Tu Bishvat at House of Commons

Everyday when the House of Commons is sitting, there is 15-minute period when any member who is not a minister is permitted to address the House for up to one minute on virtually any matter of local, provincial, national or international concern. On January 28, 2021, Victoria MP Laurel Collins delivered a statement marking the occurrence of Tu Bishvat. To view her presentation… 

The trees are dancing—why shouldn’t we?

On Sunday January 24, 2021, Emanu-El members and friends explored our relationship to nature through a variety of media: food and drink, music, and a presentation. Rabbi Harry conducted a lively Tu Bishvat seder and explained the symbolism behind the traditional foods we eat. It was a rich sensory experience, replete with savouring the look, smell and taste of fresh fruits, nuts and wine. Elisheva Gray facilitated a sharing of the Kudoboard photos and write-ups of people’s experiences in the great outdoors. Rabbi Matt brought a joyous musical flair to our festival. “The trees are dancing, why shouldn’t we?” he joked. Numerous Hebrew School students attended for a portion of the program, lending a multigenerational feel to the workshop.

Lastly, we welcomed our guest speaker, Jane Welton, a volunteer with the “Climate Justice” Action Research Team (ART) of Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT). She delivered a powerful talk about the importance of trees in the climate emergency, and the need for urgent action to protect these valuable resources. Sadly, our old-growth forests in BC continue to be logged at an alarming pace…CLICK HERE for the text of Jane’s presentation.

How to prepare your Tu Bishvat seder table

Sunday, January 24, 2021, 10:00—11:30 am on Zoom—We’d be delighted if would join us for a communal Tu Bishvat seder. Here are the foods and items that you will need—feel free to substitute ones you have on hand for the suggested items. Living on an island, we realize that in winter there are some items that are not so easy to find. As the foods are symbols and signs to help us get closer to concepts and emotions, please feel free to use items that speak to you and are easy to procure. Please note that it is customary to prefer fruits grown in the Land of Israel  and mentioned in the Bible (bolded in the list). 

  • Wine and/or grape juice. We will be using both red and white. White grape juice is not always simple to find, so feel free to substitute with a light fruit juice.
  • Fruit that has a hard outer shell, and is soft and edible insidesuch as walnuts, almonds, coconut, pomegranate.
  • Fruit that is soft on the outside, and has a hard inner core (pit)such as olives, dates, apricots, peaches
  • Fruit that is entirely ediblesuch as figs, grapes or raisins, apples, berries

We will learn more about these symbolic foods and how they relate to our lives and our relationship with Creation. 

For more information about our Tu Bishvat program…

Looking forward to learning, exploring, and feasting together.
Rabbi Harry

Tu Bishvat 2021: Celebrating our natural environment

Sunday, January 24, 2021, 10:00—11:30 am on Zoom—These challenging times have made all of us more grateful for the beautiful environment in which we live. Although we cannot celebrate the New Year of Trees in our usual way—together this year by going on a hike and spending time outdoors together—we have found a way to come together and celebrate nature.

Continue reading Tu Bishvat 2021: Celebrating our natural environment

Tu Bishvat 5780: Plant a sapling!

March of the Saplings 1000Let’s do something good for our city and planet. In celebration of Tu Bishvat (the New Year of the Trees), Congregation Emanu-El, in collaboration with the City of Victoria, is holding a communal tree planting event. Our goal is to plant scores of trees!
Following tree planting, you are invited to attend an inspirational Tu Bishvat Seder at 12:00 noon in the synagogue. Continue reading Tu Bishvat 5780: Plant a sapling!

An Invitation to Get High: Tu Bishvat Hike & Seder 2019

img_5552On Sunday January 20, 2019, a small yet inspired band of hikers gathered at Mill Hill Regional Park.  They walked the Calypso and Auburn Trails to the summit (200 meter elevation gain), and enjoyed 360 degree views and patches of blue sky.  Dr. Richard Kool of Royal Roads University addressed the urgent issues of the environment and sustainability, and their connection to Tu Bishvat. He suggested a few practical steps that each of us can take in our personal lives to better care for our planet.

In addition, Rabbi Louis Sutker taught participants about the meaning behind the Tu Bishvat Seder. A delicious menu of almonds, apples, dates, grapes – and, yes, chocolate! – was then enjoyed.
For more photos…


Young Adults Jews and Brews

jews & brewsThursday, January 31, 2019 at 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm — Are you looking for more meaningful Jewish social interactions with like-minded people in a similar stage in life? Join us on Thursday, January 31, 7:30 pm at The Bent Mast, 512 Simcoe St, Victoria for our second “Jews and Brews” event. First pint (or cider, if you’re gluten intolerant) is on us! In recognition of Tu Bishvat the week before, the theme of the evening will be “Jewish Views on the Environment.

An Invitation to Get High: Tu Bishvat Walk & Seder

TuBishvat 5779Sunday January 20, 2019 — Forget about tobacco, vapour products and marijuana. Imagine, for a moment, a method to get high….naturally. Come out and play on Tu Bishvat, and do something healthy for the planet and yourself.  Join us for an afternoon and soak in the sights, smells and beauty of Mill Hill Regional Park. This is a family-friendly event, and suitable for beginner and intermediate hikers. Dogs are welcome. Continue reading An Invitation to Get High: Tu Bishvat Walk & Seder

These boots were made for walkin’

Witts-lagoon_3Sunday, January 28 1:30 pm — Join us for a walk in nature for Tu BiShvat. We will explore the beauty of our natural environment & celebrate the New Year of the Trees while doing a walk at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park. This is a family-friendly hike, and is suitable for beginner and intermediate hikers. There are some uneven surfaces and stairs so we suggest using a hiking pole or walking stick. The walk is about 1.5 – 2.0 hours round-trip. Continue reading These boots were made for walkin’