How writing about the past challenges the novelist!

GG listens

An enthusiastic, overwhelmingly female audience gathered at the synagogue last Sunday to hear Gabriella Goliger speak about her novel Eva Solomon’s War. The audience appreciated the clarity with which Gabriella provided the background to the plot and to the historical setting. Continue reading How writing about the past challenges the novelist!

A River Could Be a Tree

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Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 6:30 pm — Angela Himsel launches her memoir, “A River Could Be a Tree” on Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, UVic Engineering and Computer Sciences Building, Room 108.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Join Angela as she discusses her recent memoir about growing up in an apocalyptic fringe religion in Indiana and her journey to Judaism. Himsel’s seemingly impossible road from childhood cult to a committed Jewish life is traced in and around the major events of the 1970s and 80s with warmth, humor, and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights. A River Could Be a Tree is a fascinating story of struggle, doubt, and finally, personal fulfillment. Himsel is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York.

Book Launch: City in Colour

Wong in color.pngTuesday, November 7, 2018 – 7 to 9 pm at 1644 Hillside Avenue — Join Bolen Books in celebrating the release of May Q. Wong’s new book, City in Colour, a collection of rediscovered stories of Victoria’s pioneers, trailblazers, and community builders who were a people of diverse colour. It includes a story about Congregation Emanu-El, Judge Samuel D. Schultz, and Amelia Copperman. Meet the author, join in on a discussion about the unsung individuals of the city’s history, and pick up a signed copy of the book.

Often described as “more English than the English,” the city of Victoria has a much more ethnically diverse background than historical record and current literature reveal. Significant contributions were made by many people of colour with fascinating stories, including:

  • the Kanaka, or Hawaiian Islanders, who constructed Fort Victoria, and members of the Kanaka community such as Maria Mahoi and William Naukana
  • three Metis matriarchs—Amelia Connolly Douglas, Josette Legacé Work, and Isabelle M. Mainville Ross
  • the Victoria Voltigeurs, the earliest police presence in the Colony of Vancouver Island, and who were primarily men of colour
  • Grafton Tyler Brown, now known in the United States as one of the first and best African American artists of the American West
  • Manzo Nagano, Canada’s first recorded immigrant from Japan
  • and many more

With information about various cultural communities in early Victoria and significant dates, May Wong’s City in Colour is a collection of fascinating stories of unsung characters whose stories are at the heart of Victoria’s history.

Guide to Jewish Cemetery Draws a Crowd

Book SigningClose to 50 people came to the official book launch for the Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery written by Amber Woods and published by the Old Cemeteries Society. Rick Kool was the MC on behalf of Congregation Emanu-El and the Cemetery Committee. Short presentations were given by John Azar of the Old Cemeteries Society (OCS) and Amber Woods. Gary Cohen read a short biography as an illustration of one of the three anomalies of the Jewish Cemetery. Books were sold and signed in the social hall and a few Jewish desserts were served.

Shared Motion: Science and Spirituality

Shared Motion

Sunday, June 24 2 pm at Congregation Emanu-El —  Dvora Levin will launch her new book of poetry titled, Shared Motion: Science and Spirituality on Sunday, June 24 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Congregation Emanu-El. Dvora and friends will read selections from her new book. Light refreshments will be served. Books will be available for purchase.

Continue reading Shared Motion: Science and Spirituality

Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery

AmberJewishCemeteryOn Monday, June 18, 7:30 pm you are invited to attend the launch of Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery written by Amber Woods at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street. Copies of the book will be available for sale.

Continue reading Guide to Victoria’s Historic Jewish Cemetery

Imprint: A Memoir of Trauma in the Third Generation

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Sunday, June 10, 2:00 pm, Congregation Emanu-El — Claire Sicherman will speak about her book, Imprint: A Memoir of Trauma in the Third Generation, and how the Holocaust affects the third generation on Sunday, June 10 at 2:00 pm at the synagogue.  This event is sponsored by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team. Books will be available for purchase for $20 cash.

Claire Sicherman grew up reading Anne Frank and watching Schindler’s List with almost no knowledge of the Holocaust’s impact on her family. Her grandparents didn’t talk about their experiences and her mother grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia unaware that she was Jewish.

When her son nearly died at birth and her grandmother passed away, something inside her snapped. While she had always felt weighted down by unknown hurt, she suddenly suffered from chronic health conditions. Her heart held a grief so large it seemed to encompass more than her own lifetime – and she determined to find out why.

The Founding President of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, Dr. Robert Krell, calls Imprint a “thoughtful book, a powerful and helpful read for anyone dealing with the consequences of a painful past.”

Sicherman weaves together a story that honours her ancestors and also offers truth to the next generation – and her now nine-year-old son. A testament to the connections between mind and body, the past and present, Imprint is written with grace and strength, a story of love and survival.

Sicherman is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and Langara College. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies from UBC. She is a facilitator in a multi-generational writing group called Home Words Project. She has participated in a Corporeal Writing workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch and in Writing & The Body with Jennifer Pastiloff and Lidia Yuknavitch. Claire lives with her husband and son on Salt Spring Island.