Contributing To Congregation Emanu-El

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The Congregation Emanu-El community is sustained by contributions from members of the synagogue, the larger Jewish community, and the public. These contributions help support the upkeep of our wonderful heritage building, allow us to continue offering exciting community events, and make possible our efforts to provide for the spiritual and physical needs of our members and extended community.
Whether you are celebrating a simḥah, commemorating the passing or yahrzeit of a loved one, or simply wish to help sustain our community, please consider donating generously to one of our funds described below.
Except for contributions to an externally restricted fund, the synagogue applies donations to the program/activities identified by the donor during the year in which they are received. At year end any unused funds may be applied to general operations.

For more opportunities to donate or if you are considering making a bequest or major donation, please contact Rabbi Harry Brechner or the office by phone or email.

We are deeply grateful for contributions of any size; because sustaining a shul, as an old Yiddish proverb goes, "takes a shtetl."

(Place cursor over the text to keep it from changing; on mobile devices, click on the heading to see the list of funds)

General Fund

Directly Sustaining Our Synagogue

Donations to this fund help meet the operating and administrative costs for Congregation Emanu-El, and supplement the annual income from membership fees, which cover only half of the Shul’s operating expenses. General Shul Fund donations enable the synagogue provide critical programs and services to members.

Avodah Social Action

Avodah—Congregation Emanu-El’s social action group—was created to serve those most in need in Victoria, particularly poor and homeless youth, adults and families. We work closely with local agencies to determine and provide services that are wanted and needed.

Avodah's outreach includes:

• Participation in the Out of the Rain Youth Night Shelter.
• A monthly birthday party at Our Place for the street community.
• Rent Supplement Fund, which provides monthly subsidies to families who desperately need help in paying their rent; in partnership with the Burnside Gorge Community Association.
• Distribution of socks to homeless people in Victoria.

Hebrew School

Your support is important in helping us sustain our goal at Congregation Emanu-El Hebrew School to create knowledgedable committed Jewish adults

Giving the students opportunities to interact with other Jewish children of all ages, thus helping them to create their own community within the larger Jewish community;
Exposing the students to the basics of being Jewish by studying Torah, biblical and modern Hebrew, the holidays, and modern Jewish history;
Developing a strong sense of values and ethics based on Jewish sources.
Our Hebrew School is egalitarian.
Thank you for your support.


Your funds enable us to provide a small tasty Kiddush on a regular basis after Shabbat service. This is an ideal opportunity for congregants to relax, schmooze and to enjoy good food.


The Outreach Committee's mandate is short-term assistance to congregational members who might otherwise find themselves temporarily overwhelmed by the demands of life-changing events such as the birth of a child, change of employment, illness or death in the family.

We send cards, make phone calls, provide meals and arrange transportation.

Donations supplement volunteer work, through the purchase of ingredients to make meals or the purchase of greeting cards and stamps.

We hope to stabilize members' lives, extending hands and hearts to support and comfort.

Rabbi’s Discretionary

The Rabbi's Discretionary Fund provides aid to individuals and
families in need as well as ancillary support for the synagogue’s
religious, community building, and/or educational programs/projects.

The fund helps put food on the table and assists members with
overwhelming expenses such as rent, clothing, and medications.

The fund always works in a respectful way to protect the privacy of those
who access it.


Donations to the Yahrzeit Fund are directed to the Religious Services Fund, which supports Yahrzeit observance by congregants throughout the year through reminder letters, weekly announcement of the upcoming Yahrzeits, maintenance of the Yahrzeit Memorial Board and through the Religious Services Committee’s attention to the Thursday morning minyan and Yizkor observance throughout the year.

Synagogue Restoration

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The historic sanctuary at Congregation Emanu-El will be 160 years old in 2024. The building envelope needs remediation from moisture damage and the rest of the external structure warrants repair. The interior of the sanctuary needs upgrades to various systems and repair of the damage from moisture seepage. There are additional desirable improvements. The cost of the total package of improvements is nearly $900,000. Some parts are more critical than others.
We welcome all donations to this fund and will use the money based on the priorities assigned by the experts who advise us. Thank you for considering this project.

Refugee Family Sponsorship

Bringing a Syrian Refugee Family to Safety in Victoria

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We are a refugee sponsorship committee for a family of six Syrian refugees including four young children. We are operating with the support of Congregation Emanu-El., This family will be the second one that has received sponsorship help from the synagogue.
We are on a very tight government deadline to fundraise our initial $40K for the family to be officially accepted in the sponsorship initiative October 31.
Our meeting this goal will safeguard the opportunity for the family to be able to immigrate to Canada.
These funds must be deposited with the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) prior to final approval of the sponsorship application. As of late August, we have moved much closer to achieving that goal and can even start looking ahead to planning the fundraising for the next steps in the process, since we be will be responsible for covering their living costs for the first year they are in Victoria. We have had a generous offer of $5,000 in matching funds for incoming donations.
This family of six, with four children ages seven and under, are UNHCR-registered Syrian refugees currently living in Southeast Asia, where they have been for several years. Conditions for the refugees there are not great as you can imagine. Their UNHCR registration allows us to apply for them to receive landed immigrant status on arrival in Canada.
Our committee includes a number of CEE members, along with representatives from the Lutheran Church of the Cross, who have joined us in this sponsorship and have already raised a generous donation from their congregation. In addition to donations, we are also looking for volunteers who would be willing to join the team. We will be organizing some fundraising events in the coming months with other plans to come. We will eventually also be providing the practical help the family will need with resettlement, on their arrival in Victoria. We will be most grateful for any help you can give to enable this family to arrive safely in Canada.
We want to thank all of those who have already generously donated to help us reach our goal of bringing this family to Victoria. We are just over the halfway point in our fundraising efforts. Please consider helping us to reach our goal.

You can read more about our effort in a neswpaper article at the following link:

Before they left Syria, the family were in significant danger due to the civil war there. Their car was blown up and their apartment building was shelled. We cannot share more details about their situation for security reasons, but fortunately they were able to escape from Syria.
Both parents have professional backgrounds, so we are confident they will manage to establish themselves successfully in Canada when they finally arrive. The mom is a teacher so has been focussing on helping the older children get some education as best she can. The dad is currently doing odd jobs to try to keep the family afloat financially.
The alternative of returning to Syria would be extremely dangerous for them, especially since the father had been personally targeted before he left. Many of us have families who left Europe in similar circumstances going back several generations.
As a member of the sponsorship committee, this feels like an opportunity for me to pass on the help and support my then thirteen-year-old father, my grandparents and my aunt Ruth received in the mid-1930s. This allowed them to escape from Nazi Germany and arrive safely in London to start their new lives. Without that crucial assistance, my brothers, cousins and I would most likely never have been born.
Many refugee families have already successfully been through this process with the help of local faith communities and other groups. We cannot wait to meet this courageous young family, as they exit the airport at Victoria International in about three years time. We welcome all those interested in this project to join us in our efforts.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the CEE Refugee Family Project by clicking the
DONATE button on this page;
—or by phoning the synagogue office at 250-382-0615
—or by snailmail to:

Congregation Emanu-El,
1461 Blanshard St.
Victoria BC V8W 2J3

Please ensure “Refugee Family T82” is in the memo line of any cheque you write.
If there are funds left over at the end of this process, they will be used to help other refugees in keeping with ICA’s rules.
Please email us at with any questions or offers to help.
- Robert Oppenheimer