Groups & Committees
Youth Programs Committee
The Congregation Emanu-El Youth Programs Committee offers programs for youth in two different age groupings. United Synagogue Youth (USY) is our High School age program, for kids in grades 9 to 12. Kadima is our Middle School age program for kids in grades 6, 7, and 8. Both programs are affiliated with the United Synagogue regional and international Youth programs. Our programming includes local, regional, and international events that promote positive Jewish identity, support leadership growth, and foster life long friendships and connections with other Jewish youth.
Each program has at least one local event per month from October to June. Membership and participation in our USY or Kadima chapters is open to all Jewish Youth living on Vancouver Island.
Religious Services Committee
The Religious Services Committee (RSC) is a vital part of the heart and soul of spiritual life at Congregation Emanu-El. Our volunteers assume many responsibilities, from setting the schedule for weekly Shabbat services, to taking a leadership role in planning Jewish holiday events throughout the year. Coordinating the High Holiday Services is a key annual function. RSC members also take an active part in leading weekly Shabbat services, e.g. davening Pesukei D’Zimrah and Shaharit to Torah reading. Coordinating the light-up of the Yahrzeit Memorial Board on a regular basis is another role. We meet monthly under the guidance of Rabbi Harry Brechner to discuss, learn, and wrestle with issues of prayer and halacha (Jewish law), and to plan upcoming events.
In many of our efforts we benefit from the involvement of dedicated volunteers from the larger shul community who work hard to make Emanu-El a kehillat kodesh, a dynamic and spiritual place in which to be.
If you are interested in learning about the Cemetery Committee, please read our cemetery brochure with important information (pdf file).
Avodah Social Action Group
Avodah is Congregation Emanu-El’s social action group (link), created to serve those in most need in Victoria, particularly poor and homeless youth, adults and families.Avodah was created by Rabbi Harry Brechner in 2003 as a vehicle to put our beliefs (v’ahavta l’reyacha kamocha –love your neighbour as yourself; tikkun olam — repair of the world; and gemilut chasadim — acts of lovingkindness) into action. The word “avodah” means “service”, “work” and “worship”.The Avodah Social Action Group is based on the concept that avodah is at the heart of being a holy congregation, that there is no being without doing — and that it is through acts of lovingkindness that we repair the world and transform our spiritual lives.Avodah volunteers work closely with other congregations and social service agencies to ensure that we target services to those most vulnerable in Victoria.