To Sefarad and Beyond: Dr. Judith Cohen

The Victoria Jewish Community Choir (VJCC) will continue its Journeys in Jewish Music fall series on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 7 pm with Dr. Judith Cohen discussing To Sefarad and Beyond, A Personal Journey. The talk will take place on Zoom. In an informal interview with moderator Carol Sokoloff, Dr. Cohen shares her personal tales of a journey which took her from her youth in Montreal to the land of Spain and beyond.

Dr. Cohen writes, “Fifty years ago I crossed the border into Spain on the lumbering old train from France, with one small bag and a dictionary. The word Sefarad was not yet in my vocabulary. I was part of the 60s folk revival, sang French Canadian and Yiddish songs, and played classical clarinet. I had been to the-then-Yugoslavia and loved the music—but had no knowledge of Spain or Spanish anything. This is an informal account of how I got from there to here, with songs and stories—and Carol’s and all of your questions!”

Dr. Judith Cohen of York University is an acclaimed ethnomusicologist and performer specializing in Sephardic music, also known as Judeo-Spanish or Ladino song. In Sephardic music we hear the tales of so many times and places from the well-remembered culture of Spain to the various lands Jews settled in after their expulsion in 1492.

You won’t want to miss this fascinating conversation which examines the questions of what makes Sephardic music so universally appealing, and how it has survived through centuries and numerous.

Send a note to register for this and all the Journeys in Jewish Music series. All are welcome and the talks are free of charge thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

  • Join online: CLICK HERE
  • Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
  • Meeting ID: 958 9049 0481
  • Passcode: 333095

Jewish Community Choir welcomes new singers

Carol thanks the audience!
Carol thanks the audience!

Next rehearsal Tuesday, December 10, 2019 —The Jewish Community Choir welcomes new voices to join our friendly, non-auditioned choir. We meet regularly to enjoy singing from a vast repertoire of Jewish music, accompanied by a gifted pianist. We sing both sacred and secular songs from Jewish composers, from centuries past to the modern day, including synagogue music as well as Yiddish and Israeli folk and songs from Broadway and popular songwriters. We sing in English, Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish and Ladino (or Judeo-Spanish) – all transliterated into English language syllables. We are non-denominational and welcome all, including non-Jews. The ability to read music or prior choir experience, while helpful, is not required.

Our weekly rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 at Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue. We next gather on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. If interested please contact our choir Director, Carol Sokoloff at 250-385-3378 or

What a fine concert!

Carol thanks the audience!On Sunday June 7, an appreciative crowd attended the Jewish Community Choir Evening of Jewish Music concert. The audience enjoyed the music and expressed genuine enthusiasm as they mingled with the choir after the performance and enjoyed refreshments.  Here are a few photos from this lovely evening. Thank you, Penney and Frances Aknai for making these available.

Israeli songwriter featured with Jewish Community Choir

Sunday, June 25 at 7:30 pm • 


The Victoria Jewish Community Choir presents Song of Songs & Other Jewish Melodies—a choral concert of music from many lands and times, on Sunday, June 25th at 7:30 pm at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC.

Directed by Carol Sokoloff and accompanied by pianist Laura Cave, the choir will perform ancient and modern songs in English, Yiddish and Hebrew. Compositions celebrating love and spring, based on the Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) will be featured along with guest artist Israeli/Canadian singer/songwriter Susan Cogan. Admission is by donation ($15 suggested).

Part of Susan & Fran—a popular Israeli duo who recorded some of Israel’s best loved songs—songwriter Susan Cogan now lives on Salt Spring Island. Soon to release her tenth CD, she will perform both well-known and original songs in Hebrew and English. Samples of her music can be heard at

The concert takes place in the inspiring heritage sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El, the oldest synagogue in continual use in Canada. A portion of proceeds will be donated towards the upkeep of the heritage synagogue where the Jewish Community Choir is privileged to rehearse. Admission is by donation ($15 suggested) and refreshments will be served following the concert. The Victoria Jewish Choir acknowledges the support of the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

The Jewish Choir rehearses weekly from October to June. New voices of all faiths are welcome. 

For further information on the concert ‘Song of Songs’, guest artist Susan Cogan or the Victoria Jewish Choir, please email Carol Sokoloff, or tel. her at (250) 385-3378.

Another Celebration of Jewish Music

Sunday, Sept.
25, 2:30pm at Congregation Emanu-El

Victoria Jewish Community Choir performs Another Celebration of Jewish Music on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 2:30 pm at Congregation Emanu-el Synagogue,
1461 Blanshard St. Victoria.  

The concert features Jewish music from ancient to modern, East to West, from the synagogue to the stage. The choir, under the direction of Carol Sokoloff and accompanied by Laura Cave, piano and Amber Woods, percussion, will perform Renaissance, Yiddish, Sephardic, Yemenite & Israeli songs as well as music by the Jewish composers Gershwin, Arlen & Berlin. The concert will also feature the Kouskous world music ensemble (Amber Woods and Gary Cohen), as well as solos by choir members.

Admission is by donation ($12 suggested); a
portion of proceeds will be given to the synagogue. For information, email Carol or tel. 250-385-3378.

Jewish Community Choir of Victoria—Open House

Monday, Sept. 12

The Jewish Community Choir of Victoria welcomes
singers in all voice ranges. While there is no strict audition process,
prospective members are invited to an Open House for a chance to sing with the
existing group and find the best section fit. The Jewish Community Choir of
Victoria’s Open House takes place on Monday, September 12, 7:00 pm at
Congregation Emanu-el Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street (main door) Victoria.

Regular choir rehearsals begin on Tuesday
evenings starting in late October. For further information on the Jewish
Community Choir, please email Carol or phone her at 250-385-3378.

intimate vocal ensemble includes inter-faithmembers but sings music from a
stunning array of Jewish sources from different times and places including
traditional and new synagogue music, Yiddish folk and theatre selections,
Israeli folk and pop music, Judeo-Spanish or Sephardic tunes, Broadway and
Standards and songs by Jewish composers such as Gershwin, Leonard Cohen etc..
Although the choir performs songs in English, Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish and
Ladino, all songs are learned as transliterated English syllables.