Hilary Marks: first recipient of Kim Manton Spirit Award

We extend a sincere mazel tov to congregant Hilary Marks, the first recipient of the Kim Manton Spirit Award
Kim Manton was a well-respected Victoria labour and political activist who died in June 2020. Kim’s sunny disposition, enthusiasm, passion and energy made those around her want to work harder, do more and reach further to make the world a better place. To honour her life, Kim’s colleagues created the Kim Manton Spirit Award, which recognizes an outstanding individual in Victoria who upholds the belief that everyone, particularly those in greatest need, deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.
Hilary Marks embodies the spirit and intent of the Kim Manton Spirit Award. Generous with her time, respectful and caring, Hilary is deeply committed to the well-being and dignity of those living in poverty. For decades, she has worked for the rights of people struggling on low incomes, those who are homeless, and those dealing with addiction or mental illness. The Kim Manton Spirit Award publicly acknowledges Hilary’s significant history of work—both paid and volunteer—that has improved the lives of others. Hilary is someone who has reached further and done more to improve conditions for those whose voices we rarely hear. 

Continue reading Hilary Marks: first recipient of Kim Manton Spirit Award

Help for street family desperately needed!


We received the following email from Rev Al, Executive Director Victoria Dandelion Society. We hope that you are able to assist us in responding to this great need with a contribution to Avodah.

“It’s dangerously cold outside, and lives could be at risk!  This morning, as I handed out coffee to men and women with icy hands, I heard stories of people struggling to get by, unable to find shelter.  The need is urgent. My street family desperately need shelter, sleeping bags and warm clothing today.

With your help, I’ll purchase items like sleeping bags, jackets and mittens to keep my street family warm. You’ll also help me to find shelter for people who are most at risk today.  Please give!”

Congregant Michael Bloomfield receives prestigious National Philanthropy Day Award

Michael Bloomfield PhilanthropyTzedakah is a fundamental part of the Jewish way of life and of Michael Bloomfield’s life. There are many ways we can fulfill our obligation to perform tzedakah including helping the poor and we Jews know that we must do more than just taking care of our own. Michael Bloomfield has been a tireless contributor to our kehillah, the larger community and our world. Congregation Emanu-El celebrates his generosity and kindness which was recognized by a well-deserved National Philanthropy Day Award at a ceremony held on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at the McPherson Playhouse.

Since 2007 Michael has raised funds and socks to provide over 100,000 pairs, worth at least $500,000 to 30 organizations serving people in need. In accepting the award at McPherson Playhouse Michael shared with the audience the Jewish belief that “whoever saves one life, it is as if saving an entire world” and inspired them to action by saying “you don’t have to be rich to be a philanthropist you just need to care.”

Congratulations to Michael Bloomfield who dedicated the award to Christine and the many donors and partners, including Emanu-El, Cool-Aid and McGregor’s Socks who have made the Socks project a great success, helping many people and families.

Harbour Cats•Emanu-El•Anwim House Fundraiser a Success!

Anawim Sock Toss

On Monday July 10, 2019 Harbour Cats baseball game there was a fundraiser “homer sock toss”. Socks provided by Emanu-El were sold for $2 to the fans for the toss and redistributed by Anawim House to the needy following the game. The evening was a huge success and raised over $1000 for Anawim House. In the words of Terry Edison-Brown, Director, Anawim House, “It would not have been possible without the gracious donation of 260 pairs of socks from the Congregation Emanu-El. It is this type community support that is so important in helping Anawim help those that want to make change in their lives. Thank you so much.”

Consider Avodah in your year end donations!

Avodah helps 2

“Brrrr it’s cold out!” As the days have become shorter and the cold and wet nights longer, our thoughts are with our less fortunate, vulnerable friends in Victoria.
Presently, Avodah provides support through our ongoing commitments to these local agencies:

  • Burnside Gorge Community Association
  • Our Place Society
  • Out of the Rain
  • Quadra Village Community Centre

Additionally Avodah has had special projects like providing sleeping bags to the Dandelion Society and, last year, delivering over 325 pairs of underwear to numerous small groups.
We rely on the generosity of congregants and friends to continue this work and to increase our commitments.
Please consider making an end-of-year donation to our shul’s social action group, Avodah.

Socks for our Neighbours in Need

Socks 4

Once again Michael Bloomfield has picked up the challenge of getting warm socks for people in need as cold and rain approach. Where once the socks were donated, the past few years he has needed to raise about $7,000 for 7,500 pairs of socks. Your help is needed to find another $2,000 at $25, $50, $100 a time to reach our goal. Businesses large and small have donated about $5000 and La-Z-Boy is covering shipping from Toronto. Continue reading Socks for our Neighbours in Need

Avodah Sock Campaign


Over the past seven years McGregor Socks has
generously donated over 60,000 pairs of socks to Avodah for those in need in our
community. While McGregor has been incredibly generous, meeting requests for
socks from communities across Canada has overwhelmed them. Starting this year, McGregor will charge Avodah about 86 cents/pair. Although this is still very
generous, it means we need to raise more than $5000 to buy our annual supply.
Our partnership with McGregor is a special one and the need remains great. Foot
health problems are serious within the street community.

Let’s keep this incredible effort going. Over 30
agencies in our region participate in this program by distributing socks to
their clients. Perhaps no other activity is more recognized in Victoria for the
Jewish community’s social action.

Avodah has pledged $1000 to the campaign. Let’s raise
that and add some more for this wonderful Avodah project. Our partners at
Cool-Aid also have committed $1000. We have contributions from Murray Rankin,
Michael and Christine Bloomfield, two law firms – Cook-Roberts and Wadell-Raponi,
Megson-Fitzpatrick Insurance and the accounting firm, Hutcheson & Co. Anthony
Gray. La-Z-Boy has again generously committed to cover shipping from Toronto. 

Please send your donations to the synagogue marked
Avodah sock campaign and thank you for your kindness and community spirit.

Michael Bloomfield, Avodah

Judith’s “Marathon of Home”


Coming (eventually) to your Vancouver
Island community

Congregation Emanu-El
member, Judith Belton, is running the length of her home land of Vancouver Island (460
km!)—but not all at once! She’s running first near her home in Mill Bay, (before
and after work on weekdays, 10 km stretches on weekends). Later, she will
travel to various communities on the Island and do long runs there.

Her hope is to raise funds
to help support the many social action initiatives performed at her spiritual
home, the synagogue (Avodah, the Out of the Rain Program, Outreach and Refugee Sponsorship
Program) and help bring down the deficit. Did you know that membership fees in
Congregation Emanu-El only cover 60% of the synagogue’s operating costs? Judith has been
on the board of Congregation Emanu-El for several years and has never
experienced a no-deficit year. She is hoping her run will encourage donations
to the synagogue in the form of per/km pledges or outright modest contributions. So
far Judith has logged 62 km. She hopes to use this space, to make regular
updates of her progress.  

If you want to make her
footsteps count, please issue a cheque payable to Congregation Emanu-El and
mail it to 1461
Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2J3. The synagogue’s phone number is (250) 382-0615. You can also email. Please
indicate that the
fund-raising run has prompted your donation.