How the Sephardim “Worlded”

Sephardim worldedSunday, March 24, 2019, 2 pm at Congregation Emanu-El — Andrew Gow and Francis Landy will delight us with tales of How the Sephardim “Worlded”. This is the fourth presentation in the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series sponsored by Congregation Emanu-El’s Education Team. Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served.

Pre-Isabellan medieval Spain lived on in the post 1492 Sephardic diaspora: in the 1920s a Spanish envoy remarked on the “purity” of the “Castillian” (Ladino) he encountered at Thessalonika in the 1920s. The Sephardim “worlded” an alternate or parallel Spanish empire, an empire consisting not of military conquest and oppression, but of a shared language and culture—a largely urban constellation characterized by commercial and intellectual vigour, an urbane and relatively relaxed religiosity (if not downright, apikorsut), and a simultaneous openness and clannishness that preserved such communities in splendid separation, whether in Salonika, Amsterdam, London, or New York, until well into the 20th century.

About the presenters:

AGOWAndrew Gow is a historian who has followed his family to Victoria to retire after a career of research and teaching about pre-modern European culture and religion at the University of Alberta (and elsewhere). He has written all the books and articles he cares to publish, and continues to edit both a series of scholarly monographs in his field and an 18-volume scholarly reference work on pre-modern Europe.

Francis LandyFrancis 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 is a member of Congregation Emanu-El. He has published a number of books and many articles, and is in particular a specialist in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible.  He has written on the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Hosea and other books, as well as the theory of the study of religion.






“What has the future ever done for me?”

Peggy RickOn Sunday, March 10 at Congregation Emanu-El in his talk about Unsustainability & Vancouver Island, Rick Kool remarked that we might not see significant results from effective sustainability efforts during our lifetime and that the “What has the future ever done for me?” (WFDM) attitude is a stumbling block to an effective communal approach to the environmental challenges we face. Pictured above are Peggy Wilmott (GVAT) and Rick Kool as they discuss the sustainability challenge with the audience. For more photos taken by Penny Tennenhouse & Frances Rosenberg…

How writing about the past challenges the novelist!

GG listens

An enthusiastic, overwhelmingly female audience gathered at the synagogue last Sunday to hear Gabriella Goliger speak about her novel Eva Solomon’s War. The audience appreciated the clarity with which Gabriella provided the background to the plot and to the historical setting. Continue reading How writing about the past challenges the novelist!

Unsustainability & Life on Vancouver Island

Unsustainability 2March 10, 2 pm at Congregation Emanuel — Dr. Richard Kool will speak to us about the sustainability challenges Vancouver Islanders face. Rick says, “We think of Vancouver Islanders as being green, eco-friendly and trying to be sustainable. And yet, our Island community is an enormous distance from living within the means of the island’s ecosystems and will be increasingly at risk from a changing climate.” Rick will present some of the sustainability challenges on Vancouver Island, some things that might be done, and some things that we are doing that are likely to not have much of an impact at all.

Rick is a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability and founder of the MA program in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University. Before joining Royal Roads, he worked at the BC Provincial Museum initially as an education officer and ending his time there as director of public programs. Rick served as the environmental education coordinator for the B.C. Ministry of Environment, and coordinated park interpretation within B.C. Parks, before joining Royal Roads in 2003.

Sponsored by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team.  Contact Heshi ( if you have any questions.

Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served.




An over-the-top Sephardic Celebración

I want to knowDespite the snow, about 100 people participated in the Sephardic Celebración at Congregation Emanu-El last Sunday afternoon. Betsi Boeno led off the program with a joyful presentation about Turkey and Sephardic Jews. Kouskous followed her with their earthy, sensuous Sephardic music and the afternoon wrapped-up with a buffet of tasty Sephardic delicacies. Mazel Tov for a delightful afternoon goes out to Betsi, Amber & Gary, the volunteer cooks, Rosalind & Yaaqov and their brigade de cuisine, Betsi, Amber, Ruth, Dahlia, Frances, Ellen & Rene and the Adult Education & Communications teams.
For more photos… (Penny Tennenhouse, Frances Rosenberg)

Sofer Dov Berger dedicates talk to Laurel Nahshon z”l

Explaining the "shir" detail!

This past Wednesday sofer Dov Berger, who dedicated his talk to the memory of Laurel Nahshon z”l, captivated the audience with the Sacred Craft of the Sofer. He explained the technical, educational and ethical aspects of the profession. He provided samples of the materials used by a sofer and examples of the problems encountered in the work. He concluded his talk in a ‘gather round an Emanu-El Torah scroll’ show & tell/Q&A wrap-up which the attendees enjoyed immensely.
For more photos by Penny Tennenhouse & Frances Rosenberg…

A Sephardic Celebración

sephardic celebracionSunday, February 10, 2019 2:30—5:00 pm — Join us for a fun celebration of Sephardic Jewish Culture. Come learn about the history of Turkish Sephardic Jews, sample Sephardic foods and listen to Sephardic Music at Congregation Emanu-El on Sunday, February 10 from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. This is the third presentation in the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series. Continue reading A Sephardic Celebración