A River Could Be a Tree


Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 6:30 pm — Angela Himsel launches her memoir, “A River Could Be a Tree” on Wednesday, February 13, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, UVic Engineering and Computer Sciences Building, Room 108.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Join Angela as she discusses her recent memoir about growing up in an apocalyptic fringe religion in Indiana and her journey to Judaism. Himsel’s seemingly impossible road from childhood cult to a committed Jewish life is traced in and around the major events of the 1970s and 80s with warmth, humor, and a multitude of religious and philosophical insights. A River Could Be a Tree is a fascinating story of struggle, doubt, and finally, personal fulfillment. Himsel is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has an MFA in creative writing from The City College of New York.

A Sephardic Celebración

sephardic celebracionSunday, February 10, 2019 2:30—5:00 pm — Join us for a fun celebration of Sephardic Jewish Culture. Come learn about the history of Turkish Sephardic Jews, sample Sephardic foods and listen to Sephardic Music at Congregation Emanu-El on Sunday, February 10 from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. This is the third presentation in the Exploring the Sephardic Legacy series. Continue reading A Sephardic Celebración

Explaining the priest/prophet divide

IMG_6024-001Dr. Francis Landy intrigued the audience who came out to hear him speak about the Biblical Prophets on Sunday, April 29. He provided a sociocultural context for the prophets within Jewish history, pointing out that the concerns of the prophets differed greatly from those of the priests who were completely centered on the temple religious practice.

He acquainted the audience with the prophets’ anti-ritualist perspective – one which considered temple and temple ritual as unnecessary, dangerous and potentially corrupt. He presented the prophets as a group of inspired poets who considered the values of justice, righteousness and kindness as the pathway to reflecting divine wisdom in our lives.  Landy will follow-up with a talk exploring the prophets’ writings on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 pm at Congregation Emanu-El synagogue.


Judaism – An Introduction


Course starts January 18, 2018 — Join Rabbi Harry Brechner from Congregation Emanu-El for this informative 8-week course, which introduces Jewish beliefs, practice and history. The course reflects egalitarian Conservative Judaism: the topics include holidays, life cycle celebrations, theology and core beliefs, prayer, Jewish sacred texts, history, the Holocaust, and Israel. This course is open to anyone wishing to explore the many facets of Judaism.

  • Dates: January 18, 2018 and ending March 15, 2018*
  • Time: Thursdays, 7:30 – 9:00 pm
  • Sessions: 8
  • Location: Congregation Emanu-El sanctuary
  • Cost: $90 for students, $120 for members, $150 for nonmembers.
  • Note: Pre-register through the office (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm phone: 250-382-0615)
  • Further information, contact Chanah by email: chanahaviva@gmail.com

*There will be a one week break in February: date TBA.


History of Jewish Scholarship on Islam: The Story of a Fascination

Thursday, March 23 at 4:30 pm
University of Victoria, David Strong Building C118

As a leading scholar of Judaism, and religion and culture in European history, Dr. Heschel will present the history of Jewish scholarship on Islam in the modern world. 

In the nineteenth century, Jewish scholars in Europe began to demonstrate the parallels between Judaism and Islam. Theirs was a distinct Orientalism that focused on Islam’s rationalism, monotheism, and religious law. Dr. Heschel will reflect on the role of Jewish scholarship within the larger context of the nineteenth century’s approach to “religion,” European imperialism, and its adoption and transformation of insights drawn from New Testament scholarship.  This is a free event; the general public is invited.

Rabbi Harry talk at “Religions of the World” series

Thursday, January 19, 12–1pm

Rabbi Harry opens the second series of lunch time lectures
(noon to 1:00 pm) on Religions of the World on Thursday, January 19, at Christ
Church Cathedral
, Chapter Room, Quadra and Rockland. 

Christ Church Cathedral
and the Multi-Faith Society are the co-sponsors for this series of talks which
take place on Thursdays through to February 16 with a different speaker each
week. For more information call 250-383-2714 or go to website

Other speakers are:

  • January 26 – Sri Ganti (Hindu)
  • February 2 – Wayne Codling (Buddhist)
  • February 9 – Parminder Virk (Sikh)
  • February 16 – TBA (Aboriginal Neighbours – The
    Blanket Exercise) 

Bring your lunch or just sit and listen. Coffee and tea will be