The Many Hands of the “Chuppah” Exhibit

full-chuppahOpens Sunday June 3, Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street — Opening at the synagogue on Sunday, June 3 2018, this exhibit tells the story of what inspired the hands of a multigenerational group of 14 women — artists, quilters, and designers — to create a new wedding canopy (chuppah) in celebration of the 150th anniversary (2013) of the consecration of Congregation Emanu-El synagogue.

This fabric masterpiece will be displayed along with panels of text and photos about the women who contributed a square to the chuppah. For each contributor, the panel will contain her photo, a photo of the square she contributed and a short description of what inspired her to participate in the project.

The exhibit will be located in the foyer adjacent to the Emanu-El synagogue kitchen. This exhibit will mark the fifth year since the wedding canopy was gifted to the synagogue and recognize the 155th year since the synagogue was consecrated.

This wedding canopy (chuppah) features 12 unique pieces surrounding a central panel of light and colour representing a stained glass window. In the time-honoured tradition of quilting bees, the chuppah was sewn using multiple materials and diverse techniques of hand stitching, machine stitching, embroidery, and paint.

The Many Hands of the Chuppah exhibit will be available for viewing throughout the summer until mid-August. Call the synagogue office (250-382-0615) during office hours, Tuesday to Thursday 9:30 to 2:30.


Calling All Artists “Encounters” Opening Gala


Sunday, June 3 from 2 – 5 pm Congregation Emanu-El — Divine–human interactions: What happens in this encounter? What does it look like and how is it reported and remembered? What are some examples in biblical and rabbinical tales? How do we understand God and how does that understanding affect our world view?

These are some of the questions that artists of different genres have been exploring with Rabbi Harry, in five sessions over the past winter. Now their interpretations will be shown in a celebratory Opening Gala on June 3, from 2 pm to 5 pm. Paintings, sculpture, mixed media, mosaic, and poetry will be hung on the walls of the synagogue Social Hall and the artists will discuss their creative process, while the poets will read their poems. “Art is Mishna”, states Rabbi Harry.

The art work will be on sale, and the Simcha Gift Shop will be open. There will be food, champagne, drinks, and schmoozing! You don’t want to miss this opportunity to honour art in the synagogue and the wider community. And in one of the display cases in the Social Hall will be art work from previous Calling All Artists projects.

The artists who participated in the Calling All Artists Encounters project are Dahlia Beck, Louise Crossgrove, Gail Davidson, Graham Dragushan, Joseph Finkleman, Susan Finkleman, Judith Fischer, Susan Holtz, Daryl Levine, Barbara Pelman, Karen Rowantree, Louis Sutker, Jean Sonmor, Devorah Stone, Kathy Switzer, Tobias Tomlinson, Amanda White and Maurice Yacowar.

Opening on the same day is an exhibit The Many Hands of the Chuppah featuring the wedding canopy (chuppah) created in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the consecration of Congregation Emanu-El synagogue and the stories behind its creation.

The Calling All Artists work and the Chuppah exhibit will be available for viewing throughout the summer until mid-August. Call the synagogue office (250-382-0615) during office hours, Tuesday to Thursday 9:30 to 2:30.

Making of an artist: Pnina Granirer

Pnina Talk publicityMay 2, 2018 at 7 pm Congregation Emanu-El — After a long career as a visual artist, Pnina Granirer published her memoir Light Within The Shadows last year. Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education Team invites you to the synagogue on May 2, 2018 at 7 pm when Pnina will share herstory with us.

Born in Romania in 1935, she moved to Israel in 1950, and came to Canada in 1965. Throughout her life she has created a large body of art while searching for beauty and spirituality. She will speak to us of her successes and failures and how issues of dislocation, otherness, being a woman and the uprooted soul’s wish for permanency and belonging shaped her art. She will offer us insight into how art is forged and released into the world.

Entry is by donation: book signing to follow: light refreshments will be served. 

 Pnina Granirer has exhibited her work locally, nationally and internationally since 1962. She has shown in more than eighty solo exhibitions. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, and in books and exhibition catalogues in Canada, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica and Chile. Her works are found in many private and public collections in Canada (some as cultural property donations), the US, Chile, Europe and Israel. Recently her triptyich Sorrow, Hope, Truth has been hung in Government House, Victoria BC.

Pnina Granirer: Celebrating a Life’s Work; a 40 Years Survey, her retrospective of 120 works at the Richmond Art Gallery in January 1998, reflected the artistic development over her long career. The lavishly illustrated book Pnina Granirer: Portrait of an Artist by Ted Lindberg (Ronsdale Press) was launched at the opening of the exhibition and a film on her work by Mehdi Ali was first screened in 2005 on Bravo!TV.

The Trials of Eve, a major work of 12 mixed media drawings and 12 poems, now in the collection of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta, was published as an Alcuin Citation Award limited edition book and later as a softcover. The book has been acquired by numerous Special Collections of Universities, Art Galleries and libraries as well as by private collectors. A film by the same title was first shown at the FIFA in Paris, and subsequently on Bravo!TV, on Knowledge Network and other venues.

In 1993 Granirer co-founded Artists in our Midst, the first ongoing Open Studio Walk in Vancouver, BC. For six years she organized and hosted Philosopher Art Cafes sponsored by Simon Fraser University.

In 2014 the artist was included in the encyclopedia of International Surrealism by Arturo Schwarz, Il Surrealismo — Ieri e oggi (Italy) and in a 5-page chapter of José Miguel Pérez Corrales’s Anthology, Surrealismo: El Oro del Tiempo (Spain).

Visit Pnina’s web site…for a review of Light Within the Shadows: A Painter’s Memoir…

Sandra Levy exhibit at Saanich Municipal Hall


November 1-28 — Sandra Levy, a member of the local Jewish Community, has an exhibit of her recent works, floral studies in oils, at Saanich Municipal Hall Second Floor Gallery, 770 Vernon Ave. that runs from November 1-28 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday.

Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Levy studied art at Concordia University, École des Beaux Arts de Montréal, and Arizona State University. She has done graduate work in fine arts and in biology. Her interest in the natural world is reflected in the use of trees, tree trunks, plants as subject matter, as well as nudes. Levy has works in private collections; the Liberal Arts College of Concordia University; the official residence of the Canadian government representative in Tokyo; and in the rental gallery of the Art Gallery of Victoria.

Valerie Wouters on Studio Tour

Poppies Val Woutens

November 4 & 5, 12 pm to 4:30 pm — The Oak Bay Parks, Recreation, and Culture 18th semi-annual Oak Bay Artists’ Studio Tour will take place Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5, from 12 pm to 4:30 pm. Congregant Micha Menczer’s wife, Val Wouters (see her painting above) is participating. Val says: “My work is an expression of what I see in nature and I use oils or encaustic medium as a vehicle for my perceptions.”

Many of Oak Bay’s established and emerging artists will use their homes and studios as backdrops to display original watercolour, acrylic, and oil paintings, fibre, photography, woodcuts, glass, and pottery creations. Val’s studio is located at 737 Transit Rd., Oak Bay.

The tour is juried and produced by Oak Bay Parks, Recreation, and Culture. Download the brochure or pick one up at Henderson, Monterery or Oak Bay Recreation Centre.

Sunday Jewish Art Program for Kids Ages 7 and Up

February 5, 19 and 26, 2–4 pm at the JCC


Kolot Mayim Reform Temple presents a Sunday Jewish Art
Program for Kids
ages 7 and up on February 5, 19 and 26, 2–4 pm, at the
Jewish Community Centre, 3636 Shelbourne Street, Victoria.  

The 3-session fee is $105 with all materials
included.  Course is being taught by
artist and art instructor, Susan Abrill.
Please email the instructor to register. 

View the program poster here.

Boy, were we fired up!


(Pictured: Devy Stone’s hanukkiah, before [left] and after firing. Photo: Penny Tennenhouse)

On November
16, an eager group of participants met at Fired Up! – a fun paint your
own pottery studio and tea bar where the group decorated an array of unpainted
ceramic pieces and transformed them into wonderful Jewish ritual objects.

Janis Diner Brinley introduced the evening and Rabbi Harry gave a short
teaching about “Hiddur Mitzvah”, the custom of
beautifying our ritual items. We learned about the “super sizing” of
ritual items in the late 20th century by comparing the size of Kiddush cups
from the late 19th century to contemporary items, and by examining the sizes of
mezuzah parchment.

Janis followed with a discussion of how embellishments on
ritual items have evolved since the Holocaust whereby standard lion, crown,
scroll adornments now include such decorative elements as pomegranates, doves
of peace, floral motifs, scenes of old Jerusalem and much more.

As we drank tea and contemplated colour choices, the room
was a hive of activity as we decided how to apply our own designs to Kiddush
cups, menorahs, mezuzahs and Seder plates.

Now Fired Up! has our pieces en route to the kiln. 

Salon showcases Emanu-El artists


Art Month
began last Sunday, November 6th, with a salon showcasing
four of Emanu-El’s talented artists. The host was Lincoln Shlensky who
introduced the artists and moderated the discussion following each

Dániel Péter
opened the presentations with his very modern composition, Kivrot
based on
a Torah portion in which the Israelites following their escape from Egypt
become dissatisfied with their diet of mana. God provides a flock of quails
upon which they fall and gorge themselves in a most insalubrious manner. Daniel
said that this piece is extremely difficult to play but it was executed to
perfection by world renowned flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor

, the director of Emanu-El’s own theatre company, Bēma Productions treated
us to a charming anecdotal account of Jewish theatre and with stories from her
own life’s experience in theatre including the years when, along with husband
Bill she was director and actor with Beth Israel Players, based in Calgary for
many years.

gave us a profound and moving account of the sentiments which animate
her poetry, following which we were able to listen to the delightful cadence of
her voice as she recited some of her published poems.

, a painter of international renown, told us about her childhood in an
orthodox family in Chicago and how she was ‘saved’, especially by her aunt
Molly. She further explained in a very poignant way, how her background has
influenced her art and showed us Aunt Molly appearing in many of her paintings.
We were privileged to hear Phyllis talk in a most intimate way about how
Emanu-El and Rabbi Harry have enabled her to find again spirituality in her

heartfelt thank you from a most grateful audience to all you talented artists
who participated in this hugely rich and diverse program!

Thank you
to Lincoln for so ably keeping time and moderating.

See the online album for other photos of the event. 

Kol haKavod l’koolam.

Lesley Wicks

Adult Education Committee

The Art of Marc Chagall: a painting class for kids

November 13, 2-4 pm, at the JCC

It is not too late to register! 

Kolot Mayim Reform Temple is offering The Art of Marc Chagall—a mixed age painting class for ages 7 and up! Sunday, November 13. 2-4 pm at the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, 3636 Shelbourne St.
No experience necessary- we will learn about Chagall together at the beginning of class. $30 per session. To register call or text 250-532-2982.
Taught by Susan Abrill– owner of Art Stars for over 10 years, artist, language specialist, MA and UVic teacher. Her knowledge as a teacher and exhibiting artist gives children a unique experience to learn how to paint like Chagall and learn about one of the most famous Jewish painters in the world.

Jewish Art Salon

Sunday, November 6, 2–4:30 pm


Join us for a “Jewish Art Salon” on Sunday, November 6, 2—4:30 pm,
at Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC, when four of our
acclaimed artists will talk about the influence of Judaism on their own particular
field of art.

Our artists:

  • Phyllis Serota, professional painter, works full time as
    a painter working in oil, acrylic, watercolour, and monotype.
  • Isa Milman, winner
    of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry 2005, 2009, 2013, has published
    three poetry collections, two chapbooks, and poems and articles in various
    literary publications.
  • Zelda Dean,
    Director Victoria’s Bēma Productions is a gifted director and actor with a
    wealth of theatrical experience in Calgary before moving to Victoria.
  • Dániel Péter Biró, Associate
    Professor, (Composition, Music Theory), School of Music, UVIC is a composer, researcher and teacher. Daniel will talk about his composition Kivrot Hata’avah which his colleague, flutist  Mark Takeshi McGregor will play.
  • Our host: Lincoln Shlensky, Associate Professor (cultural and media studies) Department of English, UVic.

Entry by donation