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 DeZimra 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 halakhah (Jewish law), and to plan upcoming events.
In many of our efforts we benefit from the involvement of dedicated volunteers from the larger synagogue community who work hard to make Emanu-El a kehillat kodesh—a holy congregation, and dynamic and spiritual place in which to be.
All are welcome to our services. Feel free to join us on Thursday morning or Shabbat. Your Yiddishe neshama (Jewish soul) will thank you.
Bevirkat shalom – with blessings of peace,
- Aaron Severs, Gabbai
Small & Mighty: The Inspirational Story of Avodah
Avodah volunteers provide monthly “birthday cake and ice-cream” to Our Place, the main centre for homeless and poor people in Victoria. On Jewish holidays, they make latkes and homantashen which are eagerly anticipated by the 200 people who have regular need for the services of Our Place.
Avodah also supports affordable living in Victoria through provision of rent subsidies for homeless or at-risk families with dependent children. Additionally, this committee is responsible for Congregation Emanu-El’s Out of the Rain Program, which provides weekly night shelter to homeless youth. During the coldest months of the year, volunteers produce hot meals for the youth as part of this program.
Avodah is also the force behind frequent drives to collect clothing and food for Victoria’s most vulnerable populations.
Volunteers are always welcome.
To learn more, please contact Janis Diner Brinley at 250-595-8841.
You can stream the video in the embedded window above (it may take a few moments to load) or view it in full-screen mode.
The presentation and presenter's guide may also be downloaded. You will need to have video playing software, such as Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime, VLC media player, or RealPlayer, on your computer.
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.
Gravesite and Funeral Costs
The total cost of a funeral at the time of death consists of the services provided by Congregation Emanu-El (the plot, funeral and burial costs) and the cost of services separately provided by Sands Funeral Home. The details are found in Schedule A of the Cemetery Bylaw.
As of March 2023, the cost of the services provided by Congregation Emanu-El are the Base Fee for Congregation Members ($8850) and the Non-Member Surcharge ($4040).
The fees charged by Sands Funeral Home (currently $3850) are over and above the Base Fee.
One may also purchase a Right of Interment (plot) in advance from Congregation Emanu-El. The cost is $4260 for members and $5510 for non-members.
It is possible to purchase an all-inclusive pre-paid funeral through Sands Funeral Home. The all-inclusive price includes the following:
• Right of Interment (plot), which stipulates that the next available grave site at the time of death will be provided. With the exception of side by side grave sites for spouses, grave sites cannot be reserved for future use.
• Cost of funeral services provided by Congregation Emanu-El – including Rabbi, administration, and grave excavation and fill. Also included are contributions to indigent burials and bed-rock removal.
• Chevra Kadisha supplies. Note that Chevra Kadisha service is provided by community volunteers.
• Funeral home provided services, including Shomer and Tahara facilities and hearse and required documentation.
• Headstone unveiling ceremony if held within a year of burial.
• Gravesite and cemetery maintenance in perpetuity.
The all-inclusive price does not include the following:
• Transportation of the deceased beyond a distance of 40 km from Sands Funeral Home.
• Headstone and headstone installation or maintenance of the headstone itself.
Headstones can be ordered from:
Mortimer’s Monumental Works
709 Kings Road, Victoria, B.C. (250) 383-6421
Stewart Monumental Works
1403 May Street, Victoria, B.C. (250) 384-3452
Headstones are an additional $600 to $2500. They are generally put in place a year after the funeral. All headstones and grave coverings must be approved by the Congregation's Cemetery Committee. The Rabbi acts as a consultant with regard to headstone wording and proofreading.
Congregation Emanu-El has a longstanding arrangement with:
Sands Funeral Home
1803 Quadra Street
Victoria, B.C. V8T 4B8
NEW: Cemetery Website is up and running
Leah Freedman and Amber Woods have been hard at work constructing a new, totally wonderful and fully searchable website for our historic Jewish Cemetery.
This website, which has burial information and more on every person that we are aware of that is either buried in the cemetery or noted on a gravestone, can be viewed at:
The process of collecting and correcting information about the people buried in our cemetery has taken many years, and we are very interested in fixing any errors that might be found in the information on the website. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and/or additions or corrections.
As well those buried in the cemetery, the website will also host the stories of those people remembered on the Zachor Wall:
The Cemetery Committee offers our deepest thanks to Leah and Amber for working to bring this amazing project to fruition.
For further information
If you have questions, feel free to contact Graham Dragushan, Cemetery Committee Chair.
In the event of a death, please contact Dr. Richard Kool, the Cemetery Committee’s Funeral Manager.