Religious and Cultural Intolerance: How Do We Respond?


At 3 pm, November 5  the Victoria Society for Humanistic Judaism (VCHJ) will present a panel discussion on Religious and Cultural Intolerance at the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, 3636 Shelbourne Street.

Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, a psychologist with experience in cross-cultural dialogue and trauma counselling and Victoria Shoah Project representative, will moderate. The panel will include Dr. Charlotte Shira Schallié, Associate Professor and Director, European Studies Program in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Victoria; Julius Maslovat, Holocaust Survivor; Dr. Farouk Mitha Islamic Scholar, Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria and the Rev. Michelle Slater, Minister of Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care, Oak Bay United Church.  Refreshments will be served; everyone welcome.  For further information contact , Ceremonial Leader at 250-474-7173 or


Shop for your home at our Simcha Gift Shop !

P1050271The Simcha Gift Shop at Congregation Emanu-El has an array of mezuzot, whimsical, decorative and simple, along with many other Judaica items.
The gift shop is located at Congregation Emanu-El at the southern end of the Social Hall.

A mezuzah (Hebrew: מְזוּזָה‎ “doorpost”; plural: מְזוּזוֹת‎ mezuzot) comprises a piece of parchment called a klaf contained in a decorative case and inscribed with specific Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). These verses consist of the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael, beginning with the phrase: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD (is) our God, the LORD is One”.

In mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, a mezuzah is affixed to the doorpost of Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to “write the words of God on the gates and doorposts of your house” (Deuteronomy 6:9). Some interpret Jewish law to require a mezuzah in every doorway in the home except bathrooms (which is not a living space), laundry rooms and closets, if they are too small to qualify as rooms. The klaf parchment is prepared by a qualified scribe (“sofer stam“) who has undergone many years of meticulous training, and the verses are written in black indelible ink with a special quill pen. The parchment is then rolled up and placed inside the case so that the word Shaddai (“Almighty”) can usually be seen on the back of the parchment. After a special blessing is recited, the mezuzah is firmly fixed to the main doorpost of the home (to the right as one enters). It is a custom with some Jews to kiss the mezuzah as they pass it. The wearing of a  on a chain around the neck is a practice of relatively recent origin.

Eco Vegetarian Potluck & Musical Kabbalat Shabbat

Kabbalat ShabbatFriday, November 3, 5:45 pm — Bring a vegetarian or dairy dish to our potluck dinner along with your own dishes & utensils for dining (that’s the “eco” part!). We’ll supply the ḥallah and the wine for kiddush. The dinners are a great way to get to know each other and all are welcome.
Services begin promptly at 7 pm, following dinner – it’s OK to come just for services if you can’t make it to the dinner.
Kabbalat Shabbat is a spirited and joyful service with singing and storytelling lead by Rabbi Harry and the rockin’ Emanu-El band. Services conclude at 7:45 pm with a tasty oneg dessert. The is a fun and meaningful event for kids and adults.
Please RSVP for dinner at the .

2017 Ralph Barer Community Service Award Ceremony & Kiddush

Barer 2On Saturday, October 21 the Barer/Sturmwind family invites you to join them at the synagogue for the presentation of the 2017 Ralph Barer Community Service Award. A short ceremony in honour of two dedicated volunteers: Graham Dragushan and Aaron Severs will take place during the Shabbat Service. Continue reading 2017 Ralph Barer Community Service Award Ceremony & Kiddush

Destination: Bahá’í Faith

Travel the faith

On Friday Oct. 20 or Saturday Oct. 21 at 7 pm, you’re invited to the fourth in the Travel the World’s Religions series sponsored by the Victoria Multifaith Society (VMS), to experience the Bahá’í Faith through a musical drama called The Gathering, commissioned by the Bahá’í Community of Victoria to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith. Continue reading Destination: Bahá’í Faith

Yom Iyun: Jewish cemeteries & the burial of non-Jews

Jewish Cemetery

Sunday, October 29, 2 – 4 pm: In an era where there are many multi-faith marriages, Congregation Emanuel has arranged for a Yom Iyun (day of learning) focused on the halakhah (Jewish jurisprudence) applicable to the burial of non-Jews in Jewish cemeteries. Continue reading Yom Iyun: Jewish cemeteries & the burial of non-Jews