Ways to enhance the family home Seder

  1. Create a process that leads up to Pesaḥ. Read
    stories about the holiday, take your children shopping with you. If you have
    special Pesaḥ dishes and ritual items, have your children involved in taking
    them out, polishing them and anticipating their use. If you are not at that
    stage in your religious life—change something in your house. Buy or make a
    new special Passover ritual item—a cup for Elijah or Miriam, a Seder Plate… Teach your children some of your family special recipes or if you do not
    have any, ask another congregant to lend you one—or retrieve one from a
  2. Discuss the Seder as a family, giving
    a role to everyone who is participating. Talk about what you might want guests
    to prepare so they too can participate in a creative way.
  3. Eat
    something more substantial than parsley when you eat your karpas (the
    greens at the Seder). With the blessing for karpas you can eat
    all sorts of vegetables. Make a tray of veggies and dips – in our home, we like
    to have artichokes. Keep away the hunger so you can play and experience. No one
    needs to ask “When are we going to eat?”
  4. Check out multiple haggadot. The key
    is to experience the Exodus. Look on the internet for activities to bring to
    your Seder.
  5. Return to
    the Seder after the meal. There are wonderful songs available for this
    stage of the Seder. Ransom the afikoman. If you have a bunch of
    children at your Seder, have afikoman presents for all so that
    they will be busy playing and let the adults have some Passover time.  
  6. Be
    flexible.  Consider holding part of the Seder
    in the living room on pillows.
  7. Add personal
    memories or contemporary issues to table talk.
  8. Incorporate
    some act of tzdakah into your Passover traditions and preparations.
  9. Research and
    explore different Pesaḥ traditions and incorporate them into your Seder.

Passover 2016 Services Schedule

at Congregation Emanu-El

  • Saturday, April 16 (Shabbat HaGadol): 9:00 am         
  • Friday, April 22:
    8.00 am        Siyyum Bekhorim  
    6:30 pm        Communal Seder
  • Saturday, April 23 (Pesaḥ Day 1): 9:00 am 
  • Sunday, April 24 (Pesaḥ Day 2): 9:00 am
  • Friday, April 29 (Pesaḥ Day 7): 9:00 am
  • Saturday, April 30 (Pesaḥ Day 8): 9:00 am (including Yizkor service)

Please feel free to join us and worship (daven) at one or more of these services.  Bring a friend or family member, too.

May you and yours have a joyous and liberating Passover holiday!

Ḥag Sameaḥ veKasher

– Religious Services Committee

Help make our Seder happen!


Here is our revised timetable for seder preparation assistance. 

Week, April 11th: Prepare kitchen for cleaning and koshering. If you can help during this week, please email Aaron Severs and/or Elisheva Gray:

  • Sunday, April 17th – kashering kitchen
  • Tuesday, April 19th @ 3pm – table set up
  • Wednesday, April 20th morning – vegetable prep.
  • Thursday, April 21st all day – vegetable prep
  • Friday, April 22nd – afternoon setting up and service

If you can help with the above, please email Ruthi (aka Lesley)

Thank you to all those who have already volunteered!

Pesach Market – April 8–17

 Matza, Blintzes, Chicken, Gefilte Fish, Horseradish, Herring, Cheese,
Chocolates, Juice, Marshmallows, Olives, Macaroons, Jams & Jelly, Salami
& Hot Dogs, Gluten Free products and many other Pesach items.  We have
it all at our Hebrew School Pop-Up Market.  

This is our main Hebrew
School fundraiser.  You’ll have a chance to shop and schmooze with other
community members while helping the heart and soul of our community, the
kids!   Please bring your own bags. 

Care to Volunteer?  If
so, please contact Rachel Fisher at rachelfisher@shaw.ca for shifts from April 5th to
April 17th.  Thank you for
your continued support.

Seniors’ Shopping Only

  • Friday,
    April 8            10
    am to 2 pm

Open to All

  • Sunday,
    April 10: 1–4 pm
  • Tuesday,
    April 12: 6–8 pm
  • Wed.,
    April 13: 11am–2 pm and 6–8 pm
  • Thursday,
    April 14: 4–8 pm
  • Friday,
    April 15: 10 am–2 pm
  • Sunday,
    April 17: 1–3 p

Passover 2016 Communal Seder

April 22, 2016, 6:30 pm.


Our annual Passover
Seder will occur on the first night of the holiday. As in years past, this is a family-friendly affair and we expect to have congregants and guests
of all ages. Rabbi Harry Brechner will lead us through the Passover Haggadah
with his special flair, wisdom, and good humour. The evening shall be a joyous,
festive and memorable occasion.

Bird” Seat pricesto be paid by April 8thare as follows:

  • Adults $40 each /
    Students $25 each / Children (under 10 years) $18 each
  • Special family price
    (2 adults plus 2 students/children): $100.

After April 8, seat
are as follows:

  • Adults $44 each /
    Students $25 each / Children (under 10 years) $18 each
  • Special family price
    (2 adults plus 2 students/children): $110

Date for Reservations is Tuesday, April 19.



Please see the Order Form.  
We will need to know how many seats you require in the correct

Cheques should be made payable to “Congregation Emanu-El
and mailed to or dropped off at Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street,
Victoria, BC V8W 2J3.  Please fill in the electronically-fillable PDF Order Form and enclose it with your payment.  Your order form with cheque or credit card
payment (VISA/Mastercard) may be brought to the  Office from Tuesday to
Thursday from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

For further information, you may contact the Synagogue Office at

Post-Secondary Students
currently enrolled in Post-Secondary Education are welcome at Congregation Emanu-El’s
Communal Seder at no cost.  You must
reserve with the Synagogue at info@congregationemanuel.ca or 250-382-0615 as seats
go very quickly.

There is only
one opportunity a year to cross the Sea of Reeds with Rabbi Harry. Don’t miss
out on the journey. Seats are filling up quickly and this joyous event sells
out every year. Please contact the shul office and place your order before
April 19.  

Yizkor Second Day Festival

Yizkor is a time for us to invoke the memory of loved ones.  At Passover it is especially poignant after encountering the empty chair at seder.  

This Shabbat morning (April 11), light a ner neshama—ayahrzheit soul candle—and through prayer and self-reflection we recall the memories of those who gave us life, those who taught us core lessons, those who shared our most intimate moments and those who touched us in the deepest and most powerful ways who are no longer with us on this planet.

Rabbi Harry’s Passover Message

We are in the final stretch before the Passover festival—a period when we invoke ideals of liberation and renewal.  I strongly feel that, at this juncture of history, we Jews are very fractured and are at risk of becoming even more fragmented.  The recent elections in Israel, combined with the rising dread of racism and anti-Semitism on our planet, is fuelling this fragmentation. Whether we like it or not, events in Israel affect all Jews everywhere, whether we are sharing grief or sharing pride.  How Israel is depicted in the media and popular culture affects world and local attitudes towards Jews.  

It teaches in our tradition that each one of us is obligated to feel as if we personally left the bondage of Mitzrayim (Egypt, the place of being stuck and enslaved) and were liberated by Divine Source.  Passover is not just a point in our history, but the paradigm of liberation.  If you believe, like I do, that Torah is fully relevant, then you hold that right now, at this season of renewal, we are blessed with the potential for liberation on a personal and a collective level.

It is my prayer and hope that we can transcend the ideologies, categories, politics and tribalism that currently threaten to divide us as a people. We are divided along the lines of fear versus hope, scarcity versus abundance, nationalism versus universalism.  We are divided by a lens of Torah interpretation that is in tension with democratic and egalitarian values.  In these past elections in Israel, we even saw various political parties trying to divide us by the ethnic lines of Ashkenazi versus Sephardic or Mizrahi.     Humanity is in need of inspired leadership, but we have only politicians.  It also seems that through social media and the internet, political campaigning never ends.  

This Passover, we have much to talk about as a family, as community and as a people. This year, may we truly feel the fragmentation of the broken middle Matzah during Yaḥatz at our sdarim.   When we get to tzafun and search out the afikoman, may we turn our intentions to wholeness; finding pride in the core values that unite us as Jews; finding strength in a renewed unity; finding the courage to be a “Light unto the Nations.”  May we all be liberated from our prison-like silos of ideology and partisanship, and find the paths of equanimity that lead us to shalom—if not for our own sake, then for the sake of our children.

Communal Seder: Help Needed

Now is your chance to join our Congregation Emanu-El family Pesaḥ Brigade and help make our communal Seder a fun and meaningful event. Our Seder will take place on Friday, April 3, 2015 and your help will ensure it will again be, a resounding success.

We need volunteers to help with the following:
•    Set up tables in the social hall – likely Thurs 2nd April evening or Fri 3rd in the am
•    Preparing food – our sensational Chef Yakov will be prepping on and off during the week prior and on Fri 3rd.
•    Serving food.
•    Clean-up after the Seder.
If you can help out during the week before, during or after the Seder, please contact the synagogue office at 250-382-0615 or email Ruthie (aka Lesley) and give your name and contact details. Please specify which tasks you would be available to help with.

Volunteer a little or volunteer a lot. All help is greatly appreciated and will contribute to the success of our special evening together.

Thank you,
The Pesaḥ Brigade

Pesah Market, March 20–29

An Emanu-El Hebrew School Fundraiser


A wide selection of Kosher for Passover Dry Goods and Frozen Food

  • Seniors’ Shopping Only
    • Friday, March 20, 10 am to 2 pm

  • Open to All:
    • Sunday, March 22, 1–4 pm
    • Tuesday, March 24, 6–8 pm
    • Wednesday, March 25, 4–8 pm
    • Thursday, March 26, 4–8 pm
    • Friday, March 27, 10 am–2 pm
    • Sunday, March 29, 1–3 pm  
  • Simcha Gift Shop will be open
  • Cash and cheques only
  • Please bring shopping bags

If you are going to be away, placeyour order with Leah at 250-370-1246