The SimHebrew Bible

The SimHebrew Bible: The Hebrew Bible in Simulated Hebrew – with English Guide, is a new book by Jonathan Orr-Stav (Stoppi) and Bob MacDonald.The SimHebrew Bible makes reading, searching, and learning the Hebrew Bible much easier for non-Hebrew readers. SimHebrew is an exact simulation of the ktiv malé (“full spelling”) Hebrew text of the Bible. Readers who are not versed in the square text will gain a true insight into the linguistic features of the Hebrew – in particular, its economy of language, wordplay, repetition of the same word in different contexts, and above all, the root structure of its words.

The SimHebrew Bible is intended to be a complement to existing Hebrew Bible publications, not a substitute, given the greater accessibility that it offers to non-Hebrew readers, its search capabilities, and—perhaps most importantly—the ability to use standard text analysis and text mining tools on the text, which is often not possible with the traditional Square Hebrew.

Currently only in ebook form, it is available online at Energion Publications, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, and other online retailers. A free preview (including the full Book of Genesis) is also provided.

Change is coming to our newsletter

As volunteer-run publication, the current production and publication processes have become unwieldy. It is our hope that these changes will substantially reduce the time it takes to produce each issue while continuing to maintain connection in our community.

  •  Newsletter Contributors:

Effective immediately, please submit articles using the online form – not by email: Congregation Emanu-El newsletter submission form
The deadline for newsletter submissions is the Friday before you’d like them to appear (no change to cut-off time).

Continue reading Change is coming to our newsletter

Innovations in Liturgy with Rabbi Louis Sutker

Monday, November 1, 2021, at 7 pmThe Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, November 1, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom with Rabbi Louis Sutker discussing Innovations in Liturgy. Rabbi Louis Sutker delights in creating liturgy that reflects both tradition and innovation. In this presentation, he will share ways to use traditional and contemporary music to make Jewish prayer personally meaningful. This program may be most suited to those familiar with Jewish prayer traditions—Rabbi Sutker advises that participants might wish to have access to the weekday service in a traditional siddur. However, those unfamiliar with Jewish prayer are also welcome to learn about both traditions and innovations in musical approaches to prayer.

Rabbi Louis Sutker has been an inspiring presence in the Victoria Jewish Community for many years. A student of Rabbi Zalman Schacter, Louis was ordained as a rabbi in 2005, after a long career in psychology. He has also been a lifelong musician and music lover. Currently retired, Rabbi Louis is able to luxuriate in obsessing on language and how to help himself and others use liturgy in creative ways to increase love and caring between us.

  • Join online: CLICK HERE
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 938 6600 6689
  • Passcode: 376234

Organic Apple Juice Hebrew School Fundraiser

From CastleRock Pardes Farm—Made from a mixture of crisp Spartan, Red Delicious, MacIntosh and Granny Smith apples, this apple juice has been filtered and passed through UV cold pasteurization, retaining its exquisite complex taste and total nutritional value. The jugs can be frozen and imbibed throughout the year.  Fill your freezer!

  • All proceeds will be donated to Hebrew school children.
  • Fundraiser price per 2 litre jug – $15 or 3 jugs for $40.
  • Please email Noa or Carolyn at to order the juice.
  • Juice can be picked up at the shul on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 between 9:30 and 11:00 am, or between 3:15 and 5:45 pm. These are our preferred pick-up times; as an alternative for Hebrew School Families only, juice could be picked up at Hebrew School on Sunday, October 24, 2021.
  • Delivery is available upon request. Delivery volunteers are welcome!

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.

High Holy Days 2021/5782 Service Schedule

Indoor Services in the Sanctuary

Register at—Due to limited capacity at our indoor services, we ask that you choose ONE indoor service—this means selecting either one Rosh Hashanah OR one Yom Kippur service as your top choice.

  • Rosh Hashanah Day 1 – September 7, 10:00 am
  • Rosh Hashanah Day 2 – September 8, 10:00 am
  • Erev Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre – September 15, 6:15 pm
  • Yom Kippur Morning Service – September 16, 10:00 am
  • Yom Kippur Minḥah/Neilah/Break-fast – September 16, 6:00 pm

When you email your first choice, please also add your second and third choices so that we can be sure to fill the services to capacity. If we can accommodate people at more than one service, we will.

Last year, we were able to add people to their second choice the day before—quite last-minute.

We will confirm your registration for each service, so please keep track once we notify you. All of these services will also be offered on Zoom (no need to preregister for Zoom).

Also note:  Members will have the first opportunity to register. After August 24, 2021, we will open registration to non-members.

Outdoor Services at St. Ann’s Academy

For many reasons, people may prefer to gather outdoors. We are offering several services on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy.

Rosh Hashanah Day 1

  • Alternative Experiential Service with Rabbi Harry – Sept. 7, 12:30 to 2:00 pm
  • Children’s Service and oneg, with Carolyn Blum and Noa Marnin, walk to Tashlikh at Dallas Road – Sept. 7, 3:00 to 4:15 pm

Yom Kippur

  • Traditional Highlights with Rabbi Harry – Sept. 16, 1:30 to 3:00 pm

If the Provincial Guidelines allow, we will not require pre-registration for our outdoor services at St. Ann’s Academy and, while recommended, we may be able to allow more flexibility about masks. We will still request that congregants have consent before approaching or touching others. People will be choosing the outdoor option for many different reasons, including vulnerable health. There will be washrooms and hand-sanitizer available.

High Holy Days: Safety Information

Welcome!  It is our hope that everyone who wants an in-person experience in our sanctuary will be able to have this during the High Holy Days.
To ensure that this is possible, we recommend the following simple guidelines and request that we all follow them:

  • We will limit attendance to allow seating at 2 m physical distance.
  • We will require preregistration, to maintain physical distancing.
  • We request that masks be worn when you are not at your seat or when you are singing. We recommend masks at all times, but you can take them off while seated and not singing/ chanting.
  • We request that congregants draw no nearer than 2 m to another without that person’s consent.Please assume that everyone wishes to maintain physical distance, and forgo handshakes, hugs, close conversation, and close seating. Please obtain consent before approaching or touching another person.
  • Please do not attend if you are ill.
  • Please continue to exercise good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

Update: Antiracism & Equity Working Group

The Anti-Racism and Equity Working Group met on July 9, 2021. The members are looking forward to taking part in the upcoming Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) online 4-part Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Community Training Series: How to create a DEI Working Group & Assess Our Community DEI Efforts. The sessions will be held from 5 to 6:30 pm PT on Wednesdays—July 28, August 4, 11, and 18, 2021. There is no cost.

We hope others will join in, and specifically, that we can bring together at Emanu-El as representative a group as possible with respect to race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, ability, Jewish background, and more. Have any questions? Interested in joining us? Please email Ilana at

Stay tuned for a special Emanu-El community facilitated workshop later this fall.

And there was music

 The Journeys in Jewish Music series produced by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) wrapped up on Sunday, June 20, 2021 with an engaging session on Klezmer music by Moshe Denburg. VJCC is grateful for the funding from the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI) which, along with the support of our community sponsor Congregation Emanu-El, the enthusiasm of the many who participated and those who made donations, made the program possible.

We are incredibly pleased to announce that JFVVI has granted us another generous allotment which makes it possible to continue the series in the Fall with an additional six Zoom presentations. We are now organizing this series and welcome any suggestions regarding content or knowledgeable presenters. The talks are scheduled for Monday evenings following the High Holydays, and dates and details will be released as available. If you registered for the previous series, you will automatically be notified and sent the links.

To register or send comments or suggestions please send a note to:
The Victoria Jewish Community Choir is non-auditioned and welcomes all voices. The Choir will re-convene as soon as regulations permit. If you are interested in joining the choir, please contact co-director Carol Sokoloff at

Tish’ah Be’Av 2021

Tish’ah Be’Av Saturday night, July 17, 9:00 pm on Zoom—the ninth day of the month of Av—marks moments of deep tragedy and destruction in Jewish history. It is the day when we commemorate the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem, the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, and many other tragedies that have befallen our people.
There is a teaching in Talmud (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 begins on Saturday night, July 17, 2021. We will hold evening services including the chanting of Eikhah (Lamentations) followed by the recitation of traditional liturgical poems of yearning for a Jerusalem rebuilt. Services will start at 9:00 pm.
 Join Online: CLICK HERE…
To dial in: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 874 2587 9161
Password: 059827
May this season of escalating tensions and violence soon end. “May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world” (Lev Shalom p. 178) May our prayers and commitment to ḥesed ḥinam lead us towards that day.