Jewish arts fest kicks off year of celebration

Thanksgiving expressed in opening concert

Violinist Mark Lupin is among the acts performing at Hodaya.

When Congregation Emanu-El’s cornerstone was laid in place in 1863, its founders had no idea the building would persevere to become Canada’s oldest continuously used synagogue.

Community members from varying religions, cultures and creeds came together to give the roughly 50 Jewish families living in Victoria a dedicated place of worship and congregation.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of that event and to help raise money for Emanu-El’s aging roof, the 2013 Jewish Arts Festival kicks off on Saturday night with a multi-cultural concert at Alix Goolden Performance Hall.

“This is a really important year for us, so we thought we should have an arts festival that echoed the origins of the synagogue by inviting artists from various cultural communities to perform,” said Isa Milman, festival chair. “We just want to thank the community.”

The concert is aptly called Hodaya, which in Hebrew means “Thanksgiving.”

Hodaya features eight artists from various musical backgrounds, including jazz vocalist Louise Rose, the Sara Merreiros Quartet, violinist Mark Lupin, fiddler Daniel Lapp, traditional Persian musical group Darya Ensemble, percussionist Niel Golden and the Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra.

The concert’s 8:30 p.m. start time is a little later than normal to accommodate rules of the Sabbath, Milman said, but she promised the party won’t disappoint.

The evening will be hosted by JoAnn Roberts of the CBC’s All Points West, while City of Victoria poet laureate Janet Rogers will dedicate a poem to the occasion.

“This is only the kick-off event,” Milman said.

Organizers have planned another six events this year, including the reenactment of the 1863 parade that saw early communities rally to build Greater Victoria’s first synagogue. That event takes place June 2.

On April 11, Ray Frank: The Girl Rabbi of the Golden West, written by University of Victoria playwright Jennifer Wise, will premiere at Congregation Emanu-El. Admission is by donation.

Musical performances by Cantor Rob Menes, the Seattle Jewish Chorale and Lafayette String Quartet, as well as an art exhibition in the fall, will round out the year.

Hodaya begins at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 at the door. Tickets are also available at Long and McQuade, Russell Books, Ivy’s Bookshop and Tanners Books.

For more information, visit congregationemanu-el.ca.

Just Posted

LEED gold standard more than a matter of design

West Shore high schools set the bar high

International Students get a taste of Christmas at Belmont

Gingerbread house contest runs for third year

SD61 to install new water fountains over lead concerns

They’re installing 350 new water fountains in local schools due to concerns over elevated levels of lead in the water system

West Shore firefighters band together to support men’s health

More than $8,200 raised for Movember campaign

Holiday gift wrapping tips and tricks

Streamline your process to avoid the hassle

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Mental effects of wildfire still linger in Fort McMurray

‘Resilient, but tired:’ Mental effects of wildfire lingering in Fort McMurray

Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

AP Exclusive: Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

Calgary Flames thump Vancouver Canucks 6-1

Mark Giordano, Sam Bennett lead the way as Flames thump Canucks 6-1

Homicide detectives now probing billionaire couple’s death

Police release cause of death of Barry and Honey Sherman as “ligature neck compression”

‘Case not made’ for Liberal bill’s problematic cyberspy powers

The Liberal government’s ill-defined plan to give Canada’s cyberspy agency wide-ranging powers to go on the attack against threats could trample civil liberties

Holiday travel chaos after Atlanta airport outage

A sudden power outage at the airport on Sunday grounded scores of flights and passengers during one of the busiest travel times of the year

Flames threaten coastal California communities

Flames continue to threaten coastal communities as firefighters mourn

Most Read