Hakhnasat Torah and Siyyum HaTorah a Resounding Success

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Aaron Severs writes: “At 10 a.m. on October 20, the crowd gathered at the corner of Pandora and Vancouver. Undeterred by grey skies above, participants had already begun to dance to the music of Avram Yuval & Friends. The restored Sifrei Torah were placed under the brand-new chuppah canopy. Proceeding west on Pandora towards the shul, we danced, sang and strolled with purpose. 

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"Children and adults alike, we accompanied and danced about our heritage Torah scrolls, carried by Sharon and Ed Fitch.

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"At the parking lot behind the shul, an impromptu Hora broke out:

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"Eventually we all entered via the sanctuary doors, and the newcomers (i.e. heritage scrolls) were greeted into the synagogue by our resident Torah scrolls, held by Leah and Uri Levi.

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"Rabbi Harry welcomed the masses and explained that today’s simḥah was similar to a wedding ceremony. Torah is the covenant in our relationship with Hashem. A short drash by Marc Michaels, one of the sofrim or ritual scribes followed (Avielah Barclay taught later on).

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"The last 12 letters of Deuteronomy were next to be filled in. All eyes in the room (about 150 participants) seemed transfixed on the front of the sanctuary. A big screen showed the programme, while the Torah to be completed lay open on a table, next to the sofrim and their Jewish scribal materials.

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"The excitement mounted. One by one, groups of leaders/volunteers in our kehillah joined the sofrim in the completion of one letter each. Hebrew School teachers and kids went first, then Bnei Mitzvah teachers/tutors and USY/Kadima, then our Elders, Avodah Social Action and so on. Each leadership group stood next to the scribes and were encouraged to lay hands on the scribes. The energy in the room was palpable. Awhile later, once all the letters were filled in, the scribes declared the Torah scrolls to be kosher.

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"The last portion in the Torah was chanted, then a t’kiah g’dolah was sounded and more dancing ensued. A specially written prayer for the kehillah was read aloud. More music was performed by the Jewish Community Choir, and a delicious Kiddush lunch followed.

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"For many of us, participating in the Siyyum was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There was joy and pride and a renewed commitment to Torah.”

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Gone But Not Forgotten!

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On September 29, Our Legacy: Celebrating 150 of Congregation Emanu-El – an exhibit that exemplified the rich history, intrepid pioneers and beautiful ritual items of our congregation, came to a close. 

It was a bitter sweet few days as Sharon Fitch and I worked with the kind assistance of Daryl Levine and Amber Woods. We took apart each case and display, undressing mannequins, then carefully checking and wrapping each item for return to congregants’ homes.
The delicate silk 1864 chuppah, Henry Nathan’s store sign, and JP Davies commemorative watch, along with 4 display cases and mannequins are now back at the RBCM. The good news is that we have two large exhibit cases in the Social Hall – one is available for future exhibitions and the other will be transformed into another permanent display to compliment the two in the Sanctuary.
The Synagogue also has had several artefact donations over the summer and these will be exhibited together with items provided by Rabbi Harry.

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Do not let the memory of Our Legacy fade. Please be sure you have a keepsake copy of Allan Mandell’s outstanding Commemorative 150th Anniversary Exhibit/Art Calendar with 16-month calendar, still available in the office for $20.00. Net proceeds go to Congregation Emanu-El’s Building Restoration Fund

It has been a amazing 4 months. The Synagogue and Exhibition was visited by many travellers, tour groups and local residents. A special thanks to our excellent docents and guides, especially Shoshana Litman dressed as Elizabeth Davies Schultz, and Amber Woods and Gary Cohen who provided that extra-special ingredient to visitors’ experience.
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to curate this marvellous event which highlighted and celebrated our 150th year.
Todah rabah,
Janis Diner Brinley, Our Legacy Curator

Farewell to Adele!

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Saturday Kiddush, Oct. 26
Adele Vernon is leaving Victoria to live permanently in San Luis Obispo, California. We will miss her! Adele has been a significant part of shul life for many years.

A special Kiddush is being held in her honour on Saturday, October 26 after services. Please come, enjoy a nosh, give her a hug and say goodbye. Wear something colourful, give her a smile, and share a story or two.
If you wish to be a sponsor and contribute to the Kiddush, your contributions are welcome. Please send your donation to the shul office, marked “Kiddush for Adele”.

New: Upload page for news or classified ads

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Hard on the heels of the new Congregation Emanu-El Classifieds Page (password: 1461Blanshard) launched last week, we are now offering a special Congregation Emanu-El Upload page, where you can send us text and images for news items or classified ads (just mark as applicable). Note that we prefer text and images, rather than PDFs, as we cannot publish the PDFs as they are. Thank you. 

Jewish Arts 2013 Grand Finale

Sun, Nov. 24, 2:30 pm

The Lafayette String Quartet, with pianist Arthur Rowe, and tenor Benjamin Butterfield at Congregation Emanu-El.

Admission $30; tickets available at Long & McQuade, Russell Books, Ivy’s Bookshop, Tanner’s Books in Sidney, Shul Office and at the door.

There are only 275 seats in the synagogue’s heritage sanctuary, so buy your tickets early! Doors open at 1:45 pm.

Jewish Arts Presents: An Evening with Eleanor Wachtel

Sat., Nov. 9, 7:30 pm

The award winning literary interviewer, and host of CBC Radio’s Writers & Company, Eleanor Wachtel will speak about her interviews with contemporary writers and how they shape our literary consciousness and enrich our lives.
Admission is $25; tickets available at Munro’s Books, Russell Books, Ivy’s Bookshop, the Shul Office and at the door.
There are only 275 seats in the synagogue’s heritage sanctuary, so buy your tickets early! Doors open at 6:45 pm.

Kabbalat Shabbat – Friday, November 1

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Our first Kabbalat Shabbat of the New Year will be on Friday, November 1st at 6:30 p.m. As this is an eco-friendly potluck event, please bring:

  1. A vegetarian/dairy main dish (casserole, dinner salad, lasagne, etc.), large enough 6 to 10 people to share (to respect food allergies, it would help if you labelled your dish if it contains peanuts, treenuts, soy or milk or if it is gluten free).
  2. Something to drink (such as juice and pop)
  3. A simple dessert.

Eco-friendly means bringing your own dishes, glasses and cutlery and then taking them home.REMEMBER: The kitchen will be closed. Think indoor picnic!

The only energy we burn will be our own community spirit! The shul will provide the ḥallah and some snacks, appies and Rabbi Harry’s famous punch so people have something to drink and munch on as they arrive. Start the evening off with ruaḥ, davening and singing in the sanctuary. If you’ve done this before, you know how Rabbi Harry makes this a very dynamic way of welcoming in Shabbat with friends and community. Don’t miss out! Start planning your culinary creations now.