Jewish Art Month upcoming


November 6 (2pm) & 16 (6:30–9:00pm)

Congregation Emanu-El has designated November 2016 as Jewish Art Month (JAM) and celebratory plans are underway. The festivities will include a Jewish Art Salon, and a Judaica Workshop. Mark the following on your calendars:

  • Sunday, November 6, 2 pm: We will launch the month with a “Jewish Art Salon” at which four of our own acclaimed artists will talk about the influence of Judaism on their own particular field of art. Phyllis Serota will speak about painting, Isa Milman about writing, Zelda Dean about theatre, and Daniel Biro about music. 

    Lincoln Shlensky will host the event.

  • Wednesday, November 16, 6:30-9:00 pmCreate your own
    beautiful Judaica piece!
    Janis Diner Brinley, a local artist and outstanding art educator, and Rabbi
    Harry for a Judaica workshop on Wednesday, November 16, from 6:30-9:00 pm at Fired Up ceramics studio, 1801 Fort Street in Victoria. Learn
    about hiddur mitzvah and the enhancement of mitzvot through beautiful
    ritual objects. Learn about the meanings and intentions connected to certain
    ritual objects as you craft your very own piece of Judaica. Participants can
    choose to paint and decorate from the following ceramic ritual items—menorot,
    mezuzot, kiddush cups, or seder plates. Janis will teach about
    technique and about traditional and modern motifs. Space is limited to 12 
  • Costs: 
    • Workshop: Members $10: Non-members $15   
    • Objects: from $12 to $60,
      depending on choice

Drawing & watercolour workshop

July 26, 28; Aug. 2, 4; Aug. 9,11—10:30am–12:30pm


Just what you’ve been waiting for—the
annual summer backyard art class!

Tailored for you –
drawing and watercolour for beginners and continuing students.  

YES YOU CAN learn to draw!

  • I will
    teach you how to improve your powers of observation and apply various rendering
    techniques to create exciting
    drawings of natural subjects
  • or
    perhaps you could branch out into the abstract.


  • You
    might prefer to explore the essence and details of nature through painting in
  • Learn
    colour theory and paint handling techniques to develop spirited watercolours.

the end of the workshop you will gain confidence and acceptance of your

Diner Brinley – a talented artist/art teacher with over 40 years teaching/art

6 classes (limited
enrolment), $180. 

To register, or for more information, email Janis, or tel.  250–595-8841

The Revelation Project: pictures

The turnout
was wonderful for The Gala Opening of The Revelation Project that took place
Sunday, June 5 in the synagogue’s Social Hall. 

Artists of various
types—writers, graphic artists, visual artists, fabric and mixed media spent a
few minutes commenting on their work. 

To view the pictures taken by our synagogue photographer, Penny Tennenhouse, please click here.

Open House at Phyllis Serota’s home and studio


February 14, 2016 from 1 to 5 pm

Valentine’s Day, Phyllis Serota welcomes visitors to her home and studio in
. Selected paintings will be offered at
substantial discount prices. Wine and hors-d’oeuvres will be served. If you are
unable to attend the show and would like an advance viewing, call Phyllis at 250.385.6933 or email

For more information, see

Jeffrey Wynne: “Raw Earths and Railway Spikes”

January 7–24, at Fifty Fifty Arts Collective


Jeffrey Wynne—a graduate of Congregation Emanu-El’s B’nei Mitzvah studies and now an artist in Vancouver, is inviting everyone to the opening of his latest exhibition, Raw Earths and Railway Spikes—Amidst Ghosts of Future History, at the Fifty Fifty Arts Collective at 2516 Douglas St., Victoria, on January 7th, 7:00pm. The exhibition continues until January 24th.

Several of the works on show will be on Jewish themes. Raw Earths and Railway Spikes: Amidst Ghosts of Future History is a remembrance of truths that will never be known. It is a story about the colonization of Western Canada, of histories of resource extraction, and of shifting settler identities amidst the faces of national mythology.

For more information, see Fifty Fifty Arts’ Facebook page

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