Theatre Inconnu presents: “Bad Jews”


Theatre Inconnu presents the recent Off-Broadway smash hit: Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, Feb 16 – Mar 5.
Three young Jewish adults – Daphna and her two cousins: brothers Jona and Liam; along with Melody – Liam’s non-Jewish girlfriend – find themselves together in the aftermath of the grandfather’s funeral. A vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues. 

This is a play that probes deeply – yet humourously – into our need to be both embraced by, and acknowledged as distinct within, the community with which we choose to align ourselves: be it based in faith, kinship, or friendship. The dialogue is blistering and riveting as each character strives to attain this balance. Preview and performances take place at Theatre Inconnu, 1923 Fernwood Road (across the street from the Belfry Theatre).  

For tickets and other information:

  • Preview: Feb 16, 8pm
  • 8pm shows: Feb 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 27;   Mar 1, 3, 4, 5
  • 2pm show: Feb 20, 27; Mar 5

Post-show talkback opportunity following these performances hosted by:

  • Feb 18: Louis Sutker – psychologist and rabbi.
  • Feb 23: Peter Golden – family and immigration, and refugee lawyer.
  • Mar 5 matinee: Rick Kool – founded MA in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University.

Bema Productions Presents: “The Grandkid”


Last week of October, at the synagogue

Bema Productions is delighted to be
offering four performances of The Grandkid by John Lazarus at Congregation
Emanu-El Synagogue
, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria—directed by Zelda Dean and
starring Michael Armstrong and Amanda Wear

Julius Rothstein and his granddaughter Abby have loved each other from opposite ends of Canada since Abby was born. But now, accepted as a freshman student at the university where Julius teaches, Abby is moving in with him to be close to school and to keep her newly widowed grandfather company. The two must negotiate a new relationship as housemates and friends, which means dealing with issues of youth and age, work and play, activism and apathy, homework and heart attacks, and those three tricky topics: sex, politics and religion.

Tickets $20 each are available from Ivy’s Bookshop, Russell Books,
Synagogue Office and at the door.
Information: or
250-544-1322. Performance dates and times:

  • Saturday, October 24 @7:30 pm
  • Sunday, October 25 @ 2:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 31 @7:30 pm
  • Sunday, November 1 @ 2:00 pm

Adult Education Programme, 5776

  • Regular Classes—Returning:
    • Mystic Mocha: weekly from Friday, Oct 9
    • Lunch & Learn: weekly from Tuesday, Oct 27
    • Morashah: dates TBA
    • Calling All Artists: One evening per month, from Tuesday Oct 27
  • Regular Classes—New: 
    • Beginner Hebrew: 10 classes from Wed October 7, 7pm
    • Ḥug Ivrit (Hebrew Circle): Conversational Hebrew from Nov. 3
    • Baby Yoga: Every Monday in November, 10:45 – 11:45 am
    • Aleph Through the Looking Glass: Wednesdays, Jan 20–Feb 24
    • Philosopher’s Cafe with Alan Rutkowski (dates TBA). 
  • Special Events—Autumn 2015: 

For more details, read on…

Mystic Mocha, 5776

Fridays, 12:30–1:30pm, from Oct 9th, at the Solstice Café on Pandora St.

Come explore the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Harry. Together we will mine classical Kabbalistic and Ḥassidic commentaries to find personal insights and spiritual nourishment, as we search for deeper meaning and understanding. Grab a nosh and join Rabbi Harry for this weekly learning.

Participation by donation


Thursdays, 7pm, at the synagogue

This class is intended for people who
have taken the Intro to Judaism class or any members who would like to deepen
their knowledge of what it means to live a Jewish life. Contact the office or
Rabbi Harry for more information. 

Lunch & Learn, 5776

Tuesdays, 12:30–1:30pm from Oct 13th, at the synagogue

Bring your dairy brown bag lunch and join Rabbi Harry for some spiritual nourishment at lunchtime. We take a particular text, then work our way through it over the weeks, through a progressive Torahitic lens. You will gain personal insight into and more profound meaning of, the weekly Torah portion. If you have a burning Jewish question we can address that too.  

Participation by donation

Calling All Artists

Tuesdays, October 27 onwards

Returns for a ninth season! Artists of all media—writers, graphic artists, visual artists, fabric artists, mixed media, musicians, dancers—are invited to study with Rabbi Harry on a particular theme, exploring biblical, rabbinical, and traditional commentaries. This year the theme will be the Revelation on Mt. Sinai, and the concept of revelation itself: what is revealed, what is hidden, what is known at a soul level, what cannot be known.

After 5 sessions of study, one evening per month, continuing until the end of February, artists will interpret the theme and present their work at a Gala Evening in June, around the time of Shavuot.

Art as Midrash—what could be more exciting?

Cost is $50 for members, $75 for non-members, with possible additional costs to create a chapbook of the artists’ work.  Watch this space for details of registration.

Beginner Hebrew

10 classes of 2 hours each, from Wed October 7, 7pm

Your Adult Ed team is delighted to welcome Betsy Boeno, who will teach our new beginner Hebrew class.  She will use the classic Hebrew alphabet, but the main focus of the course will be conversation and giving you the confidence to start speaking very quickly.

Betsy has extensive experience teaching Hebrew. She attended high school in Israel and helped new olim with their Hebrew.  For a number of years she was a tourist guide for visiting Israelis in Turkey, where she also taught Hebrew at a number of synagogues.  She taught a class here over the summer, and some of the comments from her students include:

“Betsy makes learning Hebrew such fun and you learn so much.”  

“She is so enthusiastic.”

“I go into her class feeling tired and lethargic and I come out completely re-energized.”

$100 for members, $140 for non-members.

Download the Registration Form

Ḥug Ivrit: Conversational Hebrew club

Tuesdays, November 3 onwards, 10:45–11:45 am

Conversational Hebrew with native speaker Dahlia Beck

Is your Hebrew well beyond the beginner level, but you know you require more practice speaking in order to improve your listening, comprehension and vocabulary skills? Our new Ḥug Ivrit may be just what you are looking for.  We’ll meet in informal settings, such as coffee shops and private homes, to immerse ourselves in Hebrew conversation and culture, under Dahlia’s careful guidance.

Just think, after only a few sessions you may find yourself discussing the news coming out of Israel, in HEBREW – how cool is that?  

Participation – by donation.

Details on places and times to be announced. How often Ḥug Ivrit meets will be decided at the first session.

Baby Yoga

Every Monday in November 10:45–11:45 am, at the synagogue.

Please come and join Yoga Therapist  Michelle Rubin & baby Hudson for this fun and therapeutic class. Michelle draws from 30 years of personal Yoga practice and has over a decade of local and international teaching experience.

Michelle & baby Hudson will lead you through simple but effective poses to help you reclaim your hips & shoulders while preparing your back for your ever growing bundle of joy.

  • Who is it for: Caregiver(s) & baby. Older siblings are welcome to join in and thankfully new resident bubbie (grandma) Barb Pelman will be on hand to help entertain them with storytelling and activities.
  • Cost: Donation to synagogue of $10 pre-register for all 5 classes OR $5 drop-in fee.  Please bring cash or cheque to first class.
  • What to bring : Yoga mat(s) & a comfy blanket or rug for baby.

For additional yoga information please email Michelle.

This is a great opportunity to meet and hang out with other parents of young children.

Forum on marijuana

Tuesday, November 24, 7pm at the Sanctuary

A very important forum on marijuana, led by experts in the field of medical research, the negative effects on society as a whole caused by the criminalization of its use, and how it can be safely decriminalized.  We will also hear from an experienced and respected grower of the plant.  Our own Rabbi Harry will moderate and discuss the halakhic implications of its use.

Watch for further details shortly.

Aleph Through the Looking Glass: The course

Wednesdays, Jan 20–Feb 24, 2016, at 7:00 pm, at the synagogue

After his acclaimed talks earlier this year, Jonathan Orr-Stav returns with a full five-lesson course to help you master Hebrew script quickly—ideal for any beginner to Hebrew.

This course is a revolutionary and highly effective way of learning the Hebrew aleph-bet. Basing it on his book of the same title, Orr-Stav shows how any literate English speaker can master the essentials of writing in Hebrew within five lessons, separately from the language itself, thanks to a historical kinship between the two alphabets, fundamental manual tendencies known as “chirodynamics”, and a little-known fact that most HFL (Hebrew as a Foreign Language) books would rather you didn’t know. The sessions are projected to be an hour each. Workbooks will be provided.

Cost: $50 to members, $70 to non-members. Orr-Stav’s book, Learn to Write the Hebrew Script: Aleph Through the Looking Glass will also be available at a discounted rate of $25 for anyone interested.  

Philosopher’s Café

Beginning in January and led by Alan Rutkowski.  We’ll meet informally in private homes to discuss Jewish philosophers based on readings, which Alan will provide prior to the meeting, so you’ll have a chance to consider them beforehand.

Possible philosophers will include Abraham Joshua Heschel, David Hartman, Joseph Soloveitchik, Martin Buber and Yeshayahu Leibowitz.  

Participation: by donation.  Watch this space for start dates and times

“The Best Meal You Ever Ate”


Bema Productions’ newest offering served up in style for Victoria Fringe Festival audiences. (See selection of scenes from the opening night)

Warning:  Attending This Performance May Cause Cravings For Fine Dining
Director Zelda Dean writes: 

“In an intimate venue, you will sit with the last two survivors of the ghetto.  The story unfolds through an exquisite act of kindness as they are offered a gourmet meal. This is where philosophy faces food, where the intellect meets all the senses, and the sublime rubs up against the ridicu-licious. It’s entertaining, serious, funny and thought provoking.  I am directing a stellar cast (see attached poster) and would appreciate you spreading the word through your own contact list.

Tickets are $11 each; they can be purchased through Ticket Rocket at 250-590-6291 or at the door, but we are only seating 65 per show so buy early.  

  • Thursday, August 27           7:00 pm
  • Sunday, August 30              2:00 pm
  • Tuesday, September 1       7:00 pm
  • Wednesday, September 3 7:00 pm
  • Sunday, September 6         2:00 pm

Avram, formerly an assistant professor at the university, and his wife Netti, are the last two Jews left alive in the ghetto fighting the Nazis, and they haven’t eaten in days. To their astonishment, a chef, Jean-Paul, makes his way to where they have hidden, bringing with him a wonderful meal, complete with wines. Jean-Paul explains that he applauds their courage, and has persuaded the German commander that they should be allowed one final, sublime meal before they are destroyed. But is it kosher? And…could that dish actually be ham?

This is a well-crafted play of depth and heart with irresistible characters written by Bruce J. Bloom and has earned raves from New York to New Zealand.

Bema Productions presents: 17 Stories

Victoria’s newest theatre company, Bema Productions, is thrilled to be offering the world premiere of 17 Storiesby award-winning Canadian playwright, Caroline Russell-King.

17 Stories is an ensemble piece starring Michael Armstrong, Michael Bell, Melissa Taylor, Jessica Van der Veen, and Christine Upright. Zelda Dean directs.

  • At Congregation Emanu-El
  • Saturday, November 29, 2014 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, November 30, 2014 2:00 pm

This 85-minute contemporary drama is based on a series of interviews addressing and exploring personal loss.  17 Stories is not “verbatim” theatre, but rather a weaving together of personal experiences into a dramatic piece. Stories include loss of one’s pet, loss of health and/or mobility, loss of identity, loss of an established career, and of course, loss of loved ones. Despite the subject matter, the script incorporates many moments of humour. 17 Stories is an engaging, entertaining and meaningful experience for adult audiences.

Tickets are $10 each, and are available at Russell Books in Victoria, at Ivy’s Bookshop in Oak Bay, at the synagogue office during regular hours and at the door.

A Special Slihot Experience


Please join Rabbi Harry and congregants in a showing of the play My Rabbi on Saturday, September 20 at 8pm at the Belfry Theatre.  At the end of the performance there will be talk back dialogue with Rabbi Harry.  

There will also be traditional sliḥot services back at the synagogue beginning at 10:30 pm.  Tickets to the play are $21.00 and can be purchased here.  Please let Rabbi Harry know if you are planning to attend to ensure that there are seats available.