Return to In-Person Worship Services

Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 10 amIt’s not a dream nor is it a fantasy!
Dr. Bonnie Henry’s announcement on May 25, 2021, signalled the possibility of a return to “in-person” worship services in British Columbia. Our plan is to start small, and to build slowly and safely. During the past year, we have missed seeing you “in-person” and davening together in our beloved sanctuary.

We are pleased to announce that we will hold our initial post-lockdown sanctuary Shabbat service on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 10 am. As this is the first step in BC’s staged re-opening process, we can only accommodate 35 people. Preregistration is required, along with adherence to all health and safety protocols.

If you would like to attend, please REGISTER by emailing before Friday, June 18, 2021, at 3:30 pm.
The service will be broadcast on Zoom.

Rabbi Harry and Aaron Severs

Kabbalat Shabbat with a Thank You to Rabbi Matt

Friday, June 11, 2021, at 6 pm on Zoom—Join us for Candle-Lighting, Friday, June 11, 2021, at 6 pm for some spirited songs and music, storytelling, and a chance to say “Thank You” to Rabbi Matt for his valiant efforts in supporting us and ensuring that our Hebrew School flourished during this difficult, and sometimes harrowing, pandemic. Let’s also show our care for the whole Ponak family and send them into their future with blessings and gratitude.

Candle-Lighting ushering in Shabbat is a sustaining touchstone. Come connect with community and friends and bring Shabbat joy into all our lives. Looking forward to sharing Torah, blessings, and joy with all of you.

Rabbi Harry

Notes from your Newsletter Editor

# 1 Beginning with the June 18, 2021 Newsletter, the submission DEADLINE for item inclusion is noon the preceding Friday.
There are a variety of circumstances that prompt this change: an all-volunteer newsletter team; growing variability in publication readiness of submissions; incorporation of online links in items and the event schedule; and the need to better attend to privacy.

# 2 Since February 2021, we have adopted several measures to protect our congregant’s privacy:

  • The Congregation Emanu-El Newsletter is no longer published on Facebook or Twitter.
  • The Congregation Emanu-El Newsletter will not publish the pictures of individuals, who are neither “public figures” nor have a Facebook page, without their express consent.  
  • The Congregation Emanu-El Newsletter will not publish an individual’s phone number or personal email address without express consent.

This means that you may receive a request for CONSENT to publish your personal data that was/will be included in a newsletter item. If so, please respond promptly as we are working against a deadline.

#3 To help those who have forgotten, and those who may never have known, how to submit an item to the newsletter, here’s a link to this information.

#4 We have a temporary online newsletter editor joining us in July, so it is important that our processes efficiently include that person.
We need to be able to move in a step-wise fashion from the receipt of content through to its publication.

Sing a New Song to G!d

Monday, June 7, 2021, from 7:30 -8:45 pmJourneys of Jewish Music sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir welcomes Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel who will continue our series with Sing a New Song to G!d: New Prayer Compositions.

The phrase, “Sing a New Song to G!d” is found in several psalms. Rabbi Hanna—composer of new liturgical music—will explore the creation of soulful songs of Jewish prayer, and share her experience as part of a moment when new melodies were pouring into the world. She affirms that,  through inspiration and connection, one may open the heart to “the mystery” tapping into grace.

Rabbi Hanna  will share her own compositions, and some exquisite prayer songs currently flowing through gifted young composers. These songs invite the joy of transcendence, and the experience of oneness that bring about a kind of ecstasy for composer, listener, and those who sing. Rabbi Hanna is a poet and composer of mystical music, who has recorded eight albums of original liturgical compositions. With her husband, Rabbi Daniel, she has helped build and sustain communities in Vancouver BC, Hanover NH, and Boston, MA. She also serves as a spiritual guide in the ALEPH Clergy Program. 

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

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 978 7083 2754

VIJFF Brings on the Laughter with a Feel-Good Film Festival

The 7th annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) will introduce its 2021 program with a Feel-Good Film Festival running June 6-10, 2021, in VIJFF’s virtual cinema ( The Feel-Good Film Festival aims at creating a shared experience with the cathartic effects of comedy.

In addition to presenting two feature-length comedies and a heartwarming documentary, the  program opens with specially-curated stand-up comedy. The opening night live-streamed comedy event is from 7:30-8:30 pm on June 6, 2021, and hosted by NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, a Canadian Brooklyn-based comedian who will be joined by three other hilarious comedy acts. For your shared experience to go beyond the  screen, we are also offering special snack boxes (nosh boxes) crafted by Spinnakers and a “support local” initiative encouraging purchases from favourite local shops.
Festival participation is by donation. Visit for more information.

The spring Feel-Good Film Festival complements the VIJFF’s more expansive main fall festival, which will present seven films, narratives and documentaries.
The VIJFF is a program of the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria (JCCV).

Full-time Jewish Professional Wanted for Hillel UVic

Hillel BC is looking for an individual based in Victoria, to work with us in supporting Jewish students and staff at the University of Victoria. The position involves implementing programs, connecting with students, and creating a warm and welcoming environment for Jewish students throughout campus and at the Hillel House, based near the campus. The individual will work as part of the Hillel BC team.
For more information, please contact Lindsay Kerr at or CLICK HERE…

Join the Ḥallah Brigade

We know our members are missing one another. So your Membership Committee has an idea to help – just a little.
We are looking for volunteers who are willing to deliver ḥallah to our member households in the coming weeks. The ḥallot will be ready and waiting at the synagogue Social Hall on Fridays, along with a short list (about half a dozen) of addresses for delivery. We’ll match you with members in your area, to minimize driving time.
Please email to volunteer (we need lots of volunteers!) Help us give our fellow Congregation Emanu-El members a boost!

Nigunim: Ḥasidic Meditative Melodies

Monday, May 31, 2021 at 7:30 pm— The Journeys of Jewish Music series sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir continues with Rabbi Matt Ponak presenting Nigunim: Ḥasidic Meditative Melodies.

There are gates in heaven that cannot be opened except by melody and song.” — Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, 18th century

The Hebrew word nigun literally means “melody.” It is commonly understood as a meditative song without words. Since the origins of the Ḥasidic movement in the 1700s, nigunim (pl.) have been sung alone, or in groups, to cultivate an experiential connection with the Divine. Some nigunim are joyful, some are sad, others are deep and contemplative. Join Rabbi Matthew Ponak for an exploration of the different shades of Ḥasidic melodies through stories, teachings, and live singing. 

Rabbi Matthew Ponak is a musician and teacher of embodied transformation. His 2016 album Bridges of Song contains traditional and original nigunim with bluegrass instrumentation. Rabbi Matthew received ordination through Hebrew College Rabbinical School and also holds an MA in Contemplative Religions from the Buddhist-inspired Naropa University. He weaves world wisdom with ancient Jewish insights when he teaches and leads contemplative singing. 

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

For further information on Journeys in Jewish Music,  please consult: or contact Carol at:

Jewish Music & the Holocaust

Sunday, May 30, 2021, at 7 pmCongregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to join Dr. Suzanne Snizek, when she will introduce the concept of “suppressed music” through musical examples and biographical sketches, and discuss some of the contemporary issues and challenges related to reinstating music that was marginalized for racist and ideological reasons during the Shoah.

Suzanne Snizek has performed and presented extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Dr. Snizek’s groundbreaking research on Music in WWII British Internment Camps has been published by Böhlau Verlag-Vienna, Routledge-New York, the Council of Europe, Berghann-New York, Armand Colin-Paris, and online by the World ORT website.

A former winner of the national Flute Talk Magazine Competition, the UArts Concerto Competition, the New York Flute Club Competition and the Mid-South Young Artist Flute Competition, Suzanne Snizek has performed with the ESO (National Orchestra of Taiwan), and was an active freelance orchestral and chamber musician before receiving her DMA at UBC (Vancouver) in 2011. Currently an Associate Professor at the University of Victoria, Dr. Snizek released her critically acclaimed CD titled Chamber Music (Re)Discoveries in 2016, and subsequently received the 2017 REACH award for “Excellence in Creative Expression” from the University of Victoria.

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 851 7500 7001
Passcode: 141429

Donations to our Adult Education fund are always welcome. You may donate ONLINE or through the office at