Join us for A Light in Dark Times

Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at 6 pm“What happens when Midrash is not generated by the sages of the distant past but rather contemporary artists?” This question, posed by Rabbi Harry, is the basis for the project, Calling All Artists (CAA), which has been held every year since 2005. This year, in the middle of a pandemic, the project was even more meaningful, though its format more unusual. Eighteen artists of different media gathered on Zoom to explore Torah that relates to Hope, Faith and Prayer. For the artists, it was a way to work with Rabbi Harry on braiding a spiritual lifeline during a time of isolation and fear. Please join us on Tuesday, August 24, 2021, on Zoom to celebrate the insights and interpretations of the year’s learning, titled A Light in Dark Times.

Each artist will show their work and explain the process that birthed it. Sculpture, paintings, handmade books, prayer flags, dance, poetry bowls—a treasure of wisdom and creativity. As Rabbi Harry says in his introduction to the project’s chapbook, “In many ways the sages of now are artists; open, courageous, creative seekers of truth and beauty, and conduits to understanding universal essence.”

The show will be hung in the Social Hall from August 20, 2021, to the end of November 2021. The chapbook A Light in Dark Times, which includes the artwork and artists’ statements, will be available through the Gift Shop and the individual artists.

Though not the most intimate of venues, our little Zoom frames are nevertheless wide-spread and accommodating. We would love to celebrate our work with all of you on Zoom, and by invitation only, with a small audience in the synagogue.

Mænni Ruben’s Theresienstadt 1945 Autograph Book

If you have not yet seen the Theresienstadt Autograph Book Exhibit about Mænni Ruben’s story and connection to congregation member Susi Deston (z”l) in the Social Hall, there is still time, as it doesn’t close until August 12, 2021.
The research, exhibit and booklet reflect international participation and last August a newly created project website was launched along with a program sponsored by the Victoria Shoah Project. The original Autograph Book has been donated to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. For viewing before August 12, please contact Congregation Emanu-El office at (250) 382-0615 or for open hours.

Return to In-Person Worship Services

Drawing of Congregation Emanu-El

Saturdays at 10 amRSVP by Friday, 3:30 pm—Throughout the summer, we will hold Shabbat services in the sanctuary, and broadcast the service on Zoom. For now, we are allowing a maximum of 50 people to attend in person. Preregistration along with adherence to all health and safety protocols is required.

If you would like to attend, please register by emailing the synagogue office at before 3:30 pm on the preceding Friday. We look forward to seeing you then!

Rabbi Harry and Aaron Severs

Incident at our synagogue

Dear Haverim (Friends)

We have had an incident at the synagogue that required police intervention. You may have read something regarding this incident through the news or social media.

A mentally ill person brushed past a Gan Shalom (daycare) parent and managed to enter the building not due to any fault of the daycare parent. Another daycare parent quickly called emergency 911 and the police were dispatched. The police were remarkably responsive, communicative and efficient. Our day care children were never in a dangerous situation and for most of the incident they were not aware that anything unusual was happening.

This mentally ill man held himself up in the balcony of the sanctuary; we were not successful at talking him down and out of the building. The police provided a transit bus for the daycare to transport the children to the other Gan Shalom daycare and the children felt like they were going on a field trip. It took the police a bit of force to subdue and retain the intruder and we are left with some broken windows and a mess to clean up. I am super thankful to Victoria’s finest for their professionalism in containing this situation and ensuring that everyone was safe.

This incident had nothing to do with antisemitism and could have occurred in any downtown building. The incident is a difficult and powerful reminder of the intensity and difficulties associated with our current mental health crisis.

I want to also state that the Gan Shalom staff and Gan Shalom parents who stayed by to ensure that the children were safe were remarkable and very calm. We are very safe, our protocols were tested and proved efficient.

B’virkat Shalom
With blessings of peace and wholeness
Rabbi Harry

Drama meets history: a $60,000 offer for the shul

Deed Cast and Crew
Cast and crew of The Original Deed (Photo: Penny Tennenhouse)

“I am two of your characters.” An animated Ben Levinson approached me after the final performance of The Original Deed last Sunday. “I was the one who crawled up into the attic and I was one of those who searched for land for a new shul.” Continue reading Drama meets history: a $60,000 offer for the shul

Your help needed for Back to Shul event!

BTS Volunteers WantedEmanu-El needs YOU to help ensure our Back to Shul event is a total success. We need help schlepping and setting up at the park. We will meet at the shul at 9:30 am to load tables, chairs, etc. and will arrive at the park about 10:15 am to unload and set up. Enthusiasm is the essential ingredient, youth and strength would be wonderful but not a requirement. If you’re happy to help, please call the office at 250-382-0615 or email our Synagogue Director, Betsi to sign up. Thank you in advance for your enthusiastic help.

Open Auditions: September 17 & 18, 7-10 pm

The original deed 3The Original Deed by Sid Tafler is a two-act play that will be staged at Congregation Emanu-El on November 15, 16, 18 and 19, 2017.  There will be Open auditions (9 characters) at Langham Court Theatre Rehearsal Room, (enter through stage door at back) 805 Langham Court Victoria on Sunday, September 17 and Monday, September 18, 7-10 pm. Callbacks: Wednesday, September 20, 7-10 pm. Continue reading Open Auditions: September 17 & 18, 7-10 pm

Part-time Synagogue Director appointed


our congregation has grown, so have our administrative needs. An anonymous
donor, who observed that the steady growth and expansion of congregational life
was challenging the resources of the synagogue staff and volunteers alike,
suggested the addition of a part-time synagogue director. This generous individual
has donated funds to the synagogue to cover this
position into the future.

response to this timely and wonderful offer, Congregation Emanu-El has engaged
Betsi Boeno as a part-time Synagogue Director for a six
month period beginning mid-July 2016. 

The Board is confident that
as our synagogue director, Betsi will assist us in seizing the opportunities
for further growth that we are poised to experience and in strengthening our
synagogue programming and services.

will be responsible for co-ordinating congregational activities, maintaining a
calendar, collaborating with Jewish organizations, and overseeing the resource
needs of synagogue classes, programs, events and venue rentals.

comes to Emanu-El with extensive senior administrative and management
experience. Many of you will know her from Hebrew classes and other projects
she has undertaken in the past year.