Housing Presentation

Housing as a Human Right means Housing for All.
Time to make this a reality, not just a slogan

August 9, 7:30 p.m. – Join Emanu-El’s Avodah and GVAT’s Affordable Housing team, as we hear how GVAT has been engaging with member organizations to establish housing priorities and needs, and the achievable solutions it has been developing.

The presentation is a work in progress. Come be part of the process, for – in its final form – it will be the basis of GVAT’s campaign and the ASKS, to be made of candidates and politicians prior to the Elections

Join the Zoom discussion at us02web.zoom.us/j/89575080616?pwd=UDBzWWlLTlQ0bjBWOUlPenRqaVBSdz09

Summary of event details

Avodah Team: Mission Accomplished!

On The Coldest Night of the Year, 26 February, our enthusiastic Avodah Team walked the walk and raised $7,698.00 for Our Place!  Thanks to the Avodah volunteers and to everyone who donated—the Avodah Team was the #1 team out of the 65 in Victoria, raising the most money. A heartfelt thank-you to our wonderful Avodah walkers, volunteers, and sponsors: TOGETHER, we truly made a difference in our community where it is so needed.

Coldest Night of the Year

On February 26, our enthusiastic Avodah team will again be participating in the Coldest Night of the Year walk to raise money in support of Our Place, dedicated to serving vulnerable people in Victoria experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger . 

If you  wish to support this important Avodah initiative, please go to the Coldest Night of the Year website where you can donate to the Avodah team. Avodah is especially happy to let you know that in celebration of our beloved Annette Wigod’s recent 95th birthday, her daughter, Eve Abrams, will be walking with the Avodah team. Your sponsorship of Eve would be a wonderful way to honour Annette, a longtime active and dedicated member of Avodah. 

You are welcome to contact Penny: info@congregationemanuel.ca  if you would like any further information.

Summary of event details


The generosity of COBS Bread Bakery makes such a positive difference to families who frequent the Quadra Village Community Centre.

Every Monday at 6:00 PM, Brian Saunders, representing Avodah,  goes to COBS Bread at Royal Oak to be gifted with huge bags of unsold bread, rolls and wonderful pastries.

Early Tuesday morning, he unloads these treasures at the Quadra Village Community Centre where they are placed into smaller bags, ready for people to pick up.

This is another way Avodah is involved in assisting our many communities!

Join Avodah

Avodah invites you join us as we consider new projects.

To get the Zoom link for our next meeting (7:00 PM 8 February), please contact Aaron through the shul office: info@congregationemanuel.ca

Tikkun Olam: Warm Feet and Happy Hearts


“Of all the gifts we receive, the importance of socks cannot be overemphasized”

Rev. Al Tysick

Every year since 2005, Emanu-El member Michael Bloomfield has helped put socks on the feet of Victoria’s homeless population. To date, over 125,000 pairs of socks valued at $562,500 have been distributed. In 2019, Michael won the prestigious National Philanthropy Day award for Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer.

You can be a part of this year’s campaign by volunteering some time or donating to the Victoria Cool Aid Society: https://coolaid.org/socks

Michael first reached out to McGregor Socks, who responded generously. Today, PVH Legwear Canada makes McGregor socks and, together with the Victoria Cool Aid Society and other local social services agencies, Michael’s efforts distribute about 10,000 pairs of socks a year to the homeless in Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo and Salt Spring Island. La-Z-Boy Furniture generously ships the socks from Mississauga to Victoria.

All of this is possible because Michael’s compassion became action. Cold and wet feet are prone to infection, nail and skin diseases, fungus, and frostbite. 

“A gift of socks is a gift of health for our neighbours who are homeless

Don McTavish, Cool Aid’s Director of Housing and Shelters

Twenty-five pairs of socks costs $25 but any amount helps. 

For information or to volunteer, contact Michael Bloomfield though the Emanu-El office: info@congregationemanuel.ca

“These socks are a powerful manifestation of the teaching, Love your neighbour as you love yourself.”

Rabbi Harry

Contribute to The Good Food Box

Victoria’s affordable produce box

Victoria’s vulnerable are facing a food shortage; numerous ways exist so we can all be part of the solution. Congregation Emanuel-El’s social action committee, Avodah, is sponsoring two George Jay School families with large food boxes containing 10 to 13 varieties of veggies and fruit for a year.

Here’s an opportunity for you to order a food box for yourself or sponsor one for a family in need.

For further information visit the website at: thegoodfoodbox.ca or call 250-381-1552 ext. 100 to set up your weekly or bi-weekly prepaid order.

Avodah thanks CEE members for their support!

Avodah food bank donations
Avodah Social Action supports Food Bank at St. John’s

Avodah Social Action Group expresses gratitude to members of the Congregation Emanu-El for their substantial contributions to the Food Bank at St John the Divine at the public menorah  lighting on December 5th.

$380 dollars and a full car load of non-perishable items, food and toiletries were donated at the event. Some members also donated directly through the Canada Helps website.

Your kind gesture will ensure that individuals and families will be better cared for in this inner city neighbourhood. 

Public Menorah Lighting: The Light of Tzedakah, Righteous Giving

In Honour of Reverend Al Tysick

On December 5th, a Public Menorah Lighting was held at Centennial Square. It was a wonderful evening filled with spirit and celebration – in essence a glorious Hanukkah street party! This year’s theme was the Light of Tzedakah, of Righteous Giving. 

It was our privilege to honour Reverend Al Tysick, a person who powerfully exemplifies Tzedakah via his words and deeds. Rabbi Harry spoke of how Rev. Al has brought light, hope and comfort to members of Victoria’s street and vulnerable community for many decades.  

A giant Hanukkah menorah (hanukkiah) was lit for the eighth night of the Jewish Festival of Lights.  The musical headliner was none other than the fabulous klezmer group, The Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra.  They belted out klezmer songs, Hanukkah tunes, and much more to get the audience fired up. The many attendees were singing, dancing, and simply sharing their joy and gratitude about being able to celebrate Hanukkah in person for the first time in two years.

The Avodah Social Action team collected non-perishable food and cash donations to support the food bank at St. John the Divine. Thanks go out to the Downtown Victoria Business Association for their support, and to the many others who made this an enchanted evening to remember!  

Please see photos attached, and a link to an article in the Times Colonist below.


from the Religious Services Committee

Food Bank Donation Tips

Food Bank donation suggestions

A reader shares these tips for those planning to make a food bank donation at the public Menorah Lighting on December 5th. She says:

Friend spent some time at a Food Bank today, and spoke to the people getting food. Here are some things She learned from those in need…

from a reader of the Congregation Emanu-El newsletter
  • Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. This can rarely be used as it needs milk and butter, which is hard to get from regular food banks
  • Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal
  • Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles
  • People can’t eat canned veggies and soup unless you also donate a can-opener or choose cans with pop tops
  • Rice a-Roni also requires oil, which is a luxury
  • Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Christmas gift
  • Tea bags and coffee make them feel like you care
  • Sugar and flour are treats
  • Tuna and crackers make a good lunch
  • Hamburger Helper requires ground beef and food banks rarely offer fresh meat
  • They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but usually not sandwich bread
  • Butter or margarine is nice too
  • Eggs are a real commodity
  • Cake mix and frosting makes it possible to make a child’s birthday cake
  • Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated
  • Feminine hygiene products are a luxury that women deeply appreciate

About Emanu-El’s Avodah Social Action Team

Avodah allows me to live my values. As a group, we contribute to the well-being of the often forgotten and vulnerable members of our Victoria community.  We do this through both direct interaction and financial support.  Talk is easy.  As a synagogue member of Avodah, I believe in action!”—Jackie

“It [moved] me… Rabbi Harry’s vision/invitation/challenge in 2003: to get involved in creating a social action group, Avodah, within our synagogue, a group that would translate our Jewish values of lovingkindness for our neighbours into action. I responded in a heartbeat—and am still, 18 years later, to my own astonishment, deeply involved. I am grateful for and proud of Avodah.”—Penny

Continue reading About Emanu-El’s Avodah Social Action Team