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! 

Kids at Emanu-El

We are close to bursting at the seams with children as our congregation expands. We now have the biggest Hebrew School in recent memory. The energy and environment is full of excitement, energy and warmth. We work hard at ensuring that our synagogue feels like a second home to our children, full of care and nurturing.

Under Leah Levi’s wise and loving leadership, our faculty provides a creative and meaningful Jewish experience for all of our children. Our seasoned faculty craft child-centred experiential learning for our children. This year, some of our core teachers are now teaching the children of former students. We are truly living out the Jewish ideal of intergenerational community bonding—midor-l’dor, from generation to generation.

Our Membership Committee has hired a new care provider for Shabbat mornings—Leah Greschner. Leah comes back to us (she had her bat mitzvah here at Emanu-El) with great experience and skills as an educator. Leah is also teaching in our Ganon—the youngest class in the Hebrew school. Leah brings an ease and comfort to childcare.


Our B’nei Mitzvah program is also one of our largest in recent memory. We have a great crop of kids eager to learn about adult responsibilities, Jewish ethics and values while working diligently on Hebrew, prayer and Torah leadership skills. There is also a strong emphasis on learning how to give and receive support as part and parcel of community building. (Click here to see more pictures from our recent B’nei Mitzvah opening hike and trust activities on Mt. Wells.) 

Shalom Daycare, in cooperation with our congregation, offers an incredible early childhood education program that has an Israeli “Gan Yeladim” (kindergarten) feel to it and has some remarkable enrichment opportunities for young children, including music/movement and storytelling. On Friday mornings 

Rabbi Harry joins Shalom Daycare for “Shabbat Club"—a sweet and energetic celebration of the coming Shabbat full of stories, songs and a kiddie Shabbat oneg/Kiddush. Parents with children who are not at Shalom Daycare are strongly invited to join us Friday mornings at 11:00am. Our opening family and community Kabbalat Shabbat and pot luck dinner was an incredible joyful experience full of dancing, song and laughter. It also proved that we need a few more tables to fit us all in.

There will be childcare for the High Holy Days as well as opportunities for learning and youth dialogue. See the High Holy Day calendar for times and dates. Looking forward to all of us being together over the holidays.
Shana Tovah u’mtukah

– Rabbi Harry

Emanuel students sweep National Bible Contest

Mazal Tov to our Bible Contest competitors: Congregation Emanuel Hebrew School Grade 5 & 6 students took the top three places in the National Bible Contest English Division

  1. Ana Oppenheimer 
  2. Zev Godfrey 
  3. Sammy Herzog 

[Ana, Sammy, and Zev, after the announcement]

Their hard work was rewarded and brought recognition and honour to our school. We are so delighted! 

Their parents have borne most of the costs of their participation in this wonderful experience. Please show how you appreciated their diligence, performance and integrity by making a contribution through the synagogue office to the Bible Contest. 
– Leah Lev

Fifteen Students to Compete in National Bible Contest

Congregation Emanuel Hebrew School has our biggest-ever contingent going to the National Bible Contest! Fifteen grade 5 & 6 students will be competing on May 14 and 15 in the English Division. 

They have studied 23 chapters of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and they are ready for questions about many topics—e.g., life for the Israelites in the wilderness; laws about how to treat the stranger, the blind, the deaf and the poor; laws about war; the Ve’ahavta; and where the prayer Ma Tovu comes from.

Through modern technology, the students will write the exams in Vancouver, although the contest will take place in Toronto. In between the exams on Sunday we look forward to participating in Festival Harikud and the Israel Fair at the Vancouver JCC.

This trip is a wonderful opportunity for the students to spend time together outside of Hebrew School. It also gives them a chance to be part of a larger Jewish community for a couple of days and, of course, learn a little Torah.

The cost of the trip is being borne by the parents, so any contribution you wish to make will help those parents who find the cost beyond their budget. Please mark Bible Contest in the Memo on your cheque and submit it to the synagogue office.

Thank you to the Synagogue Board and to Victoria Jewish Federation for supporting the students in their Torah learning.

– Leah Levi 

Hebrew School News – March 2016

2016 is
off to a great start at Congregation Emanu-El/Kolot Mayim Hebrew School!:

  • At the
    end of January, a number of our wonderful teachers travelled to Vancouver to attend
    Limmud, a weekend of Jewish learning. 
  • On Feb. 7th, our Hebrew School
    participated in the Victoria Multifaith Society’s Family Fair where the
    children had a table where they created their own tzedakah boxes. On Feb. 19th,
    Kolot Mayim’s Rabbi Shimon Moch engaged our families with spirited storytelling
    and singing at a potluck Shabbat.

  • On Sunday,
    March 6th, Leah’s students wrote the Regional Bible Exam; those that
    qualify will go to Vancouver in May to participate in the National Bible
    . On that same Sunday, we held our Purim talent show where the children
    had fun performing for their peers with harp, guitar, and piano playing,
    singing, dancing, magic tricks and jokes. For the finale, Rabbi Harry told the
    story of Purim through puppetry and invited the children to the synagogue’s annual
    Purim Family Carnival on March 23rd. 
  • Last Tuesday the students
    presented their 3D tabernacle models and wowed parents with their biblical
    knowledge. After saying a special blessing created by the children, everyone
    enjoyed a fun mac ‘n’ cheese ritual meal.

the coming months, parents and students will be pitching in to support the
synagogue sponsored Syrian refugee family by collecting gently used toys.  And don’t forget that our annual Passover
, an important Hebrew School fundraiser, is coming up April 8-17th.
Please help our school flourish by volunteering for the event and buying all of
your favourite Pesach goods at Emanu-El Synagogue. Many thanks in advance for
your support!

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. 

Organic Apple Juice Hebrew School Fundraiser

At Castle Rock Pardess  Farm

Made from a mélange of Spartan, Red Delicious, Mutsu and Granny Smith apples, this apple juice has been filtered and passed through UV cold pasteurization, retaining its exquisite complex taste and total nutritional value.

The jugs can be frozen and imbibed throughout the year.  Fill your freezer!!

Net proceeds will be donated to Emanu-El children and youth programs.

  • Price per 2 litre jug – $6.50
  • 3 jugs for $18 Chai!!

Please email Jill or Mike or tel. 250-544-8870 to arrange pickup at the synagogue or delivery. You can also pick up the juice this Sunday, October 25th, at 12:30 pm.  This offer is available until November 3rd or until all is sold.