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
Erev Rosh Hashanah: Sept 24, 7:30 PM
Rosh Hashanah: Sept 25 and 26, 9:00 AM
Kol Nidre: Oct 3, 6:00 PM
Yom Kippur: Oct 4, 9:00 AM
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, Spring-Summer 2014
Experience a guided tour of Canada's oldest synagogue, Congregation Emanu-el. Summer tours are conducted every Thursday, June 12 - August 28, at 1:00. 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 >>
Congregation Emanu-El participates in Victoria Pride parade 2014
A group of about 25 members of the congregation gathered on Sunday, July 6, 2014 to help celebrate LGBTQ Pride Week and to announce ourselves as members of and/or allies to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities in Victoria. It was the first time that the Congregation has organized a contingent to march in the Pride parade — and it was fun!
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
The many difficult events of this summer affect us all. There is a feeling of fracturing within our community. The anxiety fuelled by the war in Gaza combined with an emerging fear of anti-semitism are troubling as well as alienating. We watched anti-Israel demonstrations turn ugly and hateful not just on the streets of Paris and Antwerp but in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
During the heat of unfolding events and in light of the emotional import that these events hold it is paramount that we maintain a sense of unity and connection. In our weekly newsletter there was an article/invitation regarding a new local Jewish dialogue group "If Not Now, When?". Numbers of congregants felt that this new group holds a message that is politically charged. Readers of the newsletter also misconstrued that the congregation endorses “If Not Now, When?”. As a congregation we do not endorse any political group and this article/invitation was the initiative of a member. Clearly this should have been noted since “If Not Now, When?” is something new and now we know for some of us holds ideas that are loaded and controversial.
We want you to know that Congregation Emanu-El does all that we can to ensure that our congregation is a home for all of us. We do our best to transcend politics, ensuring that all of our family members feel safe, heard, and welcome in our collective home. Our newsletter has always been a forum for publicizing Jewish opportunities in our greater community.
Our synagogue is a place where we practice tolerance, understanding and collaboration. Our synagogue is a community of Ohavei Shalom and Rodfei Shalom, lovers and pursuers of peace. We reject poisonous ideologies that are racist or insist on dehumanizing the other. In light of the fracturing that feels like it is happening all around us it is important that we treat each other with tenderness and care. We are in the Hebrew month of Av — a time when we deeply request comfort. We believe that the foundation for comfort is compassion.
With blessings of peace and wholeness
Rabbi Harry and Aharon Ittah
Rabbi's Corner –– מפי הרב
Revenge is never Jewish.
I feel let down by my people’s leaders in Israel. It boils down to this: We are not allowed as humans to seek revenge. Revenge does not belong in the realm of humans. Torah is the core and root of our identity as Jews. Our collective consciousness is linked directly to Torah. We learn that kol netivoteikha shalom--all pathways of Torah are shalom. When a Jewish leader calls for revenge, or uses rhetoric that escalates tensions and violence, it is in in opposition to Jewish values and Torah. 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.