Congregation Emanu-El is composed of an eclectic group of 200 families who come together to create a dynamic and spiritual expression of Jewish life. It is a place of love and growth where deep friendships are forged and nourished. We believe in connecting people to one another and to their Jewish roots and traditions, as well as nourishing feelings of community, security and belonging.
News & Events
Some events below are external initiatives not sponsored by Congregation Emanu-El.
Emanu-El’s Got Pride (again)
Members did Emanu-El proud
A good-sized group of enthusiastic members represented Congregation Emanu-El at the annual Pride Parade that took place on Sunday, July 10.
Our Klezbians float with a live band playing Jewish songs was very popular. Click here to view the photos taken by Frances Aknai and Jackie Saunders-Ritchie.
Torah Mantles Dedication
Saturday, July 23
On Shabbat Balak (בלק), we will dedicate three of our beautiful new Torah mantles.
Read More >>
Congregation Emanu-El Steps Up to Support Refugees
In late 2015, the Board of Congregation Emanu-El approved a motion to support sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family. Many of us were moved by the refugee crisis, conscious of our own history as Jews, with parents, grandparents or other relatives who came to Canada as refugees, fleeing terrible circumstances. We were reminded of their plight as we saw images of refugees trying desperately to find a better life.
Within three months, we raised over $50,000! As sponsors, we must provide for the family’s needs throughout their first year in Victoria. And we are now in a position to do that.
We were matched with a small family of three. It could be days, weeks, or months until the family arrives, with the possibility that it could take until early 2017.
Our great hope is that we have advance notice of their arrival. Yet it is a comfort to know that temporary accommodation so kindly offered by a generous couple will ease the immediate pressure to find housing, as we expect to have little lead time to undertake this difficult task.
We are most grateful to everyone who has supported our efforts thus far.
–Jean Dragushan, coordinator
Listen to a CBC interview with Jean Dragushan of Emanu-El on this topic.
"The rest is commentary"
Experience a guided tour of Canada's oldest synagogue, Congregation Emanu-el. Thursdays in July and August or at other times by prior arrangement.
Synagogue Tour: 1:00–1:50 p.m.
Walking Tour: 2:00–3:30 p.m.
For more information, please visit our Synagogue Tours page.
Cannabis and the Rabbi: Reflections on a Most Unusual Forum
By Judith Stamps, Reprinted from: Canabis Digest
On November 24, 2015, I had the unique privilege of speaking at a forum on cannabis held at Congregation Emanu-El, the conservative Jewish synagogue in Victoria BC. The event was planned and hosted by the congregation’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Harry Brechner. On the panel with me were Dieter MacPherson, president and executive director of Victoria’s oldest compassion club, the Victoria Cannabis Buyers’ Club, and Dr. Arnold Schoichet, one of a small percentage of BC’s 12,000 physicians willing to provide patients with a recommendation for cannabis. Moderating the panel and the ensuing group discussion was congregation member Richard Kool, associate professor of environmental studies at Victoria’s Royal Roads University. Read more in Cannabis Digest >>
Rabbi Harry's Welcome Message
Rabbi Harry Brechner, who has been Congregation Emanu-El's rabbi since 2001, welcomes anyone interested in the Congregation's many activities and community events, including prayer services.