Simanim kits for Rosh Hashanah

In Talmud we learn about simanim—different foods that serve as portents for extra blessings at Rosh Hashanah. I do not understand the use of symbolic foods as a form of religious magic (theurgy) but I do see them as a way to spark dialogue and open our hearts towards blessings for the coming year. As part of Congregation Emanu-El’s, “Choose your own Rosh Hashanah spiritual adventure” we are offering congregants simanim kits. Each kit will have six different foods to add to your apples and honey and some instructions on how to create your own blessing.

Most of the traditional foods come from a play on words. For example, the word in Aramaic for pumpkin is kara which means read in Hebrew, so when we eat pumpkin we can bless that the reading of the next chapter in our lives be full of joy. Our synagogue caterer Rani Earnhardt will be preparing delicious and exotic symbolic foods for all congregants who are interested. Rabbi Harry and Rabbi Matt will share some blessings on the first night of Rosh Hashanah at a special candle lighting pre-meal Zoom encounter. Hopefully this exercise will get you in the right frame of mind to generate your own meaningful and creative blessings with your family. One way of understanding these symbolic foods is that they are road signs and indicators, that we are sending positive intentions even in the midst of a pandemic and that our paths forward are pathways of joy, peace and connectedness.

If you want your own simanim kit simply call the office at 250-382-0615 or email Zelda at and let us know how many people with whom you will be sharing the kit so we can make sure you have enough goodies. The kits will be available for pick up at the synagogue on Sunday, September 13 between 2 and 4 pm.

2019 Apples & Honey Cake Notice

Apples and Honey Cake 2

Order Deadline: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 — Rosh Hashanah is coming! Give apples and a honey cake to everyone on your Rosh Hashanah list and support programming for our Jewish youth. Honey Cakes are $18 each. Payment can be made by cheque, Visa or MasterCard. For security reasons, we do not accept credit card information by email or fax.
The order form can be downloaded here.
Please fill in the name and telephone number for all recipients. We want your recipient to enjoy fresh honey cake on Rosh Hashanah which begins on Sunday evening, September 29, making delivery before erev Rosh Hashanah difficult. We will phone everyone to inform them of your gift and arrange pick up. Limited deliveries will be made for those not attending services at Emanu-El or unable to pick up on Sunday, September 29 from 11:30am – 1:00pm.

Your completed order form along with payment can be mailed to the synagogue or put in an envelope in the synagogue office drop box. You can also telephone your order into the synagogue office at 250-382-0615 from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.

Children’s Program at Rosh Hashanah


For preschool aged children there will be childcare in the preschool room on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and on Rosh Hashanah Day 2 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

For elementary school aged children there will be “camp style” programming in the social hall on Rosh Hashanah Day 1 beginning at 11 am with kids divided into two groups (by age) for entertainment and learning lead by Leah Levi and Hannah Faber.

Note: Childcare & Children’s program on Yom Kippur

For preschool aged children there will be childcare from 10 am to 1 pm. For school aged children there will be special services and learning starting at 11 am in the Social Hall. Please note that we always ensure that there is a healthy and allergy free lunch for our children.

Apples and Honey 2017/5778

Apples and Honey Cake 2

Order Deadline: September 10 —

Rosh Hashanah is coming! Send apples and a honey cake to everyone on your Rosh Hashanah list and support local programming for Jewish youth. Honey Cakes are $18 each. Payment can be made by cheque, Visa or MasterCard. For security reasons, we do not accept credit card information by email or fax.  Continue reading Apples and Honey 2017/5778

Apples & Honey: Thank You!

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who helped to make this year’s Apples & Honey fundraiser for youth programs such a success.

  • Thank you to Ellen Dragushan and Mitch Witkin for baking all the delicious honey cakes—and Jill Swartz for donating the apples. 
  • Thank you to our delivery volunteers: the Piuti family, Herzog family, Marvin Kurier, Penny Ross and Tony Leiman
  • Also thanks to Solomon Bodrug and Nathaniel for packing the bags. Really hope I didn’t forget anyone!

– RaeAnn

Kids at Emanu-El

We are close to bursting at the seams with children as our congregation expands. We now have the biggest Hebrew School in recent memory. The energy and environment is full of excitement, energy and warmth. We work hard at ensuring that our synagogue feels like a second home to our children, full of care and nurturing.

Under Leah Levi’s wise and loving leadership, our faculty provides a creative and meaningful Jewish experience for all of our children. Our seasoned faculty craft child-centred experiential learning for our children. This year, some of our core teachers are now teaching the children of former students. We are truly living out the Jewish ideal of intergenerational community bonding—midor-l’dor, from generation to generation.

Our Membership Committee has hired a new care provider for Shabbat mornings—Leah Greschner. Leah comes back to us (she had her bat mitzvah here at Emanu-El) with great experience and skills as an educator. Leah is also teaching in our Ganon—the youngest class in the Hebrew school. Leah brings an ease and comfort to childcare.


Our B’nei Mitzvah program is also one of our largest in recent memory. We have a great crop of kids eager to learn about adult responsibilities, Jewish ethics and values while working diligently on Hebrew, prayer and Torah leadership skills. There is also a strong emphasis on learning how to give and receive support as part and parcel of community building. (Click here to see more pictures from our recent B’nei Mitzvah opening hike and trust activities on Mt. Wells.) 

Shalom Daycare, in cooperation with our congregation, offers an incredible early childhood education program that has an Israeli “Gan Yeladim” (kindergarten) feel to it and has some remarkable enrichment opportunities for young children, including music/movement and storytelling. On Friday mornings 

Rabbi Harry joins Shalom Daycare for “Shabbat Club"—a sweet and energetic celebration of the coming Shabbat full of stories, songs and a kiddie Shabbat oneg/Kiddush. Parents with children who are not at Shalom Daycare are strongly invited to join us Friday mornings at 11:00am. Our opening family and community Kabbalat Shabbat and pot luck dinner was an incredible joyful experience full of dancing, song and laughter. It also proved that we need a few more tables to fit us all in.

There will be childcare for the High Holy Days as well as opportunities for learning and youth dialogue. See the High Holy Day calendar for times and dates. Looking forward to all of us being together over the holidays.
Shana Tovah u’mtukah

– Rabbi Harry