Jonah, God and Other Strangers: Reading the Torah from a Transgender perspective

Joy Ladin, poet, author, and first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish Institution, to speak on Jonah, God and Other Strangers: Reading the Torah from a Transgender perspective

To Register:

Joy Ladin (she/her) will be the featured speaker in Kolot Mayim Reform Temple’s Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity in Jewish Life speaker series on Sunday, February 6th 2022 at 11 AM PT on Zoom, co-sponsored by the Chair in Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria. As the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution, Joy  knows firsthand how complex it can be for institutions and communities to respond to and embrace those who they see as different.

In this talk, Joy will share her personal journey and offer her insights and unique reading of gender identity in the Hebrew Torah. She will analyze and reinterpret key texts from a trans perspective–that is, in light of experiences of not fitting into identity-defining roles and categories, experiences of feeling estranged that are particularly acute for transgender and nonbinary people but common to everyone and, the Torah tells us, to God.

Since coming out as transgender in 2008, Joy has become an internationally recognized speaker on transgender issues. A celebrated poet, literary scholar, and public speaker, Joy has empowered many with her personal  journey of integrity and resilience. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. It details her transition within an Orthodox university and eloquently weaves together Jewish and transgender themes.

Joy Ladin holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Princeton University, and long held the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University. Her most recent book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, was a Lambda Literary Award and Triangle Award finalist. A new book of poems in the voice of the Shekhinah, the feminine aspect of the Divine, Shekhinah Speaks, is forthcoming in early 2022. She serves as an emeritus member of the Board of Keshet, an organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world.

Joy Ladin’s talk is being co-sponsored by Kolot Mayim Reform Temple and the Chair in Transgender Studies at the University of Victoria.  The world’s first Chair in Transgender Studies works to provide inspiration and hope to Trans+ people and allies, and to advance reconciliation, racial justice, equity, and inclusion for all. Aaron Devor, Chair in Transgender Studies and a member of Kolot Mayim Reform Temple notes that “Joy Ladin’s The Soul of the Stranger breaks new ground by drawing parallels between Jonah’s struggles and those of contemporary transgender people–showing new truths that can still be found in our ancient Torah.” 

This event is part of a 6-part series of talks on the theme of Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity in Jewish Life. The stellar list of speakers includes luminaries from Indigenous, Black, Asian, feminist, differently gendered, and differently abled advocates whose vision and wisdom serve to make our world a better place. The Chair in Transgender Studies offers free public lectures and arts events throughout the year. Visit for more information.

Kolot Mayim and the Chair in Transgender Studies hope that these speakers will motivate us to stand against racism, discrimination, and exclusion. Kolot Mayim talks are free and held on scheduled Sundays 11:00 AM -12:15 PM PT. To register, please use this link or visit the Kolot Mayim website.

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Rivka Campbell: Featured Building Bridges Speaker

Building Bridges Speaker Series

January 9, 2022: Rivka Campbell will be the featured speaker in Kolot Mayim Reform Temple’s Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity in Jewish Life event on Sunday, January 9 at 11AM PST on Zoom. Her talk is titled Harmony in a Divided Identity: A minority within a minority. Rivka, a Jew of Jamaican descent born and raised in Toronto, will talk about her work building community among Jews of Colour (JOC) in Canada while opening dialogue among the mainstream Jewish community about the experience of Jews of Colour and Jewish diversity.

Jews of Colour (JOC) is a pan-ethnic term used to identify Jews whose family origins lie in African, Asian, or Latin American countries. JOCs may identify as being of Black, Latino, Asian, biracial, or multi-racial heritage, while Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews from North African and Arab lands vary as to whether they self-identify as JOC. A common question, inappropriately posed to JOCs is “What’s your story?” Rivka’s story will include a conversation about navigating within the Jewish community as a JOC and how as a community we can work towards a common goal of ensuring that all our mishpacha (family) feel welcome and valued. 

Rivka Campbell is the co-founder of the group Jews of Colour – Canada. She is a recognized speaker on Jewish Diversity and has been interviewed by CJN and other publications numerous times. Rivka is filming a documentary on Jewish Diversity. She is the host of the CJN podcast “Rivkush” which focuses on diversity, Israel, and Jewish topics. She is also the Executive Director at Beit Rayim Synagogue and a board member of ADRABA – Toronto’s first 21st century Jewish high school. Rivka is the sole Canadian recipient of the inaugural JewV’Nation Fellowship from the Union for Reform Judaism. 

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Sacred Singing Circle

December 6, 2021 – Come sing with Rabbi Matthew Ponak as he leads us in easy-to-learn songs inspired by the nigun tradition of wordless melodies.

No prior knowledge of the tunes is necessary: just join the circle, lend your voice, and sink into the music…

Finally we can sing together! 

Vaccine passport, photo ID and mask required. 

The space can host 100 people and we will have 50 maximum.

Music has been described in Jewish mysticism as a universal key that can unlock even the most stubborn doors on the spiritual journey. 

Please join us as we immerse ourselves in joyous sacred melodies @ the UVic Multifaith Centre’s beautiful Celebration Hall. 

Stay a little longer to schmooze and nosh in the foyer before you go, just like old times : ) 

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Carmel Tanaka: A day in the life of a queer, neurodivergent, Jewpanese millennial

Carmel Tanaka

December 5, 2021Carmel Tanaka will be the featured speaker in Kolot Mayim Reform Temple’s Building Bridges: Celebrating Diversity in Jewish Life speaker series on Sunday, December 5th at 11 am PST on Zoom. Carmel will talk about her Jewish and Japanese heritage, and the generational impact of both the Holocaust and the Japanese internment camps in Canada. Carmel will share her lived experience of how she builds bridges and celebrates all her intersecting identities, Jew-ISH-ly.

Carmel is well known in the Victoria Jewish community for her work at UVic Hillel. As a queer Jew of Color, Carmel sees herself as uniquely positioned to be an interconnected bridge, Carmel’s mother is Ashkenazi Israeli and her father is Japanese Canadian. Carmel Tanaka was recently named one of Be’chol Lashon’s 7 LGBTQ+ Jews of Color You Should Know.

Talks are free. For more information and to register, please visit the Kolot Mayim website at

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Worldwide Candle Lighting Service

December 11, 2016 7:00 pm

The Victoria
Chapter of Compassionate Friends
invites bereaved parents, siblings and their
families to the world-wide candle lighting service on Sunday, Dec. 11, 7:00 pm
at Cordova Bay United Church, 813 Claremont Avenue.

non-denominational service features a speaker, soloist, candle lighting
remembrance and reception. Please bring a labelled photo(s) of your
child(ren) or sibling(s) to be placed on the Table of Tribute.

Elder Abuse Prevention

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Victoria Community Response Network (VCRN) has decided to
increase outreach and education sessions for community local groups working with seniors to prevent
elder abuse and neglect in Victoria, BC. The VCRN goal is to facilitate free workshops and information
sessions regarding the resources available in
the local community (i.e., abuse, neglect and self-neglect
awareness/prevention). We will hold an
information session for the leaders of seniors’
programs on Wednesday Dec 07th from 10-11:30am at the Central
Library in Victoria. Parking: below the Central Library and on View
Street Parkade (the first hour is free).

Please join us
for this dynamic event!

We invite you,
our local community groups to learn about the warning signs of abuse of older
adults and how to respond safely.

We will

  •  Signs and risk factors of abuse
  •  True to life scenarios and videos to stimulate your awareness
  •  Local and
    provincial resources to prevent elder abuse

We look forward to seeing members of the Jewish community
represented at this important event. 

Questions and
RSVP to Lycia by November 18th at

Our Place requests donations of Boost & Ensure

Many of
our family often have issues with nutrition because of chronic health issues.
 Our Spiritual Care office tries to keep a supply of Boost and Ensure
supplements in our office to help individuals we know are struggling with
nutrition issues. Please consider making a donation of Boost and Ensure to the
Spiritual Care office at Our Place.  Your donation of Boost and Ensure can
be dropped off at the Reception Desk at Our Place 919 Pandora Ave, Victoria BC.

The Art of Marc Chagall: a painting class for kids

November 13, 2-4 pm, at the JCC

It is not too late to register! 

Kolot Mayim Reform Temple is offering The Art of Marc Chagall—a mixed age painting class for ages 7 and up! Sunday, November 13. 2-4 pm at the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, 3636 Shelbourne St.
No experience necessary- we will learn about Chagall together at the beginning of class. $30 per session. To register call or text 250-532-2982.
Taught by Susan Abrill– owner of Art Stars for over 10 years, artist, language specialist, MA and UVic teacher. Her knowledge as a teacher and exhibiting artist gives children a unique experience to learn how to paint like Chagall and learn about one of the most famous Jewish painters in the world.