I am elated to let you know that our Avodah team raised $6942 for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) campaign (more than double what we raised last year) and the third highest amount raised by the 58 Victoria teams. This impressive result is due to the outstanding enthusiasm exhibited by the team members every step of the way and the wonderful generosity of our 124 sponsors! It was most gratifying to see the heartfelt, generous support of our congregation and community for Our Place, our neighbours down the street. And, as heartening as it was to see the money raised, equally gratifying was the joyful time we had doing this together.
Here are some photosshowing members of our Avodah team on our COVID-19 compliant, Coldest Night of the Year walk on February 20, 2021 in aid of Our Place, the place of “hope and belonging” for so many in need in our city. Because of COVID-19, our team members couldn’t all walk together this year but we were very much together in spirit! With sincere thanks to those who contributed to making this important social action such a success and wonderful experience. Penny Tennenhouse Avodah CNOY Team Leader
Saturday, February 20, 2021—This year, the Coldest Night of the Year walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger will be a covid-safe and family-friendly one. Our Avodah members will walk independently or in their own “approved by Bonnie” bubbles, to raise money in support of Our Place. Don’t let this fundraiser succumb to COVID-19!
If you would like to support the Avodah initiative, please go to the Coldest Night of the Year website where you can donate to the Avodah team. You are welcome to contact Penny Tennenhouse at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like any further information.
Over the last few extraordinary weeks, as the COVID-19 pandemic created new hardships and special needs for homeless people, Avodah has been very active in providing much-needed bottles of water, camping gear and new underwear to the street community in Victoria.
Fortunately, bottled water and camping gear will no longer be required now that homeless people are, thankfully, being moved into temporary accommodation in hotels. However, the need for many services continues unabated to meet the huge challenges in supporting the most vulnerable in our community created by the pandemic.
Please consider donating to Avodah at this time. We will do our best to find opportunities to assist organizations with their valuable work in the field.
The synagogue office is closed but Zelda who is working from home can access the shul telephone messages. Send her an email or call 250 382 0615 and leave her a message indicating that you wish to donate to Avodah and she will get back to you.
Todah rabah for your generosity, Avodah Social Action Committee
Urgent Action needed: Spread compassion, Stop diseases. — You can help. Our homelessness service providers need more funding to respond to this crisis. Please donate generously to Avodah who will ensure all monies go directly to those organizations working on the front line.
On a typical night about 1,500 people in the CRD are homeless. These people face special challenges during this pandemic. Homeless people tend to be vulnerable to infections due to the combination of daily stress, chronic diseases, and poor nutrition. They often lack basic hygiene resources like sinks and clean toilets, and opportunities to bathe and wear clean clothes. They are often in crowded conditions and share food and cigarettes. Crowded shelters are particularly risky environments.
Public health officials advise people exposed to or infected by contagious diseases to stay home and minimize contact with other people. Quarantines are difficult enough for people with stable homes and reliable incomes; they are virtually impossible for people who are homeless or living in crowded or unhealthy homes. If they do become infected, they will need to stay in hospitals, using scarce beds, adding stresses and costs to overburdened public health services. Everybody benefits if we can reduce the risks of infectious diseases to homeless service providers’ clients, staff and volunteers.
Homeless service providers are acting to reduce infection risks, including more frequent cleaning of their facilities and equipment, and providing information and support to their clients. Some are closing service altogether. These efforts reduce risks to clients, staff and volunteers, but leave critical gaps and will be inadequate if COVID-19 becomes established in our community. On March 18, Our Place closed down its drop-in space, computer lab, courtyard, hygiene, and clothing area but plans to continue operating its washroom facilities, transitional housing, shelter spaces, and providing three daily meals. Cool Aid is closing its dental clinic and community centre. Our homelessness service providers need more funding to respond to this crisis. You can help. Our homelessness service providers need more funding to respond to this crisis. Please donate generously to Avodah who will ensure all monies go directly to those organizations working on the front line. The synagogue office is closed but Zelda can access the shul’s telephone number and is working from home. Send her an email or call (250)-382-0615 and if necessary leave a phone message, letting her know that you wish to donate and she will get back to you.
Kudos to the wonderful Avodah team of walkers for the Coldest Night of the Year Walk in aid of Our Place, the place of hope and belonging on Pandora Street! The team included: new Emanu-El youth coordinator Adele Mark, Tilly, Eva & Jordan Stanger-Ross, Michael Borins, Rachel Ditor, Ana Oppenheimer, Lucy Nerenberg, Bill Johnstone, Penny Tennenhouse & Nyomi Rosen. Continue reading Avodah takes silver!
On December 22, 2019, a crowd gathered in Centennial Square to celebrate the first night of Ḥanukkah. The musical headliner was the high-octane and popular Victoria High Rhythm and Blues Band. After lighting a large free-standing menorah (“shout out” to Ed Walker), the music and dancing began. Holiday joy, ruaḥ (spirit) and “horas” filled the square. Participants were invited to let their inner light shine amid the darkness of the season and, at times, our troubled world. Generosity and kindness led to many donations to the Avodah “8 for 8 campaign” to support the food bank at St. John the Divine. The backdrop of the “Lights of Wonder” exhibit encouraged more attendees than usual (too many to count!) to show up at the menorah lighting. Lastly, a heartfelt thanks goes to the Downtown Victoria Business Association who partnered with us in this successful and memorable evening. For more photos (taken by Penny Tennenhouse, Frances Aknai & Frances Rosenberg)…
Avodah got Ḥanukkah off to a delicious and freilach start with our 7th annual well-oiled Big Latke Lunch at Our Place. Our enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers, led by our exceptional latke-maker, Daryl Levine, fried and served an amazing 600 latkes while the ever-loving spirited Klezbians once again came to the aid of the party with their joyful klezmer music including the dedication of a special song to Rabbi Harry—the Rabbi’s Hornpipe and somehow getting Rabbi Harry and Penny to sing with them! Continue reading Avodah serves latkes at Our Place
On or before December 22, 2019 — Avodah invites you to bring 8 items – one for each night of Ḥanukkah to the Menorah Lighting in Centennial Square, Sunday, December 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm or to the synagogue office during office hours.
Let’s share our abundance with the Emergency Food Service at St. John the Divine.
Suggested non-perishable, new items for donation are:
• canned fruit • canned salmon
• tins of meat, chicken • granola bars
• condiments • honey
• jam • cereal, canned milk
• chunky soups • crackers
• cookies • margarine
• eggs • razorsCanned goods with pull tab tops are encouraged.Thank you from the Avodah Social Action Group!
Quadra Village Drop-In Program (QVDP) for youth is one of the programs Avodah is proud to support. Avodah’s Jackie Saunders-Ritchie and Penny Tennenhouse were thrilled to be invited recently to a special delicious and healthy lunch lovingly prepared by youth in the program for funders. It was a truly wonderful, enjoyable opportunity to meet the youth and the staff at Quadra Village and get to know them and their program better.
Avodah’s funding goes towards providing snacks for this program which runs two days a week Thursday and Friday for three hours each evening. The QVDP is for youth ages 10-18. An average of 20 youth comes to these two drop-ins on Thursday and Friday.
Tara Skobel, the Youth Program Coordinator says, “We have seen an increase of younger youth who are accessing our centre. These youth come hungry and rely on us for support and food. Your funding really helps us provide food for these youth in need during our drop-in hours.
“With your help we have been able to continue making full meals for the youth and providing healthy snack opportunities. They appreciate the options we provide which would not be possible without your generous donation! Your donation makes not only a huge difference in this program but in our youths’ lives! Thank you so much for your support!”