Congregation Emanu-El Board of Directors
The Board of Directors consists of volunteers who strive to serve the Congregation Emanu-El community.
Drop us a line—we’d be happy to meet you!
Drop us a line—we’d be happy to meet you!
(2019 - )
Sam Godfrey became the Vice President of Congregational Emanu-El in 2018, after serving four years as a Director, including two as Chair of the Fiscal Programming Committee. He has a deep love for the Jewish faith and history, and a connection to the Shul dating back to the 1980s and Rabbi Victor Reinstein.
After his bar-mitzvah and completing high school he moved to the far cold reaches of Toronto throughout the '90s, where he gained an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and a Law Degree from Osgoode Hall, York University. In Toronto he worked for the Law Insurance Corporation of Ontario, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, and Parkdale Community Legal Services.
Sam returned to our kehillah in 2000, and was married to his partner by Rabbi Harry in 2003. Sam's son had his Bar Mitzvah at our shul last year, and his daughter is in our Hebrew school.
Sam currently works as a Senior Ministerial Assistant in the BC government.
As President, Sam wants to help Congregation Emanu-el continue to thrive: he cherishes the tradition, spirit and energy of the community and believes that he can best contribute by using his experience and skills to advance our good governance.
(2020 - )
Vice President; Chair, Hebrew School & Youth Committee
It’s an honour to join the Board of Emanu-El, a synagogue community I truly cherish. My first introduction to Emanu-El was via a drop-in baby group led by Rabbi Harry when my oldest daughter, Eva, was just about a year old— now I volunteer as the teen youth group parent coordinator, because somehow 14 years have passed by. Our second child, Tillie, will become a bat mitzvah this spring, while our youngest, Avi, is in kitah aleph at the Hebrew School. It’s been amazing to see how our congregation has grown over the years; along with two other Hebrew School parents, I founded and organize Kafe & Kibitz, a Sunday morning meet-up discussion group for Jewish parents, so that we parents can also engage as a community.
I work full-time as a Registered Midwife at The Midwives Collective, a busy downtown clinic I co-founded, and I am also a board member of the College of Midwives of British Columbia and Clinical Faculty member in the Division of Midwifery, UBC. I’m also an avid reader, I’ve published two books, and seven years into dog-ownership I’ve realized I’m a cat person at heart.
Solomon has a lifelong association with Congregation Emanu-El. He attended our Hebrew School and had his bar mitzvah at the synagogue. Currently Solomon is a director of Pagliacci's Restaurant and Yentel Property Management, which owns several commercial buildings in Victoria.
Solomon hopes to bring a sense of inclusiveness and greater financial accountability to the Board. He acknowledges that stepping into the role of Treasurer following one year on the Board is somewhat daunting.
(2018 - )
Emanu-El is most special to me because of the incredible warmth and kindness (not to mention singing talents, particularly at Purim) of the members. From the first day I wandered in, people were very friendly and welcoming and immediately made me feel like a member of the group. I still get a warm glowing feeling every time I walk through the doors.
Born in Vancouver, I have resided in Montreal, Nottingham (UK), Pittsburgh, New York before domiciling in Victoria. I joined Congregation Emanu-El in 2016.
My goal as secretary is to one day run as fast as Secretariat; barring that, to summarize minutes and assemble portfolios as efficiently as possible. It’s been an honour to serve as the CEE Secretary for the last two years.
Gabbai/ Ritual Director
Religious Services Chair
Aaron arranges services on Shabbat and Jewish Festivals. An exciting and major time in the year is the Jewish High Holy Days. He also enjoys organizing special celebrations throughout the year, such as Simḥat Torah, the Ḥanukkah public menorah lighting, and the ever-popular Purim party.
For Aaron, it is a kavod (an honour) to be part of a dedicated group of volunteers on the Religious Services Committee. He is grateful for the leadership of Rabbi Harry and the contributions of all volunteers who assist in leading services, chanting Torah and Haftarah.
Bottom line – together we help fashion a kehillat kodesh (a sacred community) on Canada’s true West coast. A native of Montreal, Aaron moved to Vancouver Island in January 1993. When he is not at the synagogue, Aaron spends time with his bashert Sue and their cats. His other passions include cooking, hiking and swimming.
Jewish Cemetery Committee Chair
Richard Kool has been involved with the Board of Congregation Emanu-El since 2001, and has served as secretary, vice-president, member at large, and cemetery director. Rick was very involved in the movement to create the Fisher Building and has the honour of bringing the first powerpoint presentation into the shul as part of the effort to convince the congregation that we could in fact afford to build the new addition to our historic synagogue.
Rick immigrated from Boston to British Columbia in the early 1970s, came to Vancouver Island to work at what was known then as the BC Provincial Museum in 1978, and has lived in James Bay ever since. He is now a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. Along with his wife Enid Elliot, Rick has four children, five grandchildren, and an aging labradoodle.
(2018 - )
Chair Membership Committee
Lyndsey first attended Emanu-El in 2013, and became a member in 2014. She is so grateful for the love, camaraderie, support, education, and spiritual experience that being a member of the kehillah has provided her. Lindsey, whose Hebrew name is Liora Esther, has served on the Emanu-El Board of Directors for the last 2 years as Membership Chair. Last year, she started an Emanu-El Young Adults Group which has attracted several new young(er) members to our Kehillah, organized a new members meet and greet event last May, and a Pub Night in November. She hopes to create a LGBTQIA+ speaker series or event close to Pride and a family friendly event in the summer or fall for our young families. And she plans to explore how changes to membership dues structure can foster sustainability.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, raised in the Ottawa Valley, Lindsey attended Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario for nine happy years where she finished a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Medical Degree. Desiring a change of location, Lindsey moved to Victoria in 2012, and has never looked back! She completed a Residency in Family Medicine through the University of British Columbia Victoria training site; following graduation, she worked as a locum in Victoria, Campbell River, Vancouver, Whitehorse, and Prince Edward Island, before finally setting up practice in Victoria.
(2018 - )
Director (at large)
Contemplating retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces, Ed moved to Victoria in 2006 when he joined Congregation Emanu-El. Ed is especially drawn to Emanu-El’s 1863 sanctuary and the wonderful history of the pioneer Jews who first came to Victoria in 1858. He is particularly interested in the conservation and security of the building. Since his arrival in Victoria Ed has actively supported the Jewish community and the community at large. He has served on various volunteer Boards of Directors of not-for-profit organizations and been a Board Member of the Jewish Historical Society of BC. Ed is the current chair of the National Community Security Committee of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).
In 2018, Ed returned to the 2018/19 Board of Directors having served for ten years previously, initially as Treasurer and subsequently as the Chair of the House Committee. Ed was a co-leader of the many-faceted, year-long celebration of Congregation Emanu-El’s sesquicentennial. As a 43-year member of the Canadian Armed Forces and as a retired civil engineer, Ed offers Emanu-El his training and experience in building preservation, security, and policy development. Currently he aims to assist the Board develop the best possible policies for Congregation Emanu-El. Ed was born in Montreal and Victoria is his 14th home.
Ingrid Friesen(2020 - )
Director (at large)
Ingrid, a Jew by choice, joined Congregation Emanu-El when she moved to Victoria more than 20 years ago. She immediately felt the warmth and welcome of the congregation and this has been her spiritual home since that time. What she found most alluring about the congregation was their dedication to ritual and tradition, while being inclusive at the same time. All three of her children had their bnei mitzvot at the shul. In addition to volunteer positions in the community, Ingrid has served on the Hebrew School committee for the five years while her children were attending the Hebrew School. While serving on the Membership Committee, she is interested in deepening connections with current congregants, as well as welcoming new members.
Ingrid grew up in Winnipeg and made her way west during early adulthood. She is a Clinical Neuropsychologist, working in private practice for the past 20 years, doing primarily medical-legal work. More recently, she has followed her passions of regenerative agriculture and self-sufficiency, living on a small farm with her children and menagerie of animals.
(2020 - )
Director (at large)
Lincoln joined Congregation Emanu-El with his family in 2011. As a volunteer, he designed and built an updated Congregation Emanu-El website in 2013, which he administered for the next four years. He has served as a member of Emanu-El’s Online Media Working Group. Lincoln has contributed to Emanu-El programming and served on the Hebrew School & Youth Committee. Among a variety of community service activities, Lincoln was the programmer (2014-16) and director (2016-18) of the Victoria International Jewish Film Festival. He is a juror for the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival and he is the Middle East/North Africa section programmer for the Victoria Film Festival. He has served on a number of voluntary organizational boards over the years, including at Berkeley Hillel, Congregation Emanu-El, and the James Bay Child Care Society.
Lincoln is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria, where he conducts research and teaches in the fields of postcolonial literature, Jewish and Diaspora Studies, and Media Studies.
(2015 - )
Chair, Adult Education Committee; Chair, House Committee
Ruthi (aka Lesley) hails from the UK where she was a managing partner in a nationwide firm of Trades Union solicitors. Since then she has worn any number of hats including mother, sailor, teacher and farmer. She has been an active member of our shul for a number of years, holding various positions on our Board, most recently that of President.
She remains on our Board as President Emerita, where her duties will include Board liaison with our Adult Education and Events team and participation in our financial planning team.
* New member