Hoshaana Rabbah at the Brechners CANCELLED

IMG_5424Due to the death of Congregation Emanu-El family member, David Siegel Z”L,  Hoshaana Rabbah celebrations at the Brechners are cancelled.

Hoshaana Rabbah, the seventh day of Sukkot is a semi-holiday. Falling as it does on a Hebrew School Day this year (2018), Rabbi Harry and RaeAnn have extended an invitation to the Hebrew School students, their families and community members to join them at their sukkah for a festival service  at 11 am. Following service, the Brechners will host an Open House from 12 – 2 pm. For the address, directions or to RSVP, contact RaeAnn at 250-885-7552 or by email.

Do You Have Your Lulav & Etrog?


Order deadline: August 31Dear Friends, “Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, begins on September 24, 2018.  As in past years, we will place orders for Lulav and Etrog sets on behalf of those congregants who wish to purchase these ritual items. We are pleased to have Israel’s The Judaica Centre (www.israelsjudaica.com) as our supplier this year.
Prices: Regular Set $75 Enhanced Set $85
To purchase a set, submit your order including payment to the synagogue office. If paying by credit card (VISA/Mastercard) you may do so by phone (250-382-0615) during office hours (Tuesday to Thursday 9:30 am to 2:30 pm). All orders must be received and pre-paid no later than August 31.

Wishing you and your family a Shanah Tovah U’Metukah – A Healthy and Sweet New Year!”
Religious Services Committee
Kehillat Kodesh Emanu-El

Shop at Simcha Gift Shop for Sukkot

P1050250The Simcha Gift Shop at Congregation Emanu-El has kippot, tallitot, mapot and many other Judaica items. The gift shop is located at Congregation Emanu-El at the southern end of the Social Hall.
You may shop during office hours: Tues-Thurs 9:30-2:30 or by appointment by email. We accept cash, cheques, and credit cards. Come check us out!

About the Lulav and Etrog

It is ordained in Leviticus 23:40: “On the first day (of Sukkot) you shall take the product of hadar (goodly) trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.”

These Arbah Minim (‘Four Species’) are 4 plant species which are used ritually as part of the observance of the festival of Sukkot. Three of the species (the palm, willow and myrtle) are placed in a special plaited holder and collectively are known as a lulav; the fourth of the species, the fruit of the citron tree which is known in Hebrew as an etrog, is held together with the lulav.

It is a mitzvah (commandment) to shake or wave the Four Species on each of the seven days of Sukkot, usually before or during the Morning Service. This shaking or waving of the Four Species is symbolic of the completion of the yearly cycle, of freedom, and of peace and harmony. We shake the lulav in every direction to indicate God’s presence throughout the world, while facing east towards Jerusalem.

Because an etrog can easily be damaged and because certain kinds of damage cause it to become unacceptable for use as part of the Four Species on Sukkot, it is typically wrapped in protective layers and placed inside a box (אתרוג תיבת).

Words about the Sukkot Retreat

byNomi Kaston

To arrive at Camp Miriam on Gabriola Island is to arrive at a lively, spirited serenity among trees and rocks, overlooking the sea. This was my first encounter with Camp Miriam, and although camp was over for the summer and we were there for a Sukkot Retreat of families, through Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El, the voices of the summer camp’s children were there everywhere, echoing happy times and a celebration of Jewish identity.

First, we shared in the building of a sukkah, perched high over the sea. Then, as more families arrived, we gathered for a hike along the seaside, where seals bobbed in the waves. Back to camp for Shabbat candles, blessings, a hot meal in the sukkah, and a spirited Kabbalat Shabbat service filled with singing, dancing and the music of harp and guitar.
Off to sleep in cabins or tents, and to wake up to a shared breakfast and Shabbat services, featuring Rabbi Harry’s wondrous simultaneous Hebrew Torah reading and chanted explanation in English, a magnificent way for participants of all ages to encounter and relate to the Torah reading. Three tiny boys stood at the child-height table where the Torah was opened out, chins resting on little hands as they followed along, like little old men in the shtetl. With Rabbi Harry’s masterfully chanted storytelling, we could see the children of Israel despairing as Moses left them, gathering to build and to worship the Golden Calf. The cadence of the original Hebrew words and the clarity of the inter-lineal translation brought the narrative to life for all of us. The folly of this slip up in our people’s history came all the more clear with Rabbi Harry’s personal mantra, Ayn Od Milvado, “There is None Other Than God”.
  This, along with yogic breathing exercises and singing, fulfilled Rabbi’s Harry’s promise to stretch our comfort zones regarding ritual and prayer. There was just enough of the comforting, expected service, to bring continuity.  Congregation Emanu-El, with roots, and with wings.
    Uri Levi gave a fascinating lesson in Talmud, bringing to mind the morning’s blessings, which we had said in groups of two, one saying each blessing, and the other responding Amen.  My partner Beatrice and I were moved at the synergy between praising God who makes us free and praising God who guides us. The idea of being at the same time guided and free came clear when we saw, with Uri, that despite all the guidance that Torah gives, the Talmudists pondered and argued for years on each small detail of the interpretation of the law. Our people is guided by Torah, and at the same time laden with an enormous responsibility of freedom to interpret, re-understand, and adapt the Law from situation to situation, generation to generation.
   Aside from the organized events at this Sukkot Retreat, rich conversations sprung up around the dinner tables, and on the Shabbat walks along wooded roads to beautiful seaside beaches.
 Our Shabbat ended with a dreamy Havdalah around a crackling campfire, the fire’s song joining in with our singing. Leah Levi, a mother to all of us throughout the retreat, had us cross hands and sway in one circle, singing the Camp Miriam sleeptime song.
  For the little children who are not yet old enough for summer camp, and for the older folk who are decades past the camping years, this was a wondrous adventure in communal singing, learning, praying, and sharing together in the the joy of Sukkot. To all who orchestrated this year’s Sukkot Retreat, may you grow in strength and joy!!