Adult Education Programme, 5776

  • Regular Classes—Returning:
    • Mystic Mocha: weekly from Friday, Oct 9
    • Lunch & Learn: weekly from Tuesday, Oct 27
    • Morashah: dates TBA
    • Calling All Artists: One evening per month, from Tuesday Oct 27
  • Regular Classes—New: 
    • Beginner Hebrew: 10 classes from Wed October 7, 7pm
    • Ḥug Ivrit (Hebrew Circle): Conversational Hebrew from Nov. 3
    • Baby Yoga: Every Monday in November, 10:45 – 11:45 am
    • Aleph Through the Looking Glass: Wednesdays, Jan 20–Feb 24
    • Philosopher’s Cafe with Alan Rutkowski (dates TBA). 
  • Special Events—Autumn 2015: 

For more details, read on…

Mystic Mocha, 5776

Fridays, 12:30–1:30pm, from Oct 9th, at the Solstice Café on Pandora St.

Come explore the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Harry. Together we will mine classical Kabbalistic and Ḥassidic commentaries to find personal insights and spiritual nourishment, as we search for deeper meaning and understanding. Grab a nosh and join Rabbi Harry for this weekly learning.

Participation by donation


Thursdays, 7pm, at the synagogue

This class is intended for people who
have taken the Intro to Judaism class or any members who would like to deepen
their knowledge of what it means to live a Jewish life. Contact the office or
Rabbi Harry for more information. 

Lunch & Learn, 5776

Tuesdays, 12:30–1:30pm from Oct 13th, at the synagogue

Bring your dairy brown bag lunch and join Rabbi Harry for some spiritual nourishment at lunchtime. We take a particular text, then work our way through it over the weeks, through a progressive Torahitic lens. You will gain personal insight into and more profound meaning of, the weekly Torah portion. If you have a burning Jewish question we can address that too.  

Participation by donation

Calling All Artists

Tuesdays, October 27 onwards

Returns for a ninth season! Artists of all media—writers, graphic artists, visual artists, fabric artists, mixed media, musicians, dancers—are invited to study with Rabbi Harry on a particular theme, exploring biblical, rabbinical, and traditional commentaries. This year the theme will be the Revelation on Mt. Sinai, and the concept of revelation itself: what is revealed, what is hidden, what is known at a soul level, what cannot be known.

After 5 sessions of study, one evening per month, continuing until the end of February, artists will interpret the theme and present their work at a Gala Evening in June, around the time of Shavuot.

Art as Midrash—what could be more exciting?

Cost is $50 for members, $75 for non-members, with possible additional costs to create a chapbook of the artists’ work.  Watch this space for details of registration.

Beginner Hebrew

10 classes of 2 hours each, from Wed October 7, 7pm

Your Adult Ed team is delighted to welcome Betsy Boeno, who will teach our new beginner Hebrew class.  She will use the classic Hebrew alphabet, but the main focus of the course will be conversation and giving you the confidence to start speaking very quickly.

Betsy has extensive experience teaching Hebrew. She attended high school in Israel and helped new olim with their Hebrew.  For a number of years she was a tourist guide for visiting Israelis in Turkey, where she also taught Hebrew at a number of synagogues.  She taught a class here over the summer, and some of the comments from her students include:

“Betsy makes learning Hebrew such fun and you learn so much.”  

“She is so enthusiastic.”

“I go into her class feeling tired and lethargic and I come out completely re-energized.”

$100 for members, $140 for non-members.

Download the Registration Form

Ḥug Ivrit: Conversational Hebrew club

Tuesdays, November 3 onwards, 10:45–11:45 am

Conversational Hebrew with native speaker Dahlia Beck

Is your Hebrew well beyond the beginner level, but you know you require more practice speaking in order to improve your listening, comprehension and vocabulary skills? Our new Ḥug Ivrit may be just what you are looking for.  We’ll meet in informal settings, such as coffee shops and private homes, to immerse ourselves in Hebrew conversation and culture, under Dahlia’s careful guidance.

Just think, after only a few sessions you may find yourself discussing the news coming out of Israel, in HEBREW – how cool is that?  

Participation – by donation.

Details on places and times to be announced. How often Ḥug Ivrit meets will be decided at the first session.

Baby Yoga

Every Monday in November 10:45–11:45 am, at the synagogue.

Please come and join Yoga Therapist  Michelle Rubin & baby Hudson for this fun and therapeutic class. Michelle draws from 30 years of personal Yoga practice and has over a decade of local and international teaching experience.

Michelle & baby Hudson will lead you through simple but effective poses to help you reclaim your hips & shoulders while preparing your back for your ever growing bundle of joy.

  • Who is it for: Caregiver(s) & baby. Older siblings are welcome to join in and thankfully new resident bubbie (grandma) Barb Pelman will be on hand to help entertain them with storytelling and activities.
  • Cost: Donation to synagogue of $10 pre-register for all 5 classes OR $5 drop-in fee.  Please bring cash or cheque to first class.
  • What to bring : Yoga mat(s) & a comfy blanket or rug for baby.

For additional yoga information please email Michelle.

This is a great opportunity to meet and hang out with other parents of young children.

Forum on marijuana

Tuesday, November 24, 7pm at the Sanctuary

A very important forum on marijuana, led by experts in the field of medical research, the negative effects on society as a whole caused by the criminalization of its use, and how it can be safely decriminalized.  We will also hear from an experienced and respected grower of the plant.  Our own Rabbi Harry will moderate and discuss the halakhic implications of its use.

Watch for further details shortly.

Aleph Through the Looking Glass: The course

Wednesdays, Jan 20–Feb 24, 2016, at 7:00 pm, at the synagogue

After his acclaimed talks earlier this year, Jonathan Orr-Stav returns with a full five-lesson course to help you master Hebrew script quickly—ideal for any beginner to Hebrew.

This course is a revolutionary and highly effective way of learning the Hebrew aleph-bet. Basing it on his book of the same title, Orr-Stav shows how any literate English speaker can master the essentials of writing in Hebrew within five lessons, separately from the language itself, thanks to a historical kinship between the two alphabets, fundamental manual tendencies known as “chirodynamics”, and a little-known fact that most HFL (Hebrew as a Foreign Language) books would rather you didn’t know. The sessions are projected to be an hour each. Workbooks will be provided.

Cost: $50 to members, $70 to non-members. Orr-Stav’s book, Learn to Write the Hebrew Script: Aleph Through the Looking Glass will also be available at a discounted rate of $25 for anyone interested.  

Philosopher’s Café

Beginning in January and led by Alan Rutkowski.  We’ll meet informally in private homes to discuss Jewish philosophers based on readings, which Alan will provide prior to the meeting, so you’ll have a chance to consider them beforehand.

Possible philosophers will include Abraham Joshua Heschel, David Hartman, Joseph Soloveitchik, Martin Buber and Yeshayahu Leibowitz.  

Participation: by donation.  Watch this space for start dates and times

Aleph—back by popular demand

Due to popular demand, Jonathan Orr-Stav is repeating his fascinating talk on the Hebrew Aleph Bet. If you missed it the first time, now’s your chance!
Conventional Hebrew study materials teach the Hebrew script by rote, as though it bore no relation to the Roman script familiar to all English speakers. In this intriguing talk, based on his book of the same title (which will be available at cost of $30), Orr-Stav shows how it doesn’t have to be that way, and how any literate English speaker can master the essentials of writing in Hebrew within three lessons, separately from the language itself, thanks to historical kinship between the two alphabets, fundamental manual tendencies known as “Chirodynamics”, and a little-known fact that most HFL books would rather you didn’t know.
The session is projected to last about an hour and a half.

  • When: Monday, April 13, at 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street

For any questions about the course, please contact Jonathan Orr-Stav at or Ruthi Wicks.

Introduction to Torah – 5775

Learning to Chant from our Holy Book

New course starts January 12th

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!

The 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:  Mondays January 12 – May 11, 2015
  • Time:  7:00 – 8:30 pm
  • Sessions:  15
  • Location:  Social Hall, Fisher Educational Centre, Congregation Emanu-El
  • Cost:  $118  synagogue members; $149   non-members
  • Prerequisite:   Hebrew Literacy l and ll
  • Resource (extra):  Chanting the Hebrew Bible (Student Edition) by Joshua R. Jacobson
  • Teacher:  Aaron Severs

For questions or more information:  please email Aaron or phone him at 250-475-0686

Everyone can teach at Limmud


Would you like to share your knowledge and expertise with eager learners?

The First Limmud Vancouver was a smash hit. You can be part of the second annual weekend of learning Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2015.

Apply by Oct. 15 to lead a session on any topic with a Jewish component. Sessions for families and children are welcomed. New and seasoned presenters are invited to submit proposals to

Home hospitality will be arranged for anyone from Victoria who wishes to attend on Feb. 1 or if their session is chosen to present.

LimmudVan ’15 at the JCC and Eric Hamber Secondary.

For additional info:

Fall Hebrew Literacy Class

Biblical Hebrew Level I

with Gidi Nahshon

This is a beginner’s level course, and is designed for the individual with very little or no previous knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet.  You will be introduced to the Hebrew language, using the Shabbat evening service as a guide.  The goal of the class is to enable students to learn to read simple Hebrew prayers, including learning the melodies.

**Monday evenings at the Synagogue 7-9pm, starting October 20**

For fees and further information, please contact Lesley Lymbery at 250-479-2350 or and to register.

Adult Education Calendar for 5775

(fall-winter 2014-2015)

“Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.”

– Daniel J. Boorstin

Summer is winding down, the New Year is almost upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about learning so we can deepen our Jewish selves. Here is a summary of the events Adult Ed has planned for fall-winter 2014-2015. 

Regular Classes [bold letters indicates changes since the original notice]:

  • Hebrew Literacy Program: Level 1 Learn Hebrew with Gidi – Mondays, starting October 20 [new date] (to February 23, 2015), 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Mystic Mocha – Talk Talmud and Hassidic teachings with Rabbi harry at the Solstice Café on Pandora St. – Fridays, starting October 24, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Tuesday Lunch & Learn – Learn about the week’s parashah and other Torah wisdom – every other Tuesday [change] starting September 9, 12:30 to 1:30, at the synagogue 
  • Introduction to Judaism – For those interested in learning more about Judaism, whether they are already Jewish or considering choosing Judaism – Thursday, Nov. 13 @ 7:00 pm [change] at the shul
  • Morashah – For people who have taken the Intro to Judaism class or any members who would like to deepen their knowledge of what is means to live a Jewish life  – THURSDAYS, starting September 18, 7:00 pm, at the shul
  • Hebrew Poetry – Study Hebrew poetry with Gidi Nahshon and poet/teacher Barbara Pelman Wednesdays, starting October 22, 7:00 p.m.

Special Events

Besides our regular classes there will be several special events that are not to be missed. They include:

  • Shabbat Shebang – prayer, music and ice cream! (Friday, Sept. 19 and Friday, Dec. 5)
  • Baby Meet and Greet (Sunday, September 14)
  • Spiritual Preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Tuesday, Sept. 16)
  • Social Contract (Wednesday, Oct. 8)
  • Gabriola Retreat at Camp Miriam (Friday – Sunday, Oct. 10 – 12)
  • Get Bageled Party (Saturday, Nov. 15)
  • 17 Stories – world premiere (Saturday, Nov. 29, Sunday, Nov. 30)
  • Folkshul – Searching for Roots in Poland (TBA)
  • Limmud Vancouver (Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015)

This is a preliminary list. Further details about these events will be announced in the Newsletter as their dates approach. 

The full Adult Ed schedule containing dates, times and locations can be downloaded from the Web site so please visit it to get your copy and to watch for changes and updates. 

You can always contact the synagogue office or Heshi should you have any questions. 

Adult Education events, starting October

  • Parashat Hashavua – from Tuesday, Oct. 1
  • Mystic Mocha – from Friday, Oct. 18
  • Biblical Hebrew Level 1 – from Monday, Oct 21
  • Introduction to Judaism – from Thursday, Oct. 24
  • Hebrew School (cheder) for Adults – from Sunday, Oct. 27
  • Tichon Hebrew High – from Sunday, Oct. 27
  • Hebrew Poetry – from October 30 – January 22 (new dates!)

Parashat HaShavua – Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1

Come study the weekly Torah portion through the teachings of Talmudic Sages.  We study of the Torah Temmimah, a collection of Talmudic teachings that relate to the weekly Torah portion. Class meets Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm starting with Bereishit (Genesis) on October 1st.  For more information contact


 Mystic Mocha – Beginning Friday, Oct. 18

Come and explore the weekly Torah portion to search for deeper meaning and understanding.  Grab a nosh and join Rabbi Harry for this weekly learning.  Fridays at Solstice Café, Pandora Avenue from 12:30 to 1:30 pm.


Fall Hebrew Literacy Class: Biblical Hebrew Level 1

with Gidi Nahshon, from Monday, Oct. 21

This is a beginner’s level course, and is designed for the individual with very little or no previous knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet.  You will be introduced to the Hebrew language, using the Shabbat evening service as a guide.  The goal of the class is to enable students to learn to read simple Hebrew prayers, including learning the melodies.

**Monday evenings at the Synagogue 7-9 pm, starting October 21, 16 classes**.

NOTE: registration for this class is now over.


Introduction to Judaism

from Thursday, Oct. 24

This is a 13-session class that gives participants a macro-view of Judaism, spanning issues from Jewish law to holiday celebration, from learning the basics of keeping kosher and Shabbat to Jewish history and theology.  Classes begin on Oct. 24, 7:30 pm in the synagogue.  


Hebrew School (Cheder) for Adults – CANCELLED

from Sunday, Oct. 27

Dear Adult Hebrew School (Cheder) Students,

We have a glitch in our programming. There is no room at the shul for another class – ours. It is my hope that we will have our space issue solved by the Spring and will launch this class next year. Meanwhile if you were planning on attending and have an interest in learning basic Hebrew, learning about our holidays, blessings and the like let me know and we can try to work out some private lessons. Kol tuv,

– Rabbi Harry


Tichon Hebrew High

from Sunday, Oct. 27

Great Pizza dinners and conversation!  This year we will learn about Social Action from a Jewish perspective and we will perceive, plan and implement a meaningful project.  The first gathering on Sunday, October 27, 6:00 pm at Rabbi Harry’s home, 1373 Craigdarroch Road, Victoria.  Contact Rabbi Harry at if interested


Hebrew Poetry 

October 30 to January 22

Enter the world of Hebrew poetry through a unique combination of learning that will marry the mechanics and beauty of poetic expression with the exploration of the history, culture and context of Hebrew poets and the richness of the Hebrew language. Poems will be studied in the original Hebrew, with English translations. Knowledge of Hebrew will be helpful, but not necessary.  All are welcome to take this unique poetic journey through Jewish history. Co-taught by Hebrew language teacher Gidi Nahshon and poet/teacher Barbara Pelman.Wednesday evenings, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.Textbook: $35.00, Course fee: $150.00Please contact Elisheva Gray for further information or to register at 250-472-6408 or