The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing

Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm on Zoom—The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 4, 2021, at 7 pm with broadcaster Andy Muchin as he explores the delightful Yiddish singing group, The Barry Sisters and the revival of what was known as Yiddish Swing.

The Barry Sisters—Claire and Merna—were early stars of this style, and their lively renditions outlasted the swing craze and reenergized Yiddish song in the Americas. With their sweet, tight harmonies and consummate artistry, the sisters performed on radio and television, at nightclubs, and on concert stages for some 35 years including a 1959 US friendship tour of the Soviet Union as star performers. The Barry Sisters recorded mostly, Yiddish songs on numerous 78 rpm discs and LPs.

Not only will this presentation explore the Barry Sisters’ brilliant career during and after Yiddish Swing, it will also take a toe-tapping detour through some of the best Yiddish swing recordings from artists as diverse as klezmer clarinetist, Dave Tarras, and jazz singer/songwriter Slim Gaillard.

Andy Muchin has hosted the weekly Sounds Jewish radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and since 2010. He has written about Jewish music for Forward newspaper, Moment Magazine, and other publications.

All are welcome to attend this exciting Zoom presentation for free, thanks to the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI). To register (and receive full information) on this and the other sessions this fall please send us a note.

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 961 0251 7947
Passcode: 657412

Not There Yet: A Brief History of the Struggle for Civil Liberties in Israel

Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 7 pm—Francis Landy invites you to a virtual salon for the New Israel Fund (NIF) on Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 7 pm. Ben Murane, Executive Director, NIF Canada will speak about the struggle for human and civil rights in Israel. Contact Francis to obtain a link for this session.

Side by Side Exhibit

Opening Saturday, October 2, 2021Side by Side is a retrospective exhibit of unsold artwork—paintings, collages, photographs, and letter poems by Brian Saunders & Jackie Saunders-Ritchie—in their art studio in the back garden at 2716 Thompson Avenue, Oak Bay. The show opens on Saturday, October 2, 1–5 pm and continues Tuesday, October 3–5, 12-4 pm. For more information contact Jackie.

Antiracism & Equity Working Group Update

The Antiracism & Equity Working Group had a great meeting with Carmel Tanaka who self-defines as a queer, “Jewpanese” (Jewish and Japanese Canadian) woman of colour. Carmel is a former director of UVic Hillel and remains a huge fan of the Victoria Jewish community—and of Congregation Emanu-El, and Rabbi Harry, in particular. A community engagement professional, Carmel founded JQT Vancouver, a Jewish queer and trans nonprofit, and was named one of Be’chol Lashon’s“7 LGBTQ+ Jews of Color You Should Know”. You can check out Carmel and her fantastic work here. We had a terrific conversation about antiracism and equity work focusing on outreach, relationship building, partnership opportunities, action, and ongoing community reflection within the Jewish community.

Moving forward, we want to ensure that our group membership is representative of the rich, diverse, and multiple identities of the community—including Jews of Colour, Jews with disabilities, LGBTQ+* Jews, Jews in interfaith relationships and Jewish Adjacent People (people who are not Jewish but are in families or relationships with Jewish people), Teens, Jews by choice, Working class people, Singles, New members of our community, Single parents, People new to Judaism, People who do not have or do not plan on having children, and People who only come to our community a couple times of year.

If you identify with any or several of the categories above, and are open to considering joining us in whatever capacity you have time and energy for, please email Ilana at

Lastly, please note the excellent “Learning Together Tuesday” sessions offered in partnership by Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT) and the Society of the Friend’s St. Ann’s Academy (SFSAA).

*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning) and others

Outreach Looking for Volunteers!

Outreach is looking for volunteers interested in spending quality one-on-one time with some of our congregation’s most valuable members! 

  • We need people interested in spending from two hours a month to two hours a week in homes or taking members into the community for a little company. 
  • Volunteers will be matched with members whom they will see on a regular schedule. The Outreach Committee will support the volunteers and respond to any questions or concerns they may have. 
  • If this might interest you, or if you would like more information, please contact Rachel.
  • Note: Due to the vulnerability of some our community members, volunteers must be fully vaccinated.

Thank you for reading.

Cemetery Website Up and Running

Thanks to Leah Freedman and Amber Woods, we have a new, totally wonderful, and fully searchable website for our historic Jewish Cemetery. This website contains burial information, and more, on every person that we are aware was buried in the cemetery, or was noted on a gravestone. To view the Jewish Cemetery of Victoria website.

The process of collecting and correcting information about the people buried in our cemetery has taken many years, and we are very interested in fixing any errors that might be found in the information on the website. To send comments and/or additions and/or corrections.

The website also hosts the stories of those people remembered on the Zachor Remembrance Wall. To view these stories.

The Cemetery Committee offers our deepest thanks to Leah and Amber bringing this amazing project to fruition.

Join the Memory Café

Begins Thursday, September 23, 2021Dr. Debra Sheets invites people living with memory loss and their families to join Memory Café Victoria—a comfortable and supportive group in which to socialize, meet new friends, engage in creative activities together and have fun! The fall session begins on September 23, 2021 and runs for 12 weeks, and includes 8 online sessions—involving music, movies and story creation and four face-to-face gatherings for adventures (e.g., Bateman Gallery, Royal BC Museum)! For information contact Dr. Debra Sheets, Professor School of Nursing, University of Victoria at 250-853-3947 or

Music of the High Holy Days

Monday, September 13, 2021, 7–8:30 pm—The Journeys in Jewish Music: Part 2 offered by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) opens on Monday, September 13, 2021, at 7:00 pm with Music of the High Holy Days presented by Moshe Denburg of the musical group Tzimmes. Moshe will share the deeper musical meaning of High Holy Day traditions by delving into the modes and melodies used at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to enhance the prayers and their meaning. Moshe will also focus on the cantillation system used in High Holy Day Torah readings. Musical examples, both recorded and live, will be presented, along with opportunities for singing along.

Moshe Denburg is an award-winning composer, arranger, and music educator whose works have been widely performed in Canada, the US, and internationally. Moshe hails from a well-known Montreal rabbinical family, and is known for his extensive knowledge of Jewish liturgy and musical practices. Moving west in 1982, he started the world-music ensemble Tzimmes in 1986 while studying composition at the University of Victoria. A life-long musician, Moshe studied in the US, Israel, India, and Japan, and is the founder of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (VICO), which brings together the instrumental and musical resources of many cultures.

To register for this session, please send an email to the following address:

About Journeys in Music: Part 2

2021-2022 UJA Campaign Launch

Sunday, September 12, 2021, at 11 am on Zoom—The Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island will hold its 2021-2022 UJA campaign launch event on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at 11:00 am, on Zoom.
Guest speaker will be Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. The topic is “Fighting Antisemitism,” and will include the implications of adopting International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, and the recent national summit on antisemitism. 
To register, CLICK HERE.