An Exploration of Heroes

Banksy's Game ChangerAt our Tikkun Leil Shavuot on May 28, 2020 (6 Sivan 5780), Aaron Severs shared his passion for superheroes beginning with an introduction to these comic characters and ending with a remarkable testimonial for our Victoria COVID-19 heroes.

Heroes are made, not born. They are admired by many people for doing something brave. They flash into public view, and dazzle us with courageous and selfless acts. Despite their noble achievements, heroes are not perfect. Continue reading An Exploration of Heroes

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

Virus as a teacher

Rick Kool (2019_03_13 23_20_58 UTC)

I’ve always felt that one of the basic roles of a teacher is to reveal things that are hidden. My most memorable and influential teachers were those that gave me insight into things that I never saw, never saw about myself or about the world around me.

I was reminded of the Wizard of Oz, who once outed for not being a real wizard, showed he was a good teacher, revealing to the lion his bravery, the straw man his brain, the tin man his heart, and Dorothy a way to go home. His teaching, for those students, would have been profound and transforming. Continue reading Virus as a teacher

Zelda Dean: Focus on Victoria article

Zelda DeanArtist Elfrida Schragen has painted portraits of Victoria women as a fundraiser for Our Place.  Zelda’s portrait and description is the last one.  To read the article “Artist Elfrida Schragen’s art show—originally planned for May—is online now, with all proceeds helping those in deep need during the Covid-19 crisis” by Molly Kaye, please click on the link:

Tikkun Leil Shavuot: Revelations amidst a pandemic

Shavuot 2020 1.3Thursday, May 28, 2020 8 pm to a little after midnightA program of Torah learning for Shavuot which marks the time Torah was revealed to all of us through our ancestors at Mount Sinai.

Who: Any one interested in expansive and meaningful Torah study with a remarkable line up of fascinating teachers—see the lineup below.

What: An expanded program of Torah learning for Shavuot which marks the time Torah was revealed to all of us through our ancestors at Mount Sinai. Continue reading Tikkun Leil Shavuot: Revelations amidst a pandemic


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



And the entire community zoomed along with Tillie

Tillie is Bat Mitzvah 1000“We want to thank the entire Emanu-El community for helping make Tillie’s zoom Bat Mitzvah such a wonderful celebration. At one point, 93 households were on the zoom feed! It was really meaningful to us to “see” you all there, listening and praying and singing along with us. We didn’t know what to expect when we planned a zoom Bat Mitzvah, we just knew there wasn’t another good alternative. The experience so exceeded our expectations; we really felt the love come through the feed, and are so grateful to be part of such a warm and supportive community.” The Stanger-Ross family! Continue reading And the entire community zoomed along with Tillie

Tillie Stanger-Ross is Bat Mitzvah

Tillie Stanger RossSaturday, May 23, 2020, 10 am – 12 pm — While perhaps a bit different than the ceremony they had originally envisioned, the Stanger-Ross family are delighted to invite you to share in their joy when their daughter, Tillie becomes Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, May 23, 2020, 10 am – 12 pm. This will be our synagogue’s first Zoom Bnei Mitzvah. We may not be able to hug, throw candy, or shmooze over bagels and coffee—but a simḥah is a simḥah, even on a screen. All are welcome.

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