The Light of Courage: demonstrating resilience in the face of hatred and fear

Hanukkiah 2018

Sunday December 9, 2018, from 5:00 pm at Centennial Square — Post Pittsburgh massacre of our brothers and sisters we gather our courage and show up. We show up for unity and for understanding. We show up to demonstrate that compassion and connection are the antidotes to the growing fear and separation in our world. Continue reading The Light of Courage: demonstrating resilience in the face of hatred and fear


Avodah sponsors 8 for 8: bring light to our neighbours

8 for 8

On or before December 9, 2018Avodah invites you to bring 8 items – one for each night of Ḥanukkah to the Menorah Lighting in Centennial Square, Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm or to the synagogue office during office hours. Continue reading Avodah sponsors 8 for 8: bring light to our neighbours

Boys & Girls Club Needs Care Families


Saturday, December 1 between 11 am – 12 pm — We have invited Debi O’Boyle, Manager for Care Families & Quality Assurance, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Victoria to speak to our congregation during the service on Saturday, December 1st about the current needs of their program. Boys & Girls Club of Greater Victoria has responded to the needs of children, youth, and families in the Capital Region for 58 years. They are a not-for-profit agency accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF). They are affiliated with Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.

For more than 30 years, Care Families have supported youth while they attend Boys & Girls Club programming. Each Care Family supports one youth at a time and receives 24 hour support from qualified staff. Adolescence is a time when youth learn skills, practice healthy relationships, and take on increased responsibility in preparation for adulthood. Care Families support youth learning life skills and lessons—sometimes for the first time and help youth get on the right path to becoming successful self-sufficient adults.  For more information go to website:

GVAT’s Discernment Day

Work continues

On November 18, 2018 — Ten synagogue members attended GVAT’s Discernment Day. Rabbi Harry gave a rousing opening address. Approximately 100 people from more than 20 organizations worked to achieve consensus on which topics GVAT should focus. The participants selected Mental Health & Addictions and Housing. The Emanu-El GVAT team will fill us in on the decisions made at the meeting in the Koleinu Ḥanukkah edition. For more photos of our team at work (taken by our fabulous photographer, Penny Tennenhouse).

Todah for the honour

Another texting pictureTo our dear congregants,

RaeAnn and I thank you for the great “Surprise Kiddush”. We felt incredibly appreciated and supported. When RaeAnn mentioned the Kiddush to our dear friend Rabbi Tsafi Lev, whom many will remember from his scholar-in-residence visit last year, Tsafi was blown away commenting that being a congregational rabbi is supposed to be a thankless job. He remarked that not many rabbis and congregations have the kind of relationship based on care, mutuality and ḥesed that we at Emanu-El share.

Our congregation has come through a difficult time – in the world and in the life of our congregation. We held on to each other. We showed the courage, kindness, caring and supportiveness that reflects a balanced and spiritually connected life. RaeAnn and I are thankful and super glad that our congregation does not take these things for granted  and that all work together to cultivate the positive.

With huge thanks, Rabbi Harry and RaeAnn Brechner.

Shabbat Shebang

Kabbalat Shabbat

November 30, 7:00pmKabbalat Shabbat Service: Come join the Hebrew School and experience a joyful, spirited Kabbalat Shabbat service with our amazing Kabba Shabba Band.  Services are spirited, interactive, and family oriented. If you are looking for intergenerational Jewish fun replete with singing, dancing, storytelling, great food and company, this is the place in Victoria. Services followed by a dessert Oneg at 8 pm.

November 30,  5:45 pm — Hebrew School & Community Shabbat Dinner: Before the Kabbalat Shabbat service, join Hebrew School families and friends for an eco-pot luck vegetarian dinner. Bring a vegetarian/dairy main course or salad and a small dessert along with your own dishes and cutlery (because many folk don’t have kosher kitchens, we can’t use the Shul’s dishes).  Label your dish with ALL ingredients. Please RSVP to if you plan to attend dinner so we know how many tables to set up.
Noise-alert: there will be an element of frenetic kid energy at this dinner. Feel free to come just for services.
Looking forward to an evening full of joy and connection!

Welcome Danielle!

Danielle Weisz

We are thrilled to welcome Danielle Weisz, our new Youth Group Advisor! Danielle comes to us with a plethora of youth group experience and a background in theatre arts, teaching and volunteering with Hillel.  For the past ten years, she has worked in various jobs for which she delivered, developed, and supervised programs. At her synagogue in Edmonton, she ran Shabbat children’s programming and worked as a counselor. Her passion for working with children and youth led her to pursue a career as a teacher. Currently, Danielle works at Oaklands Elementary School teaching Drama/Music/Dance.
We are sure that Danielle with her very warm personality, will utilize the great skills she has acquired in past experiences to lead our youth group at Emanu-El. We are so excited to have her.