Addicts: Why don’t they just stop using so they would stop dying?

Ramm HeringWednesday, December 11, 2019 at 7:00 pm, Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street — Dr. Ramm Hering will discuss “Addicts: Why don’t they just stop using so they would stop dying?”

Introduction: Medical science has developed a much better understanding of the neurobiology of addiction. Implementing evidence based policies is our best hope at decreasing the effects of the opioid crisis. But why is this such a challenge?

About Dr. Hering:

Dr. Hering is the Medical Director, Addiction Medicine for Island Health. He spearheaded the development of the Addiction Medicine Consult Service for Island Health and was the driving force behind the creation of a Rapid Access Addiction Clinic in Victoria. Dr. Hering serves as the Victoria Site Director for the British Columbia Centre on Substance Abuse (BCCSU) Addiction Medicine Fellowship program and works as a clinical consultant on various BCCSU projects.

Dr. Hering completed BSc and MSc (Neuroscience) degrees at McGill University, followed by his MD at the University of Calgary and a Family Medicine Residency at Dalhousie University. He then obtained a Diploma in Public Health – Health Services Management Stream and completed a Clinical Fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, University of Toronto.

  • Sponsored by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team.
  • Contact Heshi at if you have any questions.
  • Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served.





Introduction to Chanting Torah 2020


New course starts January 7, 2020 — Have you ever thought of learning to chant from the Torah?  Perhaps you have a family event, or the anniversary of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah approaching?  Or, you know how to read from the siddur and follow the prayers on Shabbat, but want to deepen your Jewish practice? If so, this course may be for you!
This beginner course unlocks many of the mysteries surrounding chanting or leyning Torah. It presents both the theoretical foundation plus practical hands-on sessions designed to learn the musical notes (“trop”) essential to singing from our holy book. The course is designed for beginners – or those who’d like a refresher – and who have a basic level of fluency in reading Hebrew and musicality.

Date:  Tuesdays January 7 – May 19, 2020
Time:  7:00 – 8:30 pm
Sessions:  15
Location:  Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria
Cost:  $118 synagogue members; $149  non-members
Prerequisite:   Hebrew Literacy 1 and 2, or equivalent
Resource (extra):  KINNOR Trope Trainer
Teacher:  Aaron Severs
For questions or more information:  please email Aaron at or phone him at 250-475-0686.

Creative Midrash

Creative MidrashSaturday, November 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street — Join Rabbi Harry Brechner for an interactive evening using art and drama to expand the sacred Torah narratives in a search for deeper meaning and insights. In the first part of the workshop we will experiment with hands on Midrash, using torn paper collage to unpack and explore stories from our Biblical ancestors. In the second half of the workshop we will employ techniques of “Bibliodrama” to flesh out poignant Torah narratives.

Rabbi Harry trained with Peter Pitzele the founder of Bibliodrama, a form of psychodrama that conjures up deep archetypes, often seeing Torah narrative through the lens of “a cast of internal characters,” allowing participants to traverse their inner worlds in search of personal insight and greater spiritual awareness.

This is the second presentation of Alternative Realities in Judaism series.  Admission is by donation; light refreshments will be served.

A magical moment

IMG_0323-001Rabbi Harry did not disappoint those magic seekers who came to the synagogue last Sunday to hear about Magic and the Rabbinate. He explained how traditional and non traditional Jewish teachings had lead him to various life serving understandings; that it is all “g-d” – the good and the bad, compassion is a trusty guide, let your ego go, know what you are loyal to and be willing to go down the “rabbit hole”. He suggested that folk religion may offer life affirming ideas when classical beliefs and practices fail to offer solace. He explained that there are settings in which it is preferable to sing a niggun rather than recite a prayer or to hold a special object (amulet) rather than a siddur.

Play Club

Play Club

Preliminary meeting on Monday, October 28, 7–8:30 pm at Congregation Emanu-El — Art, like the Torah, is meant to be interpreted. Come use your interpretive skills in conversation about plays and their meaning. Instead of asking whether we like or dislike a play, we will investigate how meaning is constructed, and ask questions about the play’s intentions and resonance. Continue reading Play Club

Magic and the Rabbinate

amulets for magic 1000

Sunday October 27, 2019 at 4 pm — Rabbi Harry Brechner will open our Alternative Realities in Judaism series on Sunday October 27, 2019 at 4 pm at the synagogue with a presentation, Magic and the Rabbinate, in which he explores the use of amulets and healing rituals in the context of liberal and rational Judaism. He will delve into issues about the mechanics of prayer, Divine Providence, power of ritual and seeing sacred artifacts as a means of recognizing and invoking the magic interwoven with the ordinary aspects of our lives.