as a pre-school teacher and a special educator. Some of his sundry experiences include commercial fishing in Alaska, trail maintenance in the Northeast corner of the Cascade Mountains, tying re-bar on construction sites in Seattle. He has also served as a combat medic in the Israel Defense Forces. Rabbi Harry is a mediator and spiritual seeker who also makes a great kosher gumbo and jambalaya.

For information and the Zoom link contact Donations to our Adult Education fund are always welcome. You may donate ONLINE or through the office at

Havdalah B’yaḥad (Together)

Motza’ei Shabbat—Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 7 pm—Come join us for a beautiful and uplifting havdalah virtual gathering. Let’s bring the joy and light of Shabbat into our week—with alluring music, ritual and meaningful Torah learning.
Learn about havdalah ritual objects and how you can make your own to use at our next gathering. Sustain a touchstone for connecting with community and friends and bring blessings into all our lives. Looking forward to sharing Torah, blessings, and joy with all of you.
Rabbi Harry

  • Join online: CLICK HERE
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 831 6969 0162
  • Passcode: 114763

Bēma presents The Wendy Chronicles

Bēma Productions invites you to a reading of a captivating new play by Karen Fix Curry about a remarkable woman, The Wendy Chronicles, directed by Zelda Dean with Christine Upright performing as Wendy Wasserstein. The live performance will be available on Zoom on Sunday, March 7 at 2 pm PST and Wednesday, March 10 at 7 pm PST. The play lasts for about an hour. You are welcome to stay & chat with Karen, Zelda and Christine following the reading.   

Wendy Wasserstein, writer of The Heidi Chronicles,  and the first woman to win a Tony for Best Play and the Pulitzer for play writing, comes to life with humor, shining a light on her goal of creating real women in plays, with all their problems and frustrations. She gave a voice to the emerging women’s movement at the second half of the 20th century. The Wendy Chronicles is Wendy’s own remarkable life story as told by Wendy herself, in the style of her award winning play. It’s all about choices, because you can’t really have it all!

  • To attend a live performance on March 7 at 2 pm PST or March 10 at 7 pm PST CLICK here
  • The recorded performance will be streamed on YouTube March 11 – 14, 2021 at this CHANNEL…

Bēma appreciates donations ($10.00 is welcome).  CLICK HERE to donate.

Finding Joy in an Upside Down World

Megillah reading, Thursday, February 25, 7 pm, Shaḥarit with Megillah reading, Friday, February 26, 8 am—Please join Congregation Emanu-El on Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 7 pm for a night of animated and joyous Megillah reading, and the opportunity to swap the medical masks for some real masquerading and colourful costumes. We’ll share some of your Purim-Shpiels throughout the evening. Let your wild and crazy side emerge. Feel free to dine on delicious appies, hamantaschen, or other food and drink, with your family (or social bubble). Let’s reclaim and celebrate joy in a world turned upside down. All are welcome.

Continue reading Finding Joy in an Upside Down World

Coldest Night of the Year: 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021This year, the Coldest Night of the Year walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger will be a covid-safe and family-friendly one. Our Avodah members will walk independently or in their own “approved by Bonnie” bubbles,  to raise money in support of Our Place. Don’t let this fundraiser succumb to COVID-19! 

If you  would like to support the Avodah initiative, please go to the Coldest Night of the Year website where you can donate to the Avodah team.  You are welcome to contact Penny Tennenhouse at if you would like any further information. 

Secret Miracles: Jewish Themes in Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, February 21, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom—Expanding on his earlier talk, Professor Dan Russek will focus on the work of the iconic author, Argentine Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). Though not a Jew, Borges was drawn to Jewish literature, culture and religion since an early age, and his work constantly refers to Jewish themes. Russek will engage in close readings of emblematic texts with particular reference to Borges’ ideas on the Kabbalah, the short stories El milagro secreto, (The Secret Miracle), La muerte y la brújula (Death and the Compass), Deutsches Requiem, Emma Zunz, and El Aleph, and poems such as Spinoza and El Golem. Translations of, and/or links to, these texts are available upon request (email Some of the stories may be found here…
Note: attendance at the previous presentation is not a prerequisite for attending this one.

For a review of the previous talk…

Dan Russek, a native of Mexico, is an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies. He has taught at UVic since 2004. He earned a B.A. (Philosophy) and an M.A. (Comparative Literature) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He completed his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago, specializing in modern and contemporary Latin American literature and visual arts. His fields of research include the links between literature and the visual arts and media, urban studies and aesthetics.

This talk is sponsored by the Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team. Donations to our Adult Education fund are always welcome. You may donate ONLINE or through the office at

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 818 6160 8457
Passcode: 348469

Tu Bishvat at House of Commons

Everyday when the House of Commons is sitting, there is 15-minute period when any member who is not a minister is permitted to address the House for up to one minute on virtually any matter of local, provincial, national or international concern. On January 28, 2021, Victoria MP Laurel Collins delivered a statement marking the occurrence of Tu Bishvat. To view her presentation… 

Super Ruaḥ (Spirit) Filled Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat!

Friday, February 5, 2021 starting at 6 pm—Join Rabbi Matt in an evening of song, storytelling, movement, and more as we welcome Shabbat together with a not-quite-traditional Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv Service.
We miss you! We miss making music and sharing simḥah together. We miss enriching our Shabbat lives with our amazing congregation. So, Zoom in for fun, connection, celebration, and meaningful Torah learning.

Continue reading Super Ruaḥ (Spirit) Filled Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat!