5781 USCJ Jewish Art Calendar

Congregation Emanu-El was chosen for inclusion in the 5781 Jewish art Calendar printed by the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism (USCJ)! 
We were invited to submit a photo with a Torah theme and sent in Penny Tennenhouse’s beautiful photo of scribe/soferet Aviel Barclay in the sanctuary surrounded by a few congregants. The calendars are available now. You can order them by using this link.

Racism: Understanding the realities and what we can do!

What can we do 1.2Tuesday July 28, 2020 starting at 7 pm—Many people think racism is not a problem in multicultural Canada, but racism still exists everywhere in this country—including Victoria, BC. Following months of activism against systemic racism and police violence in the USA and Canada, join us on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 7 pm for a discussion on Zoom as we explore how our community can respond to this call to action and find our role in fighting racism locally and more broadly. We have a panel of academics, social activists and community leaders who will lead an exploration of racism in Canada, its local manifestations and how we can all better recognize our blind spots and work towards the kind of truth and reconciliation that awakens tikkun, cosmic repair. Continue reading Racism: Understanding the realities and what we can do!

Only 2 Days Left for our Caring and Sharing Auction

CEE Caring Sharing Auction logo 1.3Closes Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 6 pm—Our Caring and Sharing Auction is well underway!  It finishes on Sunday, July 19 at 6:00 pm. Some amazing offerings were put forward by your fellow congregants. We were able to secure additional offerings of the more popular items, and have added a few new items as well. Check out the auction catalogue  – just click on the link. It’s easy – follow the instructions and submit your bids. Continue reading Only 2 Days Left for our Caring and Sharing Auction

Backyard Thursday morning minyan

Minyan with dredits

Please consider joining the minyan on Thursdays at 7 am in Uri and Leah’s backyard. If you are looking for a very sweet, welcoming prayer experience that is intimate and relaxed, this is place for you.

Services will continue to be streamed as usual on Zoom, to Join Online: CLICK HERE…

In the interests of personal and community safety as we open up this opportunity for congregational worship we must observe the following practices:

Continue reading Backyard Thursday morning minyan

Shavuot 2020: more than cheesecake


Congregation Emanu-El had its first Zoom Tikkun Leil Shavuot on Thursday, May 28, 2020. We had an engaged group of congregants, many of whom persevered to the end just after midnight. Rick Kool spoke about how COVID-19 has shown humans how much have to unlearn, e.g., we have to unlearn that humans are exceptional and that humans are not subject to the laws of nature. We have to unlearn that the services nature provides through pollination, provision of water and more are free and of no concern to our economies. We have to unlearn that our food just appears in the supermarket and we have to unlearn that we don’t have to consider those people, often dark-skinned and under-paid, that bring it to us.
For the full text of Rick’s talk… Continue reading Shavuot 2020: more than cheesecake


Yizkor 2Saturday, May 30, 2020 around 11 am—This Shabbat, the second day of the Shavuot Festival, we have the opportunity at our yizkor service to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us on this planet. Our tradition offers us powerful moments of public memorial during the times of year when our loved ones may be acutely missed. We honour our dead through invoking their names and memories, introspecting on how we can live out their values in our lives and pray for the safekeeping of their souls.

In Deuteronomy, the Torah teaches that when making a pilgrimage journey to the Temple in Jerusalem for one of the Festivals an Israelite should not arrive empty handed, that this is a time for righteous giving. From this it became a tradition at holy days to give tzedakah in memory of loved ones. There is also a tradition of lighting a 24 hour yahrzeit candle. In the book of Proverbs there is the teaching that God’s candle is the human soul. This is the basis of lighting a soul candle, a ner neshama. People often ask me if they should participate in yizkor if their first year of mourning is not over. Although within the first year of mourning fading memory is not a paramount issue, yizkor is a great opportunity to be held in the embrace of community and publicly mourn.  Yizkor will take place toward the end of the Zoom service after Rabbi Harry’s drash at approximately 11:00 am.

  • Join online: CLICK HERE…
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 824 1330 9293
  • Password:  929054



Emanu-El plants 24 saplings

Is that deep enough...

On Sunday, February 9, 2020 a passionate crowd gathered at Beacon Hill Park (Lover’s Lane, near Cook and Dallas). Both young and old put shovels into the moist earth and planted saplings to celebrate Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees. Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Maple saplings found new homes. Continue reading Emanu-El plants 24 saplings

Jewish Shamanism

Shamanism 1000February 2, 2020 at 4 pm, Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street—Congregation Emanu-El Education Team invites you to a talk about Jewish Shamanism by Francis Landy on Sunday, February 2, 4 pm at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria V8W 2J3.  Admission is by donation; light refreshments will be served.  Information:  heshi@me.com

Shamanism is a term for a cross-cultural religious orientation which seeks to access alternative states of consciousness in order to effect societal or personal transformation, outside of or in addition to normative institutions and practices. The shamanic tradition in Judaism extends from the biblical prophets to contemporary Hasidism, and may involve trance, dance, psychotropic substances, and strange rituals, like nefilat apayim (“falling on one’s face”) and yihudim, when the adept seeks to unite the soul with that of a departed saint. Francis Landy will discuss aspects of the tradition, from the prophets through medieval and post-medieval Kabbalah to the present day.

Francis Landy is a biblical scholar who has recently made his home in Victoria, after a career of over thirty years at the University of Alberta. He has published a number of books and many articles, and is a specialist in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible. He is a member of Congregation Emanu-El.

This is the fourth presentation in the Alternative Realities in Judaism series.


Update on GVAT activities

GVAT revisedGreater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT) is a growing alliance of civic organizations working for the common good that currently has about two dozen member organization representing more than 50,000 individuals and in which Congregation Emanu-El is an active member. The GVAT process is not geared towards demonstrations or protests but to pinpointing issues that all member organizations can fully support and for which GVAT will advocate for a say in policy decisions— and for which GVAT will hold our political leaders accountable. Continue reading Update on GVAT activities