Hebrew School News

Hebrew School has gotten off to a fantastic start.  Congregation Emanu-El and Kolot Mayim again have joined their schools to provide a warm, rich, and vibrant Jewish education to children of our community.  

This year we have been blessed with our best enrolment:  more than 50 children!  The Hebrew School also is blessed with an amazing group of dedicated, nurturing teachers.  We began the year with a welcoming picnic and to round off the High Holidays, several families went to Camp Miriam to celebrate Sukkot.  

Now with Hannukah around the corner, we are planning a party on December 6th.  We invite families to join us at 10:30am at Congregation Emanu-El, where we will celebrate the festival of lights with latkes, games, storytelling, and, of course, Hanukkah menorah lighting!  Please email Leah Levi to RSVP. 

Festival of Light Hanukkah Concert & Sing-along

Wed. December 9, 2015, 7pm, at Congregation Emanu-El 1461 Blanshard St.

With the Victoria Jewish Community Choir & The Klez 6-piece klezmer band

Fundraising towards sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family

  • All welcome 
  • by donation
  • Menorah lighting, stories & songs 
  • light refreshments
  • For more info, email or tel. (250) 385-3378

The Jewish Community Choir appreciates the support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria & Vancouver Island

Hanukkah Mystic Market, University Centre

Monday, December 7, 4:00-5:30pm

Join us as we light the Second Candle of the 2nd Annual Hanukkah Celebration on campus  in Mystic Market
The Jewish Holiday of Lights gets underway with a customary lighting of the Menorah. Following the ceremony, enjoy accompanying music along with traditional Jewish foods, including potato latkes, jelly doughnuts & more.
All in a fun and festive setting. New this year, Hanukkah treats will be prepared daily throughout the holiday in Mystic Market too!

Kids Ḥanukkah Party and Celebration

  • What:  A Ḥanukkah celebration for young and elementary school aged children and their families. 
  • Where:  At the synagogue (where else?)
  • When:  Sunday, December 6, 10:30am–12:30pm
  • Why:  To bring joy to our children on Ḥanukkah and create lifelong Ḥanukkah memories
  • How:  Crafts, music, dancing, storytelling, Ḥanukkah Menorah lighting
  • Who:  Young children and elementary school-aged children who are accompanied by an adult—including families who don’t have students in Hebrew School. To ensure that we have enough latkes for everyone, – please RSVP to Leah Levi.

Let your light shine


  • What:  A public Menorah Lighting and street party
  • Where:  Centennial Square
  • When:  Sunday December 13, from 5:00pm
  • Why:  An opportunity for the greater community to come together in a festival atmosphere to celebrate freedom, light, diversity and shalom as a way of dispelling the increasing darkness and fear in our world.
  • How:  The Lighting of one of B.C.’s largest Ḥanukkah menorahs,  Dancing to the music of Vic High’s remarkable Rhythm & Blues Band, traditional doughnuts, a warm feeling of connection and sharing of Jewish customs with pride

Hanukkah Workshop for Children, Dec 14


Congregation Emanu-El and Kolot Mayim are sponsoring a Hanukkah Workshop for all Hebrew School students and families with children who are pre-Hebrew School age. We would love to have families who are not part of the Hebrew School join us to start our Hanukkah celebration.

  • Date: Sunday, December 14, 2014
  • Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
  • Where: Congregation Emanu-El; please enter through the door to the “new” building;
  • What? Crafts, singing, dancing, ḥanukkiyah lighting, dreidel playing and treatsThere is no cost.  Just come and join us for some fun. 

RSVP to Leah Levi so we know how many people to expect.

SIMCHA GIFT SHOP WILL BE OPEN FROM 12:00 – 1:00 ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14TH.  There are lots of candles and dreidel, some decorations, and ḥanukkiyot, all at very reasonable prices

A Community Hanukkah Celebration for Peaceful Co-Existence

You are invited to a community Hanukkah celebration for peace and co-existence, with candles, songs, dancing, stories, dreidels and latkes!

  • Saturday, December 20 5:30–8pm
  • At Congregation Emanu-El Victoria, BC
  • Vegetarian Potluck (latkes provided!).
  • All Ages Welcome!
  • Sponsored by If Not Now, When?

This kid-friendly and adult-pleasing party will also raise funds for Yad be-Yad (“Hand In Hand”) Jewish-Arab School in Jerusalem, a model of co-existence.

Featuring: songs and sing-along with the Victoria Jewish Community Choir and music and dancing with The Klez band!

Please bring a vegetarian dish to share (with ingredients noted), and your own plates and cutlery. Let us know who’s coming.

“A Great Latke Was Eaten There…”

Light of Shalom: Public Menorah Lighting @ Centennial Square

Thursday December 18, 2014, 5:30 pm

It is dark and rainy in Victoria, our globe is in what feels like a tenuous and dark place as conflict and war abounds. 

One solution is to join with friends at our Public Menorah Lighting. We will gather in Centennial Square to spread the Light of Shalom: may our Menorah spread light of peace, wholeness, greater understanding and compassion. 

This special evening stars musical headliner Victoria High Rhythm and Blues Band.  We will light Vancouver Island’s biggest home-made ḥanukkiah (candelabra). There will be people from all walks of life and faiths, lots of singing, joy, and of course…sufganyiot– doughnuts!!

All are welcome.  The show goes on rain or snow.  Dress warmly.

Ḥag Ḥanukkah Sameaḥ!  Happy Holidays to you & yours!!

Religious Services Committee

Congregation Emanu-El

Partners in Light – in text and pictures


Rabbi Harry writes:

Partners in Light – Emanu-El’s public Hanukkah Menorah Lighting – was a fantastic fun filled evening.

We lit our giant oversized hanukkiah (to give it its proper Hebrew name), designed and built by Ed Walker.

We had amazing music by the Victoria High School Rhythm & Blues Band: starting  with some classic R&B, followed by some Hanukkah songs and  a rousing rendition of Hava Nagila.
Aaron Severs was our master of ceremonies, and a short teaching by Rabbi HarryMayor Fortin shared a few words and lit the first candle along with other members of city council. MLA Lana Popham lit a candle and was followed by the leadership of Cool Aid, Out of the Rain, Burnside Gorge, The Coalition to End Homelessness, Faith in Action and of course our own Penny Tennenhouse representing Avodah.

The intention of the evening was to offer thanks to our partners in social action and to use the word ḥanukkah –which means dedication – to dedicate ourselves to the fight against poverty and social injustice.

We all enjoyed some Hanukkah treats and the dancing was super fun. Can’t wait till next year.

Partners in Light – December 4, 5:30pm


Join with Congregation Emanu-El’s Avodah Social Action Committee and friends in a public Ḥanukkiah Lighting in Centennial Square. We will be joined by Mayor Fortin & Council, our local MLAs and representatives of the various social service agencies and advocates that partner with Avodah. The Victoria High School R&B Band will perform, and there will be some light refreshments.

Note: Half-tonne truck needed to transport tables & chairs to the event. If you can help please contact Aaron Severs.

Partners in Light – a public lighting of a Ḥanukkah Menorah on the last night of Ḥanukkah December 4, 2013 5:30pm at Centennial Square. The word Ḥanukkah literally means “dedication,”  referring to the rededication of the Holy Temple by the Maccabees. The intention of this lighting is for those of us who are working towards eradicating and alleviating poverty can connect with one another and rededicate ourselves and our agencies to this integral work.

A pickup truck is needed to transport tables & chairs to Ḥanukkah event. If you can help please email Aaron Severs.

We welcome and will gratefully accept your donations of warm coats, blankets, sleeping bags and non-perishable food (such as peanut butter) at the menorah lighting.