Modern Hebrew begins October 15

Hebrew letter collage colorful CROPPEDBeginning October 15 at 6:30 pm at 1461 Blanshard Street — Instructor Betsi Boeno covers written and spoken modern Hebrew with an emphasis on basic Hebrew conversation skills. Betsi is fluent in modern Hebrew and experienced in teaching Hebrew to newcomers in Israel. Fall session: Oct. 15 to Dec. 17 (10 sessions) Fee: $120 members/$180 non-members. Please pre-register through the synagogue office at 250-382-0615.

Sketches of Israel and the Middle East: Arabic Hebrew

How Modern Israelis Really Speak

Sunday, February 19, 2017  2:30 pm (revised date)


Join us on Sunday, February 19, 2017  2:30 pm, at Congregation Emanu-El synagogue, for the second talk in our series Sketches of Israel and the Middle East, when Jonathan Orr-Stav addresses the topic Arabic Hebrew: An Introduction to How Modern Israelis Really Speak

(A poll is available for those wishing to register interest in attending at another date)

Modern Hebrew bears a resemblance to biblical Hebrew similar to that of modern English to Shakespeare. Today’s Israelis can read and understand most or all of biblical Hebrew (depending on the text) but modern Hebrew has added extra “storeys”: some are imports from European languages (such as informatziah, qonteqst, alternativah) and form part of official, written Hebrew, but others, from the local Arabic, are informal. This “Arabic-Hebrew” has become such an integral part of everyday speech that most Israelis are unaware that many words they commonly use are Arabic. Anyone seeking to gain a true knowledge of modern spoken Hebrew, or to understand Israelis when they’re speaking, must acquaint themselves with this side of Hebrew that does not appear in any siddur or even in Hebrew language textbooks. 

In this talk Jonathan will review the most important Arabic Hebrew terms, their meanings, origins, and uses in everyday language.
Jonathan Orr-Stav (Ure Stoppi) is an expatriate Israeli and third-generation Hebrew translator and editor. His book on a radical new method for learning to read and write in Hebrew, Aleph Through the Looking Glass, is recommended reading in academic Hebrew courses in North America. Since 2002, he has lived with his family in Victoria. His hobbies are Indonesian food, Ancient Hittite grammar, and kayaking (but not necessarily at the same time).
Email Heshi at if you have any questions.  Entry is by donation; light refreshments will be served. 
The Simcha Gift Shop will be open at 2:00 pm and after the talk.

Note: To avoid disturbances to the Fiddler on the Roof rehearsals taking place in the annexe that same afternoon, please access via the Sanctuary entrance, not that of the annex.

Preregistration open for Modern Hebrew Classes


Modern Hebrew Classes with Betsi
Boeno will be taught at two learner levels. The classes will focus on talking,
writing and reading Hebrew.

  • Hebrew 1 (Beginners’ Classes)
    will start on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7:00 pm and will continue on Mondays at 2pm after that. 
  • Hebrew 2 (Intermediate Classes)
    will start on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7:00 pm. “Second class will be on Thursday,
    Nov. 3, 7:00 pm
    and continue at that time on Mondays from Nov. 7th onwards.

Both courses are 10 weeks long, and they each cost $120 for members, $180 for
non-members, plus $45 for the textbook (the same textbook is used in both courses.)

Please pre-register for either course before the start date by
completing the appropriate form: 

Payment can be made by cheque
payable to Congregation Emanu-El or by credit card. Please do not send credit
card information by email or fax.

Adult Ed: Hebrew Courses beginning in April

Hebrew Course

  • Wednesday,
    April 20 at 7:00 pm
  • Instructor:
    Betsy Boeno.
  • Cost for 10
    sessions: Members: $120; Non-members: $180
  • Textbook:  $45 (additional)

Intermediate Hebrew Course
(Hebrew 2)

  • Monday, April 25 at 7:00 pm
  • Instructor:
    Betsy Boeno
  • Cost for 10
    sessions: members: $120; for non-members: $180
  • Text book: $45

 Note: The same textbook is used for Hebrew 1 and

pre-register for these courses online and contact Zelda in the office at
250-382-0615 to pay by credit card or cheque.

For further
information about these courses, please email Betsy.

Ḥug Ivrit reconvenes, April 5

Ḥug Ivrit (Hebrew Circle) will reconvene on Tuesday, April 5 at 6:30–8:30 pm.

From April 13 onwards, meetings will move to Wednesday evenings at the same times.

If your Hebrew is well beyond the beginner level, but you require more practice speaking to improve your listening, comprehension and vocabulary skills—Ḥug Ivrit may be for you.

We meet with native speaker Dahlia Beck at her home and, under her careful guidance, immerse ourselves in Hebrew conversation and culture. If you are new to this group, please email Dahlia. Participation: by donation. 

Ḥug Ivrit (Hebrew Club)

Is your Hebrew well
beyond the beginner level, but you know you require more practice speaking in
order to improve your listening, comprehension and vocabulary skills? Ḥug
may be just what you are looking for. 

We meet with native speaker
Dahlia Beck
in her home, and immerse ourselves in Hebrew conversation and
culture, under her careful guidance. Just think, after only a few sessions you
may find yourself discussing the news coming out of Israel, in HEBREW – how
cool is that? 

This discussion group is currently in session until March 15,
. Dahlia proposes a further session from April 12 to June 14.

If you are new to this class, please
email Dahlia 

Participation – by donation.

Adult Education, February 2016

Note: all these courses require paid registration before the course starts.

BEGINNER HEBREW – 7 pm, Wednesdays from February 17th

Betsy Boeno, will
start a new beginner Hebrew class in February.
Although the main focus of the class will be conversation and giving you
the confidence to start speaking very quickly, Betsy will use the printed Hebrew alphabet.  You will find it useful
to take the Three Steps to Writing in Hebrew course in January as a precursor to this
beginner Hebrew class.

Betsy has
extensive experience teaching Hebrew, comments from some of her current
students, include: 

“Betsy makes learning Hebrew such fun and you learn so

“She is so enthusiastic.” 

“I go
into her class feeling tired and lethargic and I come out completely

  • Where: at the Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard – corner of
  • 10 classes of 2
    hours each. Cost: 

    $120 for members, $180 for non-members

Register online

INTERMEDIATE HEBREW – 7pm, Mondays in February from Feb. 1

This class is for anyone currently doing Betsy Boeno’s Wednesday Beginner Hebrew class or anyone who already has a basic level
of Hebrew.  If you are new to this class,
please contact Betsy beforehand.

  • Where at the Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard – corner
    of Pandora.
  • 10 classes of 2
    hours each. Cost: 

    $120 for members, $180 for non-members

Get ready for Betsy’s next Intermediate Hebrew class by signing up for Beginner Hebrew: as soon as there’s enough students enrolled, Betsy will start a new beginner course

Register online


Thursdays, 7:30pm from February 18th

This is a weekly, 13-session class
that gives participants a macro-view of Judaism—spanning issues from Jewish
law to holiday celebration, from learning the basics of keeping kosher and
Shabbat to Jewish history and theology. Includes a Shabbat dinner at the end of this course (date and price to be determined).    

  • Where: at the Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard – corner of
  • Cost$140
  • No class on March 24th

For more information about this course, please contact Chanah Caplan.

Register online


Wednesdays, 6:30 pm, from February 17th (see below)

Led by Alan Rutkowski, the Philosopher’s Café meets monthly to discuss Jewish philosophers based on readings from readily available books or from online resources. The first philosopher we are discussing is Yeshayahu Leibowitz. We will meet again on March 28 at 6:30pm at 2-1358 Gladstone Ave. Participants will be asked to make a $10 contribution at each meeting. Anyone who wants the material on Leibowitz for the next meeting should email Alan.

February 4, 2016 update:

“Our apologies, but owing to unforeseen circumstances the start of Philosophers Cafe has been further delayed by one week. The new (and definitive) start date will be Wed February 17th. All other details remain the same.”

Register online