With a heavy heart that is also holding hope and light, I need to tell you that we will move to online services for the next few weeks. For the safety of all of us, not only those who attend services but also those who depend upon our Outreach and pastoral care, we need to do our part to keep our whole community safe. Our hope is that, once the intensity of this Omicron wave passes, we will be able to return with strength to in-person prayer.
Our Zoom-only services provide a way for us to connect to one another in a prayerful context. Let’s not let the pandemic eclipse the need for us to lift one another up in times of sorrow and turmoil nor to celebrate joyful life passages and achievement. As we enter another episode of intentional semi-isolation, the online platforms offer us an opportunity to reach out and check-in with one another. Prayer is understood as “avodat halev,” the service of the heart. Please have a heart and help do your part in supporting both our Shabbat morning service and our weekly minyan on Thursdays, which are both now online on Zoom. I know that seeing folks–even in a tiny box on a computer screen–lightens my heart.
Below are recurring links to our Shabbat and Thursday morning Service, as well as the link to this Sunday’s Tu B’Shevat Seder.
Beginning Saturday, November 20, 2021, Congregation Emanu-El will require that persons (12 years and older) provide proof of full vaccination prior to attending Religious Services. You can send the office a copy of your Proof of Vaccination. We will verify it and retain on file only a record that you have presented proof of vaccination.
Preregistration is a requirement for all Religious Services. When you have preregistered, our volunteer greeters will know if your proof of vaccination has already been verified. Our volunteer at the door may still ask to see photo ID. You can also present your proof of vaccination at the door, but for ease of operation, we ask that you try to submit your proof of vaccination to the office in advance.
Masking and physical distancing within the synagogue remain Emanu-El policy.
This change is a response to the wishes of many members. Emanu-El’s COVID-19 Committee met and made recommendations to the Board, who ruled that this change represented the safest practice. Thanks to everyone for your continued commitment to our community.
Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 10 am—It’s not a dream nor is it a fantasy! Dr. Bonnie Henry’s announcement on May 25, 2021, signalled the possibility of a return to “in-person” worship services in British Columbia. Our plan is to start small, and to build slowly and safely. During the past year, we have missed seeing you “in-person” and davening together in our beloved sanctuary.
We are pleased to announce that we will hold our initial post-lockdown sanctuary Shabbat service on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 10 am. As this is the first step in BC’s staged re-opening process, we can only accommodate 35 people. Preregistration is required, along with adherence to all health and safety protocols.
If you would like to attend, please REGISTER by emailing email@example.com before Friday, June 18, 2021, at 3:30 pm. The service will be broadcast on Zoom.
Here is the introduction to the blessings over the candles provided by Gabbai Aaron Severs at our congregational Zoom Ḥanukkah celebration on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.
“To begin, I’d like to say just how thrilled I am to see so many of you here on Zoom this evening. Normally, we would be holding the event outdoors in Centennial Square with a huge life-size Ḥanukkiah. The Victoria High Rhythm & Blues band would be playing their hearts out and we’d be having a raucous dance party. In 2020, we find ourselves in a unique and challenging year. Fortunately, we are still able to gather and share our light and warmth via the magic of the internet.
The pandemic has given us all the opportunity to slow down, take a breath and think about whom and what’s really important in our lives. And, the chance to share acts of loving kindness (gemilut ḥasadim) and compassion with one another. It is a time to appreciate the real-life front-line heroes in our midst. They may be health care workers, grocery store staff, teachers, or volunteers at our local non-profit organization. One miracle for certain, this Ḥanukkah, has been the arrival of the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines on Canadian soil.
On a personal level, 2020 has humbled and taught me the message of having “an attitude of gratitude”. For the many blessings, large and small, in my life. And, to recognize with a good eye (“tov ayin” as Rabbi Harry says) the good that happens each day. I do feel privileged to be part of a larger, caring and progressive Jewish community on Canada’s real west coast. So, as we get ready to light the Ḥanukkah candles this evening, I invite you all to rededicate yourselves to joy, to hope and to gratitude.
With this in mind, it gives me great pleasure to call upon our next 3 presenters. They are volunteers and part of our leadership team at Congregation Emanu-El. [OK, everyone out there in Zoom land, this is your cue…please have your Hanukkah menorahs ready, and if you are able, show them on your computer screen. We will say the blessings first, and then light.]
The first blessing will be recited by Sam Godfrey, President of our Board of Directors. [although you are all muted, feel free to join along and sing at home]. Sam has his family by his side. Whenever you are ready, Sam…
The second blessing (berakhah) will be said by Ilana Stanger-Ross. Ilana serves as our Vice President and Hebrew School Liaison. She is joined by her family this evening. Ilana, whenever you are ready.
Akharón akharón khavív… For our third blessing, I’m honoured to call upon Caren Zilber-Shlensky. Caren is a member of our Hebrew School Committee, and along with Ilana, has also been quite active on the Emanu-El COVID-19 response committee.
Thank you to all our presenters. Now, feel free to “rev your engines”, light up your menorahs and let’s share the warmth, light and ruach (spirit) of the holiday with one another. This is very exciting, there are so many menorahs on the screens! I am now pleased to turn the floor over to Rabbi Matt who will continue with the next step in tonight’s program.”
COVID-19 has forced us to become creative and expansive in order to sustain the soulful connected experience we yearn for at the High Holy Days. (Please note that all plans are fluid and may need to change based on COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island.) Please choose your first and second preferences for the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services and let the shul office know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-382-0615 by September 15, 2020.
For Rosh Hashanah Day 1 We offer three different experience blocks at different times and venues. Each block will accommodate up to fifty participants. Congregants will need to choose which block to attend and cannot migrate from one block into another. Some of the blocks are traditional and some are alternative; one block is tailored to families and children. You will have to book your choice with the shul office (We will do our best to accommodate congregants’ first choice. ) Block A Traditional with a Twist: 10 am to 12 noon at the synagogue (and on Zoom) A condensed traditional service in our beautiful sanctuary. We will begin with Shaḥarit and do our utmost to cover the prayers and tunes that are most integral to us. We will read Torah, listen to a sermon followed and participate in a spirited yet abbreviated musaf service. Block B Experiential Alternative Service: 2 – 3:30 pm at St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt Street Led by Rabbi Harry, we will focus on contemplation, movement, niggunim/chanting and Bibliodrama and include an alternative musaf service. Block C Family Encounter: (Block C. 1. 11 am – noon and Block C. 2. 12:30- 1:30 pm) at St. Ann’s Academy 835 Humboldt Street Led by Rabbi Matt, this is a very special Rosh Hashanah experience tailored to families and children including music, movement, contemplation and story telling. You must choose Block C 1 or Block C 2.
For Rosh Hashana Day 2 Morning Service: 10 am to 12 noon at the synagogue (and on Zoom). We are offering a condensed traditional service similar in nature and content to Block A Day 1. Shofar Service and Tashlikh: To keep our numbers safe and compliant we will offer three opportunities to participate in a meaningful Shofar service followed by an interactive Tashlikh service: · Banfield Park (Esquimalt ): 2pm · Dallas and Cook (the usual Emanu-El venue): 2pm and 3:30pm
For Yom Kippur Kol Nidre: September 27: 6 pm in our beautiful sanctuary an evening of haunting liturgical music letting go of unfulfilled promises marking the beginning of the Day of Atonement. Doors will open at 5:45 and close at 6:15. Yom Kippur Morning service: September 28: 10 am – 1 pm with a special yizkor at noon. Doors will open at 9:45 am and close at 10:15 am. Yom Kippur Nei’lah : September 28 : 6:30 pm the final powerful closing prayers of Yom Kippur and the cathartic sounding of the final shofar. Doors will open at 6:15 and close at 6:45.
Saturday, August 29, 2020 10:00 am in Government House Grounds—Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions our outdoor Shabbat service at Government House on August 29, 2020 is cancelled. We will be together on Shabbat Ki Tetze via Zoom. Thank you for all of your understanding.
After a meaningful, safe and successful second service in our beautiful sanctuary last week we are hoping to continue holding small services with a Zoom alternative on a routine basis starting August 22, 2020 (Parashat Shoftim) followed by September 5, 2020 (Parashat Ki Tavo). We are doing our very best to help us all maintain connection to the shul and to one another through this strange and sometimes difficult time.
YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER. We are limiting this event to 36 people, including babies and children. Please register with Zelda at email@example.com by 4:00 pm on Friday, August 21, 2020. For September 5, 2020, please register with Zelda at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 pm on Friday, September 4, 2020. If more than 36 people ask to attend, we’ll do our best to give those people priority at subsequent services. Continue reading Shabbat Services Online plus
On June 27, 2020, Congregation Emanu-El went where it had never before ventured. The red letter day marked our first live outdoor COVID-19 restart Shabbat service on the grounds of Government House. The orchard was a perfect setting, the weather was kind and it was so uplifting to see many of our friends praying together again. About 50 eager people were present. The two-hour service had all the ingredients of a typical Saturday event, with our daveningpesukei through musaf. Torah and haftarah were chanted, and a simple yet heartfelt ceremony to welcome Rabbi Matt, Melina, Orion and Sephira to our community was conducted. The high point seemed to be the joy, smiles and virtual hugs that occupied this sacred space.
Todah rabah goes out to Rabbi Harry and RaeAnn for their leadership here. A big shout out is sent to all the volunteers who assisted in organizing the special day, and, of course, to the kehillah members who attended and helped to make this event a success.
Religious Services Committee