Emanu-El students capture 1st and 3rd prize in National Bible Contest

20180506_112743-1-1Last week seven Congregation Emanu-El Hebrew School students travelled to Vancouver to compete in the National Bible Contest. They wrote three separate exams on over 25 chapters of Exodus; no easy feat for people of their age. When the finallists were announced, we were thrilled that we had three students in the mix: Ephrem Boyarim, Tillie Stanger-Ross and Sam Roubini. Then they wrote the final which had a question in honour of Israel’s 70th birthday – when and in what context was the land of milk and honey mentioned in Exodus? Not easy, right? Anyway, when the winners were announced Sam Roubini took 1st prize and Tillie Stanger-Ross took 3rd prize.

We are proud of all the students who wrestled with the material all year, wondering why God stiffened Pharaoh’s heart and made the Egyptians suffer so much and why wasn’t Aaron punished for making the golden calf.

Mazal Tov to everyone!

Many thanks to those of you who supported this trip financially and to the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island (JFVVI) who continues to support Hebrew School activities.

Todah Rabah,
Leah Levi and the students.


Lots of amazing learning!

Hebrew SchoolWhat’s new at the Hebrew School? Lots of amazing learning is happening (in Hebrew with a smidgen or two of English)!

We have seven Hebrew School students scheduled to compete in the National Bible Contest in Vancouver on May 12-13 weekend. During the past year among their many other Hebrew School activities, they have studied more than 25 Exodus chapters for this contest.

After Havdalah on Sunday April 15, in celebration of the upcoming Yom Ha-atzma’ut (April 19), Leah told students the story of the modernization of Hebrew started by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda in the late 19th century after 2000 years during which Hebrew was exclusively a liturgical language of Torah and prayer.

Leah asked students to name other languages exclusively spoken by Jews, such as Yiddish, Ladino and Judeo-Arabic. The students (and a few parents who were in attendance) were fascinated by the remarkable story of Hebrew’s reinvention in the context of early Zionism. Leah ended the story with the establishment of the State of Israel, but we know that modern Israeli Hebrew speakers continue to expand the language – so let’s remember this as we break out the עגבניות (tomatoes), מלפפונים (cucumbers), פטרוזיליה (parsley), בצל (onion) and מיץ לימון (lemon juice) for a tasty “Israeli salad” snack!

In late April, we said goodbye to some of our beloved Hebrew School teachers who are UVic students; these students are now out of school and off to partake in their own summer activities. So, goodbye and thank-you (להתראות ותודה) to Sarah Friedman, Etz Greenfield, and Hannah Faber, and a very warm welcome to our newly minted Hebrew School teachers Grace Gardner and Carolyn Blum! ברוכים הבאים (welcome)!

Finally, we say many thanks to the volunteers who helped and to the shoppers who supported the Hebrew School by purchasing Passover supplies and other goodies at our Pesach Market. תודה רבה (Thank you very much)!

Lincoln Z. Shlensky

Pesaḥ Market Open for Extended Hours


Wednesday, March 21, 6-8 pm, Sunday & Monday, March 25 & 26, 11 am-2 pm — Our Pesaḥ Market is a Fundraiser for Emanu-El Hebrew School. The Hebrew School thanks you for your ongoing support. We are pleased to announce that we have received additional goods and have extended our market hours. Continue reading Pesaḥ Market Open for Extended Hours

Hebrew School News

Hebrew School Photo 2

There have been lots of fun activities happening at Hebrew school through February and March. On February 25, there was a Purim spiel with costumes and a talent show. Many of the children and families also attended the Purim party and carnival later in the week.

On March 25 the children in Leah’s grade 4-6 class wrote the Regional Bible Exam. The class worked really hard and learned Exodus inside and out. The group will travel to Vancouver in early May to participate in the National Bible Study competition, as well as some fun activities as a group.

Finally, March 11 was the last class before Spring and Passover break. Parents were invited to stay for a family workshop with activities including a ametz hunt and making matzah. The class is now on break until April 8.

Essay Writing Contest for Teens

Essay-Contest-Flyer-2018smDeadline March 5 2018Rethinking Zionism  ~  What Does Zionism Mean to Me?


  • Three Scholarships in the amounts of: $1,000, $850, and $650 USD.
  • The scholarship will apply to any Conservative Movement sponsored Israel program (including Israel programs taking place from June 1, 2018 onward).


Applicants must be residents of North America, in grades 7-12, and a member of a Conservative synagogue. Each participant may only submit one essay for consideration.


  • Essay Contest Opening: October 15, 2017. Entry forms and additional information can be found at www.masorti-mercaz.ca, www.mercazusa.org, or www.wlcj.org.
  • Deadline for Entries:
    • Entries must be submitted electronically by 9:00 am EST March 5, 2018. Late entries will not be accepted. MERCAZ and Women’s League cannot be responsible for delayed or misdirected entries. Read receipt requests are recommended.
  • Announcement of Winners:
    • Winners will be notified by May 8, 2018.
  • Essay Format:
    • Essays must be submitted as a standard letter-sized document (8.5×11 inches) in Word or PDF using 12 point regular font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, with the entry form as a cover page. Essays should be double-spaced, up to 1000 words. Submitted essays must be the entrant’s original work, with quotes properly cited. (Citations do not count towards the word count.)
  • Submission:
    • Entries must be submitted via email. Mailed entries will not be accepted. Essays, the accompanying cover page, and photo should be emailed to info@masorti-mercaz.ca with the subject MERCAZ USA/CANADA/Women’s League Essay Contest”. By entering this contest, the student agrees that all information submitted becomes the property of MERCAZ – WLCJ to publish at their discretion.


Scribbles from Hebrew school

HS Hanukkah BashEmanu-El Hebrew School ended 2017 on a high note with a joyful community Ḥanukkah Bash on December 10. The children were inspired by the numerous craft stations and excited by a musical flight around the world piloted by Major Conrad Flaps, clown and violinist extraordinaire. The party was awed upon landing by a beautiful lighting of the Noah’s Ark Ḥanukkiah and delicious latkes.

Simcha Todah Rabah

Many thanks to everyone who supported the Hebrew School by purchasing their Ḥanukkah goods through our Simcha gift store. We are looking forward to our Hebrew School’s main fundraiser in March, the Pesach Market. Please watch for upcoming info on Pesach Market dates; we’ll be selling all of your favourite holiday items!

Hebrew School News

The Emanu-El/Kolot Mayim Hebrew School is growing and
thriving thanks to our dedicated teachers and committed families. It has been
wonderful to see so many new families with young children join this year. 

In November, we were very fortunate to have Gaylia Lassner
lead a wonderful ḥanukkiah-making workshop for our students. The children were
very proud of their clay creations which were glazed, fired, and ready to be
lit by the time Ḥanukkah rolled around. To add to the Ḥanukkah excitement,
our Tuesday students performed a play based on the classic book Hershel and
the Ḥanukkah Goblins
 for parents, grandparents, siblings, and peers. It was
an animated performance full of humour and the spirit of Ḥanukkah. We clearly
have some talented young performers in our midst (future Bēma Production actors

Emanu-El’s Pesach Market, a major fundraiser for our Hebrew
School, is steadily approaching. We would like to thank you in advance for
shopping at the market and supporting our children’s Jewish education. It takes
a village!