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Congregation Emanu-El

Congregation Emanu-El is a dynamic, embracing, and supportive congregational family.  


We strive to generate relevant Jewish culture infused with Torah wisdom and rich tradition.  We are also the stewards of a remarkable, 160-year-old heritage Sanctuary, whose walls are infused with generations of prayer and joy and life.  Today, Emanu-El is a progressive egalitarian congregation that supports and celebrates diversity.  

Congregation Emanu-El is a place for friendship, personal growth, spiritual exploration, and healing.  We are committed to Tikkun Olam, the repair of broken hearts and our broken world, through Chesed, acts of loving kindness, social action, and social justice. As a collective we are courageous in action, progressive in thought and caring in relationships. We would love to meet you and introduce you to our synagogue family. 

Heritage Synagogue Restoration

Congregation Emanu-El is launching a fundraising campaign to restore, preserve, and revitalize its 160-year-old synagogue. The Romanesque Revival architectural gem is a National Historic site, the oldest Canadian synagogue in continuous use, and a Historic Landmark in downtown Victoria, British Columbia.


The restoration will commence in Spring 2024 with requisite repairs to the brick exterior, ensuring structural integrity for generations. Interior restoration includes repairing water damage and wall cracks; painting and revitalizing the Sanctuary; replacing obsolete lighting, smoke detectors, sound and security systems; and refinishing fir flooring and external doors.


Exterior Projects

Exterior work will commence in Spring of 2024.

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Bricks and Mortar

Spring 2024

The original 160-year-old brick exterior is compromised and is deteriorating. Some of that original mortar has failed so moisture is entering the building via brickwork on both the north and south facades. This had led to cracks in plaster, paint blistering and fertile ground for mold, as well as to potential instability of the bricks.


The engineering study we commissioned states that remediation will involve the repointing and sealing of the entire envelope, as well as repairs to windows. Scaffolding will be erected on the East, North, and West facades. A contract has been signed with the leading Victoria heritage brick restoration experts, and work will commence this coming Spring 2024. 

Exterior Painting

The wooden soffits below the roofline will be refinished and repainted, using the existing scaffolding erected for the brickwork.  It has been at least 40 years since the last painting. The window lintels as well as the entrance area will be repainted at this time.

Interior Projects

Interior renovations will be undertaken once the building is waterproof and funding is secured.

Interior Plaster Crack 4.JPG

Interior Wall Repairs

Phase one of preserving our Heritage Synagogue took place in 2013 on the occasion of our 150th Anniversary.  At that time the roof structure was significantly stabilized and reinforced to save our building.  Cracks in the plaster from before that roof was remediated still require repair. In addition, new cracks have appeared due to water ingress from compromised bricks and mortar and from leaky window frames. During this phase, the blistering paint surfaces and moldy areas will be remediated. This past year the large Rose Window on the Blanshard facade was repaired and sealed to prevent further leakage and damage.

Interior Wall Painting

The ceilings, interior walls, columns, balustrades and Bimah will all be repainted after 40+ years of degradation.  Our Romanesque Revival synagogue is an architectural gem and will be enhanced and transformed, accentuating the exquisite design features.

Interior Lighting, Smoke Detectors, and Sound System

40-year-old ceiling lighting technology will be replaced with LED refracting and direct lighting, brightening the interior. 40-year-old technology will be replaced with the latest and best in smoke detection systems. The sound system will be modernized.

Sanctuary Flooring Refinishing

Ten years ago we replaced one-third of the fir flooring due to damage and deterioration.  After the other interior renovations are completed, we shall refinish the existing gorgeous fir flooring


We live in times when real security risks exist, requiring the upgrading of our security systems. Exterior CCTV cameras with other systems will improve our security preparedness.

Interior Projects

Wish List

Replacing Existing Menorahs

The renowned Victoria artist and synagogue benefactor, Anthony Goldman (Thorn) gave us the artistic renderings of Menorahs to replace the existing ones.  We hope to commission the creation of these resplendent religious objects, further adorning the beauty of our Sanctuary.

Custom-Made Cushions for Pews

Wouldn’t that be comfortable?!

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