Two is greater than One

Tal Talk PNWednesday, May 1, 2019, 7 pm, Congregation Emanuel, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria — Invited by Rabbi Harry, Tal Svoray, Professor, Ben-Gurion University, Department of Geography and Environmental Development currently in Victoria on Sabbatical will speak to us about current affairs in Israel on May 1, 2019 7 pm at the synagogue. Tal will speak to us, not as a “professor” but as a native of Israel, a member of the Six Day War baby boom, someone who is contemplating the fate of Israel over the next 100 years rather than just a few years or months, as one who considers the big clock ticking over Israel’s head is the “Palestinian question” and as one who believes in a two state solution.


Attention parents: Kafe & Kibitz

kafe kibitz

Sunday, April 28, 10:15 am to noon, 710 Pandora Avenue lobby — Come hang out with other parents in a warm & welcoming environment; feel free to bring along any young children currently in tow. We look forward to engaging conversation, laughter, reflection, support, and, of course, caffeine. Everyone is welcome, including non-members. NEW LOCATION: We’ll be meeting in the lobby of 710 Pandora Avenue (the new building at Pandora & Douglas) beside Sherwood Cafe.

Bēma Productions: We are the Levinsons

BEMALevinsonsLogo-CEnewsletterMay 9 to 23, 2019, Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard StreetBēma Productions is proud to present our 2019 Mainstage production, the Canadian Premiere of We Are The Levinsons by Wendy Kout. The story details the phenomenon of the “sandwich generation” — adults caring for both children and aging parents — through the lens of one family’s momentous year. Continue reading Bēma Productions: We are the Levinsons

Important Message from Congregation Emanu-El

We have some sad news for you today. Our beloved Synagogue Director, Betsi Boeno, due to family and personal needs, has decided to resign. She will leave us at the end of May. Reluctant as we are to lose Betsi, we all agree that family comes first. We have at least the satisfaction of knowing that Betsi and her family will remain active and involved members of our Kehillah.

We thank Betsi for her remarkable service to our congregation and for the multiple projects and initiatives she has brought to completion thereby improving and streamlining the way we do business and more importantly, how we serve the needs of our diverse congregation.

No doubt, Betsi’s departure will create a void but your Board of Directors (BoD) is already devising a plan for filling the gap so you can expect to see a new face in the office before too long. However, in the months to come we intend to begin an in depth study of our staffing requirements, to ensure we can fully meet the needs of our growing community.

President Ruthi
Rabbi Harry

Bear This in Mind!

Bear stuffiesThis year, the Hebrew School tried something new and different on Tuesday afternoons: teachers Beatrice and Leah asked students to bring in teddy bear ‘stuffies’ to serve as symbolic (and cuddly) surrogates for learning about Jewish life-cycle events.

The students chose Hebrew names for their ‘stuffies’, which they gave the bears at a “naming ceremony” in December, for which each student also made her or his bear a kippah and a wimple (usually used to tie Torah scrolls) to use as a sash.

Later, the bears were prepared for a ‘Bear-Mitzvah’. To do this, each student was given a mitzvah to do on behalf of his or her bear, such as visiting the sick or helping someone in need.

It was very moving for educators and parents to see these children talking about what Jewish life-cycle events mean to them. The students also explained how they understand the meaning of the phrase, in the Ve’ahavta prayer, that calls upon Jews to “impress them” (i.e., the words of the shamma prayer) “on their children.”

The ‘Bear Mitzvah’ finale event was held during a Friday night family Kabbalat Shabbat on March 1. Students chanted prayers, sang songs, and, together with their bears, stood under a “Bear Mitzvah” tallit shawl for a blessing from the congregation.

The Jewish bear project has been a wonderful means of imparting Jewish education in ways that are meaningful to children. It also attests to the educational value of Tuesday afternoon Hebrew School classes, where there is more time and space to focus in depth on a learning project.

So, is the Jewish bear project now over? Maybe not. We hear that somebody’s preparing for a wedding! Stay tuned for a bear ḥuppah


Judaism – An Introduction


Join Rabbi Harry Brechner from Congregation Emanu-El for this informative 10-week course, which introduces Jewish beliefs, practice and history. The course reflects egalitarian Conservative Judaism: the topics include holidays, life cycle celebrations, theology and core beliefs, prayer, Jewish sacred texts, history, the Holocaust, and Israel. This course is open to anyone wishing to explore the many facets of Judaism. Continue reading Judaism – An Introduction