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.
Some news items in this column are external initiatives. They are neither sponsored nor necessarily endorsed by Congregation Emanu-El.
Events & projects
Congregation Emanu-El High Holiday Services 2014 / 5775
Weds. 9/24 6:00pm Erev Rosh Hashana
6:45pm Maariv Service
Thurs. 9/25 9:00am Rosh Hashana Day l
5:00pm Tashlich (Cook and
Fri. 9/26 9:00am Rosh Hashana Day ll
Sat. 9/27 9:00am Shabbat Shuva
Fri. 10/3 6:00pm Kol Nidre
Sat. 10/4 9:00am Yom Kippur
7:30pm Fast ends
Thurs. 10/9 7:00am Sukkot Day l
Fri. 10/10 9:00am Sukkot Day ll
Sat. 10/11 9:00am Shabbat Hol HaMoed
Weds. 10/15 6:45am Hoshana Rabah
Thurs. 10/16 7:00am Shemini Atzeret and
6:30pm Leil Simchat Torah
Fri. 10/17 9:00am Simchat Torah
View this schedule as a document.
Congregation Emanu-El welcomes all members and non-members for High Holy Days services. Child care for children ages
1-5 is available from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
The sale of High Holy Days seats is an important source of income for Congregation Emanu-El. If you require seats or child care services, the charge is:
Seating is on a first-come first-served basis. Reserved seating is by request only (for members in good standing or people who have purchased a seat). If you wish to reserve seats, including for special needs, please submit the form below to the office. with your seating preference, by Sept. 11, 2014.
Synagogue Tours: Fall 2014
Experience a guided tour of Canada's oldest synagogue, Congregation Emanu-el. Fall tours are conducted on the last Sunday of the month. For more information, please visit our Synagogue Tours page.
2014 Restoration of the 1863 sanctuary Emanu-El of Victoria
The interim report of the committee overseeing the restoration of our 1863 synagogue was released on July 23, 2014. The report provides fascinating insights that will appeal to history and architecture buffs, and it demonstrates the extraordinary lengths to which the restoration project has gone in preserving the original look and feel of our historic building. Read the report >>
A Year of Wonderful Celebration
Congregation Emanu-El celebrated, in 2013, its 150th year sitting at the corner of Pandora and Blanshard in Victoria. It was a year for commemoration, celebration, and education. We worked hard on the restoration so that our beloved synagogue would last another 150 years and more. Please consider assisting our ongoing restoration efforts in 2014 by donating.
"The rest is commentary"
A Message from the Rabbi and Board President
Dear Emanu-El Family,
We are very excited to connect with everyone over High Holy Days.
We have nearly a dozen wonderful new families and members to meet and integrate into our dynamic and haimishe congregation.
We have a guest cantorial soloist—Shefa Siegel—son of Rabbi Daniel and Hanna Tifferet Siegel and an old friend of Rabbi Harry. Shefa brings kavanah, prayerful intention and whole lot of soul along with a powerful baritone voice to his davening.
Our sanctuary is gleaming, and we should all be proud of the work that we have accomplished this past year together. The Yamim Noraim—the Days of Awe—are a kind of homecoming. For us it is full of excitement, anticipation and we hope meaning and joy. We look forward to spending time with everyone in prayer, connection and celebration.
L’Shanah Tovah u’Metukah--may it be a good and sweet year for us all.
May our congregation be inscribed for a year of light, unity, prosperity and, G-d willing, more Shalom.
—Rabbi Harry and Aharon Ittah
on behalf of Congregation Emanu-El Board of Directors
Rabbi's Corner –– מפי הרב
We are living through a difficult moment in world history. I believe that being bnei brit—children of our holy covenant with God—means that we live our lives on the cutting edge of current events. A product of our Divine covenant is that history flows through us, the Jewish collective, no matter where we sit on the political or religious spectrum of Jewish life. I want to talk about a deep Jewish fear that many of us are feeling. There exists a formidable threat to Israel’s existence. The old threat is now organized in a fashion that is manifesting itself in a new way and is making it very difficult to banish. Part of our power is linked to world opinion. Whether we want to believe it or not, we as Jews and Israelis are part of a global village and there is a growing sense that world opinion is not sympathetic to our plight. 'If it wasn’t for that [shitty] little country there would be peace.'
I cannot see into all of our psyches. I cannot arrange the empirical data to prove the validity of this anxiety. All I can say with integrity is that I interact with a lot of Jews in a very personal and intimate way and sense that we share a lot of anxiety. In light of the war and all the feelings associated with it, I ask the following question: How do current events affect the spiritual work that I need to do as I enter the Days of Awe? What is the internal work that I need to do in response to the turmoil inside me as a result of to this war?... Read more >>
Guest Torah Drash:
Dr. Richard Kool
Parshat Shoftim (August 2014)
The critical lines for today are well known: Tzedek tzedk tirdof… There also is, in this parsha, the important passage about Bal taschit, do no harm, a pro-environmental message that comes in the sections about waging siege warfare and not destroying fruit trees. And there is also the intriguing passage about how you tell a true prophet from a false one, an analysis that the medieval rabbis found unconvincing. But let me stick with Tzedek tzedk tirdof. Read more >>
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.