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.

Alternative Realities in Judaism

Picture1The Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team has arranged a series of sessions inviting us to examine some aspects of Judaism that fall outside what we might consider conventional Jewish wisdom.

Sunday, Oct 27, 2019, 4 pm: Magic and the Rabbinate

  • Rabbi Harry explores using amulets and healing rituals in the context of liberal and rational Judaism.

Saturday, Nov 23, 2019, 7 pm: Creative Midrash

  • Join Rabbi Harry and friends in an interactive evening using art and drama to expand on sacred Torah narratives in a search for deeper meaning and insights.

Sunday, Jan 5, 2020, 4 pm: Kafka and Secular Jewish Mysticism

  • Lee Henderson will take a look at the life and work of the great 20th century Jewish writer Franz Kafka and his relationship to Tanakh, the tales of Rabbi Nachman, the Midrash, Kaballah, contemporary secular political ideologies.

Sunday, Feb 2, 2020, 4 pm: Jewish Shamanism

  • Francis Landy will discuss aspects of shamanism, a term for a cross-cultural religious orientation which seeks to access alternative states of consciousness, in Judaism from the prophets through medieval and post-medieval Kabbalah to the present day.

Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, 4 pm: Renewing Jewish Spirituality after the Holocaust

  • Rabbi Daniel Siegel will guide us as we look at ways to renew our Judaism with a particular emphasis on Ḥasidism and neo-Ḥasidism.

Sessions will be held in Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria.

Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served. Contact Heshi ( if you have any questions.


The Latest on Israel Today

FL Trip Talk 1000POSTPONED — Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to join them on Wednesday, September 18 at 7 pm for a presentation by Dr. Francis Landy on “The Latest on Israel Today”. Admission is by donation; refreshments will be served.

In May 2019, Emanu-El member and Torah reader Francis Landy, took part in a study tour in Israel organized by the New Israel Fund, which gives grants to about 70 Israeli human rights and civil society organizations. Francis’ group had the opportunity to speak to and go on tours with representatives of 11 or 12 of the sponsored agencies. The overwhelming impression was of the urgency and intensity of the problems facing Israel, and the many wonderful people and groups who are working together to make Israel a more hopeful and more sustainable society, across its many political and cultural divisions.

Highlights included a visit to Givat Haviva which has an arts centre and a centre for Arab-Jewish education, an afternoon spent with Segal from the African Migrants’ hotline centre, wandering around South Tel Aviv, and a day in Jaffa with Re’ut, an Arab-Jewish youth cooperation network. And, of course, the food!

Francis Landy



Francis 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 has published a number of books and many articles, and is a specialist in the poetry of the Hebrew Bible.  He is a member of Congregation Emanu-El synagogue.



Two states – a hopeful opinion!

A hopeful opinionOn Wednesday May 1, Tal Svoray, Israeli citizen and visiting professor from Ben-Gurion University spoke with clarity and hope at Congregation Emanu-El to an engaged but somewhat skeptical audience about why he believes Israel will pursue a solution to the Palestinian question, why two states is the only tenable answer and what the solution would involve.

Two is greater than One

Tal Talk PNWednesday, May 1, 2019, 7 pm, Congregation Emanuel, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria — Invited by Rabbi Harry, Tal Svoray, Professor, Ben-Gurion University, Department of Geography and Environmental Development currently in Victoria on Sabbatical will speak to us about current affairs in Israel on May 1, 2019 7 pm at the synagogue. Tal will speak to us, not as a “professor” but as a native of Israel, a member of the Six Day War baby boom, someone who is contemplating the fate of Israel over the next 100 years rather than just a few years or months, as one who considers the big clock ticking over Israel’s head is the “Palestinian question” and as one who believes in a two state solution.


The Sephardic Odyssey: A Tale of Twos

IMG_0182On Sunday, March 24 our two wonderful professors, Francis Landy and Andrew Gow provided a spirited account of the dispersion of the Sephardic Jews: how it had occurred in two phases and how this had resulted in the existence of two very distinct types of Sephardic Jew. Continue reading The Sephardic Odyssey: A Tale of Twos

Judaism – An Introduction


Join Rabbi Harry Brechner from Congregation Emanu-El for this informative 10-week course, which introduces Jewish beliefs, practice and history. The course reflects egalitarian Conservative Judaism: the topics include holidays, life cycle celebrations, theology and core beliefs, prayer, Jewish sacred texts, history, the Holocaust, and Israel. This course is open to anyone wishing to explore the many facets of Judaism. Continue reading Judaism – An Introduction