Talk: Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Making of the Modern Middle East

Sunday, May 28 at 2 pm


Sketches of Israel and the Middle East series

Join us on Sunday, May 28th at 2 pm in Congregation Emanu-El
synagogue, for the fifth talk in our series Sketches of Israel and the Middle Eastwhen Dr. Andrew Wender will explore
the roles of Revolution and Counter-Revolution in the Making of the Modern
Middle East

The political geography of the Middle East seems to exemplify the
pivotal, ongoing role of revolutions in (re)constructing the modern world. To
take just a few illustrations, consider how states like Egypt and Iran have
been forged by revolutions and how the now-100 year-old Russian revolution has
had myriad reverberations throughout the region. Though today, in the
tumultuous wake of such processes as the 2011- Arab uprisings, the recent
consolidation of power by a figure like Turkey’s Erdogan, and broader global
dynamics ranging from geo-strategic rivalries to discontented populism, it is
especially challenging to assess the whipsawing forces of revolution and
counter-revolution. Applying new thinking about the nature of revolution,
Andrew will offer a critical vantage point on emerging significances for the

Dr. Wender is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of
Victoria with a cross appointment in the Departments of Political Science and
History.  His teaching and research
interests include worldwide, historical and contemporary intersections among
politics, society, law, and religion; Middle East politics and history; and
comparative political thought.

  • Sponsored
    by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team, this series aims at increasing our
    members’ knowledge of Israel and the Middle East. Contact Heshi if you have any questions.
  • Entry is by donation: light refreshments will
    be served.

Environmental Issues in Israel: Follow-up crowdfunding campaign


I want to share an exciting initiative to a project that I
have been working on in partnership with Richard Laster, (Professor of
Environmental Law at the Hebrew University. I hope it will be of interest to you!

– Dr. Richard Kool, Associate Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability, Royal Roads University

“There is an unfolding humanitarian and environmental crisis
taking place in the West Bank due to untreated sewage. The Kidron/El Nar Valley
is at particular risk where at least 15 million cubic metres of untreated
sewage is dumped annually. This is the equivalent of 6,000 Olympic swimming
pools of hazardous waste. The Valley is home to a population dependent on
agriculture and tourism to make a living, is the site of a diverse group of
important historical and religious sites, and is the entryway to the Dead Sea.
All of these unique characteristics of the Valley are threatened by the
wastewater crisis.

As part of its larger plan to address the crisis in the
region, Richard Laster and the Kidron Basin Initiative (KBI) have
partnered with Shurook to work toward an immediate solution and needs your support.
We are building an innovative, low-tech treatment plant to treat the wastewater
of local residents. The total cost of the project is $300,000, the
majority of which will be supplied by institutional grants. To begin
construction and generate further interest from institutional donors, we are
asking for an initial sum through a crowdfunding campaign which will be matched
by KBI funds.

We will be running the crowdfunding campaign until
Wednesday, March 22, World Water
Day. This year’s theme is “Wastewater” and the importance of
reducing and reusing it. We are excited that our project fits within this
larger global initiative and that worldwide attention is being focused on this
critical issue.

Please visit our crowdfunding campaign, which explains in
greater detail the work we are doing and why your help is needed. Your donation
to this project will go a long way!”

Isa Qasim


13 Nablus Road, Jerusalem

VIP 3 Building, Tawfeeq Zayyad Street, Al-Bireh, Ramallah

Tel: +972 (0)54 771 6383



Environmental issues in Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Join us on Wednesday, March 1st at 7 pm at the Congregation
Emanu-El synagogue, for the third talk in our series Sketches of
Israel and the Middle East
when Dr.
Richard Kool will address the topic “… a
land flowing with milk and honey (Ex. 33:3)”: Environmental issues in Israel
and the Palestinian Territories.

Although smaller in area and length than Vancouver Island, Israel
is a place that receives far more attention from people around the world. While
religion and politics attract global interest primarily, Israel and the
Palestinian Territories have significant environmental issues, ones that seem
as intractable as the political and religious ones that generate most
international concern. This presentation by Dr. Richard Kool, who has
participated in various Israeli environmental projects, will look at the
serious environmental issues facing those living in Israel and the Palestinian
Territories, and the work that is being done by Israelis and Palestinians   together to improve conditions for all.

Dr. Richard
Kool is an Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability
at Royal Roads University. He was invited to be part of Israeli environmental
projects first in 2003, and then in 2014, where he attended the Batsheva de
Rothschild Workshop on Initiatives in Science and Education for Improving the
Kidron/Nar Basin
 and consulted with the management and staff at the
Memorial Gardens and Nature Park at Ramat HaNadiv near Zikhron Ya’akov.

by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team, this series aims at increasing our
members’ knowledge of Israel and the Middle East. Contact Heshi at if you have any questions.

Entry is by
donation: light refreshments will be served.

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.

Sketches of Israel and the Middle East

Wednesday, January 18,
2017 at 7 pm, at 
Congregation Emanu-El,
1461 Blanshard Street

To expand our members’
knowledge of Israel and the Middle East, Congregation Emanu-El Adult Education
team has planned a fascinating series of monthly talks starting in January
2017. We have invited scholars and experts from our shul and elsewhere to
present and discuss subjects such as: colonial borders and their implications,
Arabic words in modern Hebrew, and regional environmental issues such as water

Dr. Martin Bunton, Professor University of Victoria History
Department specializing in the field of modern Middle Eastern history, will
launch the series on January 18, 2017  at
7 pm when he will address the following question,  "Are colonial borders to blame for the
violence in the Middle East?“

This promises to be an informative evening so mark your
calendars now!

Email Heshi at if you have any questions.

Entry is by
donation: light refreshments will be served

Globalizing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Not Now, When?
with the Centre for Global
Studies and the Centre for Studies in
Religion & Society

July 25, 2016, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Hickman Bldg., Rm 116, University of Victoria

It is virtually a diplomatic axiom
that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can be resolved only
through bilateral talks rather than by a solution imposed from outside.

Washington, D.C.-based analyst
Mitchell Plitnick proposes that this is not necessarily a binary choice. While
an imposed agreement likely would be unsustainably fragile, bilateral talks
also have a low chance of success due to the enormous imbalance of power
between the two sides.

An alternative path therefore must
be forged involving considerable international pressure on both Israel and the
Palestinians to engage in real negotiations within a framework that reflects
the international consensus.

Changes in the international
arena, however, are threatening to de-prioritize this conflict. Globalizing the
conflict is thus part of the problem and the solution. A realistic
resolution requires a new global framework for negotiations.

informative and timely public talk is presented by Victoria’s Jewish dialogue
Not Now, When? (, in conjunction with
for Global Studies and Centre for Studies in Religion & Society.

The Future of the Two-State Solution

Sunday, July 24, 2016, 3:30–5:00pm, at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard St., Victoria, B.C.


If Not
Now, When?

presents The Future of the Two-State Solution—a public talk
by Mitchell Plitnick, Vice
President, Foundation for Middle East Peace

Is a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict possible?

With the Oslo peace process
moribund, opposition is rising to the concept of a two-state solution.
Questions are growing even at the diplomatic level.

There is good reason to question.
Israel’s expansion of settlements threatens the viability of any future Palestinian state. Both Israelis and Palestinians believe the other side
is not interested in an agreement. And leaders of both communities regard steps
toward a resolution as far too politically costly.

Within this context, Washington,
D.C.-based analyst Mitchell Plitnick will discuss reasons for Oslo’s failure,
review the current situation and discuss prospects for the future. He will
argue that two-state frameworks beyond Oslo remain possible. He will explore
reasons for and against a two-state solution and emerging options for
alternative solutions.

Victoria’s Jewish dialogue group
on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, If Not Now, When? (, is hosting this event to expand public debate about
the conflict at a time when hopefulness is in short supply yet urgently needed.

us for this informative and timely public event on July 24th.

Entry: by donation