Brown Bag Beit Midrash and Mystic Moka online

PHOTO-2020-03-17-22-42-003Last week Mystic Moka and Brown Bag Beit Midrash moved online/over-the-phone with the sessions extended by one hour. From now on, Brown Bag Beit Midrash will run on Tuesdays from 12:30-2:30 pm & Mystic Moka on Fridays from 12:30-2:30 pm. The classes are run through the program ZOOM, which can be accessed on-line or by phoning in. If you have not used this program before, please call in or log-in 10 minutes before it starts, in case you have issues. If it is your first time using it online, the link below will guide you through downloading the “app” and then take you into the meeting.

Here’s how to participate:

1. Join online: 
Click this link:
Meeting ID:208 422 038
No password required
2. Regular Dial-in:
Call: 1 (778) 907-2071
Meeting ID: 208 422 038
No password required

Here’s an article you might find helpful: ‘How To Use Zoom Video Conferencing During Coronavirus Social Distancing’…

POSTPONED – Memory, Identity & the Romanian Shoah

Memory postponed 1000This program is postponed—Join us for a  multi-media program celebrating the post holocaust renewal of Jewish Romanian culture using music, photos and conversations on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm in Congregation Emanu-El,  1461 Blanshard Street.  The presenter will be Julia Herzog and the accompanying musicians will be: Amy Paster, Rick Kool, Lucy Nerenberg, Sammy Herzog, Julia Herzog. Continue reading POSTPONED – Memory, Identity & the Romanian Shoah

Ssh! Don’t tell the secret meaning of Purim!

Purim Secrets 2Sunday, March 1, 2020, 7-9 pm at Congregation Emanu-El—Why do we wear masks on Purim? Why do we party and drink alcohol? Why did the early rabbis say that Purim will be the only holiday that exists in the messianic era, when all other holidays are gone? And, most of all, why has all this juicy information been kept secret for so long? Join Rabbi Matt Ponak for a mystical look at the inner dimensions of this ancient holiday. This class is a spiritual preparation for Purim, a holiday that takes us beyond good and evil and into the unity of all existence.  This event is for teens and adults only.

Bridging Heaven and Earth: Introduction to Kabbalah with Rabbi Matt

kabbalahThursday February 27, 7:30 pm— Join Rabbi Matt for an introduction to Kabbalah in Rabbi Matt and Melina’s home (aka the Brechner’s). Come 20 minutes early to have snacks and schmooze.

The Zohar, a secretive and coded medieval book, is the magnum opus of Kabbalistic thought! In this class we will be begin to uncover its layers. We will look at: What is Kabbalah? What are Sephirot [Divine Emanations]? Why do people say we cannot study Kabbalah until the age of 40?

The word Kabbalah, often incorrectly used as a synonym for all of Jewish mysticism, means “receiving” or “tradition.” Kabbalah appeared seemingly out of nowhere in the middle ages and ushered in a brand new era of spirituality in the Jewish world. Written in Spanish-influenced Aramaic in the 13th century, the Zohar [The Book of Enlightenment] introduced a radical new theology, deeply informed by the spiritual experiences of its authors. Though Kabbalah became more contentious in the late middle-ages and modern era, at one time it was widely studied by Torah scholars of every ilk. Come and join Rabbi Matt for an accessible introduction to this esoteric text and the experiences embedded within.

For more information: Contact Congregation Emanu-El
(T: 250-382-0615 or E: )

Sage Tea

Sage TeaSage Tea is a gathering of Emanu-El elders who come together twice a month for tea, torah and discussion at 2 pm at Adele Vernon’s home. Come join old and new friends for an afternoon of schmoozing, learning, connecting and some nosh. Bring nothing other than an open mind and a desire to socialize. Please RSVP to Adele at 778-440-4096. If you need help with transportation, please let Adele know and we will do our best to find you a ride.

Renewing Jewish spirituality after the holocaust

Jewish Spirituality1000Sunday, February 23, 2020, 4 pm at Congregation Emanu-El—The Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites the community to attend the fifth presentation in the Alternative Realities in Judaism series featuring Rabbi Daniel Siegel discussing Renewing Jewish Spirituality after the holocaust on Sunday February 23, 2020 at 4 pm. Entry is by donation: light refreshments will be served.

There is little doubt that the combination of the European tragedy, the creation of the State of Israel, and the growing awareness of the need to transcend tribalism have combined to mount a strong challenge to traditional forms of Jewish identity. In this session, Rabbi Daniel Siegel will guide us as we look at ways to renew our Judaism with a particular emphasis on Ḥasidism and neo-Ḥasidism.

image-assetRabbi Daniel was the Rabbinic Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and is currently the Rabbinic Director of ALEPH Canada. As the founding director of the Integral Halachah Institute, he organizes teleconferencing classes, edits and publishes the teachings of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and others, is the editor of Siddur Kol Koreh and other resources for prayer. As the first Dayan in ALEPH, he responds to questions and has written extensively on halachic issues. His writings can be found in his blog and in the ALEPH ReSources Catalogue ( He has served the ALEPH Rabbinic Program as Associate Dean, teacher, and director of studies. He is a trained mediator and is deeply involved in his local, Hornby Island community.

He is married to Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel, the father of Noah, Shefa, and Elisha, and grandfather to Eden and Avna.



Kafka and Secular Jewish Mysticism

Kafka postponed!POSTPONED from Sunday, January 5, 2020 due to illness. Will announce new date when available. —The Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to the third presentation in the Alternative Realities in Judaism series when 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, as well as contemporary secular political ideologies.

Kafka and Secular Jewish Mysticism

Lee & Kafka 1000

Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 4 pm at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard St.  — The Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to the third presentation in the Alternative Realities in Judaism series when 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, as well as contemporary secular political ideologies. Continue reading Kafka and Secular Jewish Mysticism

Why addicts don’t stop using

P1050680 (2)Rabbi Harry welcomes Dr. Ramm Hering who provided an insightful talk on ‘why addicts don’t stop using’ to a group of congregants and guests last Wednesday at the synagogue. Many attendees expressed appreciation for the perspective on addiction and the opioid crisis that he provided. Todah Rabah, Ramm! As a tangible expression of thanks to the Lekwungen People for allowing us to assemble for worship, study and play on their lands, a portion of the donations collected at this talk will be given to the Victoria Native Friendship Centre.

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.