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’

Special Tree Replanting Ceremony

Sunday morning, March 5th, 2017 was cold and cloudy
with scattered showers. Just before a caravan of cars bringing the older Hebrew
School students, teachers, and some parents arrived at the gates of the Jewish
Cemetery on Cedar Hill Road, small patches of blue sky appeared. The group had
come for a special tree replanting ceremony in honor of Yitzhak Rabin.

In 1996, the Hebrew School’s celebration of Tu BiShvat took on a
different tone. It had only been a few months since Rabin was shot and killed
by a right wing Jewish extremist. Congregation Emanuel Hebrew School decided to
plant a bush in the Jewish Cemetery as a memorial to the fallen Prime Minister
of Israel. Leah Levi, School Coordinator, carefully selected a tree which could
grow in Israel. After a short ceremony at the Synagogue, the Hebrew School
gathered at the Jewish Cemetery, the bush was planted in the garden beside the
Holocaust Memorial and a plaque quoting President Bill Clinton’s farewell
declaration at Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral, “Shalom
 (“Goodbye, Friend”) was unveiled.

Over the years, changes were made to the Holocaust Memorial. A
ramp was installed where the garden once grew. Later, the plant for Yitzhak
Rabin, which never thrived, was eaten by the resident deer. All that
remained was the commemoration plaque. 

Around Tu BiShvat 2017, Amber Woods was in the Jewish Cemetery
doing research. While conversing with the caretaker Geoffrey Perkins she
learned he was troubled by the disappearance of the memorial tree and wondered
if it could be replaced. Amber contacted Leah. Greatly moved to learn that
there were people who cared about the bush, Leah decided to hold a rededication
ceremony and to plant another, hopefully more deer resistant, shrub—a Fragrant
Mountain (Hymalian) Silverbox was chosen.

As the sun peaked out from the clouds, about 30 people including
Leah Levi, a number of parents, students at the Hebrew School, Amber Woods and
Geoffrey Perkins gathered beside the Holocaust Memorial. The ceremony (as was
done 22 years ago) included singing songs of peace and hearing a biography of
Yitzhak Rabin, followed by Geoffrey placing the Hymalian Silverbox into the
prepared spot. The opportunity to place a shovelful of earth was given to those
assembled. Geoffrey completed the planting and the ceremony was concluded with
the singing of Hatikvah.

Leah Levi and Amber Woods

Tu BiShvat Nature Walk and Seder

Sunday February 12,
2017 at 1:30 pm


Is 2017 the year that you plan to get out a bit more in nature and
be active??

Or, perhaps you are already a routine outdoors’ enthusiast??

Either way, we have something special in store for you to celebrate
the New Year of the Trees. We will take a gentle walk on the wild side at Mount
Douglas Park. This is an easy hike (for the most part), and suitable for
beginners and intermediate hikers. Round-trip takes about 1.5 to 2.0
hours.  Our destination will be the peak
of Little Mount Douglas. The aim is to enjoy the journey, and to revel in the

The hike commences at Glendenning trail head off the parking lot. We
begin by following a flat trail through a grove of tall trees. Later on, for
the final 10-15 minutes, there is a rocky path and scrambling to be
encountered. Please go as far along the path as you feel comfortable. From the
peak of Little Mount Douglas, one can see the surrounding farms and landscape
in Victoria. On a clear day, you may even get views of the Olympic Mountains!!
At the conclusion of our walk, there will be a small Tu BiShvat seder conducted
with traditional holiday foods.

. Please bring good
walking shoes or boots, hiking poles (if you use them), rain gear, warm
clothing, water and snacks.

Meet at 1:30 p.m. at small parking lot by Glendenning trail head. This parking lot is located at the end of Glendenning Road in
Saanich, at edge of Mount Doug Park
. There are
limited parking spaces here. However, more ample parking is available nearby on
the side streets by Winchester and Parkside. A short concrete path leads to the
Glendenning trail head and parking lot.

from Congregation
Emanu-El at 1:00 p.m. 

For more information, please email Aaron or Rabbi Harry at rabbiharry@gmail.com

Tu Bishvat at Goldstream Park: photos

Twenty-nine people (plus canines) attended took part at the Tu BiShvat hike and seder at Goldstream Park this past Sunday, Jan. 24.  

In brief, we saw waterfalls, old growth forest, and enjoyed sunshine and great company.  R. Harry led us in an informal seder at the close of the hike. 

See all the pics at https://goo.gl/photos/cJFF78ymEWnr8SuK9

Lose…and find yourself in nature on Tu BiShvat

Sunday January 24, 2016

Come join us and take a walk in nature this Tu BiShvat.   We will celebrate the New Year of the Trees
with a walk in the woods at Goldstream Provincial Park.  This is an easy hike and is suitable for
beginner and intermediate hikers, and should take about 1.5–2.0 hours (round

We will see enchanting forest, and visit a lovely waterfall along the
trail.  There will also be a small Tu
BiShvat seder conducted with the traditional holiday foods.  ALL ARE WELCOME .

  • Meet at:  Goldstream Provincial
    parking lot at end of Sooke Lake Road (across the street from Ma
    Millers Pub) at 1:30 pm
    OR at Congregation Emanu-El at 1:00 pm, and we’ll carpool from
  • Bring:  
    • Good walking shoes or boots
    • rain gear, warm clothing
    • water, snacks

For more info, please email Aaron Severs at or
Rabbi Harry