Philip Gibbs


The prayers during the High Holidays are long, but understanding the themes of the prayers can change the experience from slogging through page after page of obscure Hebrew prayers to reflecting on powerful themes and applying them to our own lives. The third prayer of the Amidah during the High […]

Why the Extra Page?


Come celebrate the High Holidays at Har El! Members will receive their tickets in the mail if arranged by August 17th. After that we ask that you pick up the tickets in person. If you are not a member, please contact Natali in the office at 604-925-6488 or at office@harel.org […]

Join Us for the High Holidays


You would not expect a meditation on the destruction of Jerusalem to be funny, but the classical midrash on Lamentations 1:1 contains a list of stories that almost certainly are trying to be funny [whether they succeed, depends on how much you like ancient humor…]. While the author of the […]

Tisha B’av 2018



This Saturday is the Hebrew date of the 17th of Tammuz. Long observed as a fast day, it commemorates when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem ultimately leading to the destruction of the first Temple on the 9th of Av in 587 BCE. The three weeks between this day […]

17th of Tammuz


Many communities have the tradition to switch melodies during the middle of the poem Lekha Dodi, but why? For better or worse, our current practice of switching after the 5th stanza may not specifically have a deeper spiritual meaning, but it does show the strange interaction between the role of […]

New Melody for Lekha Dodi




Services on Friday night, February 23rd are cancelled because of the snow. Here is a D’var Torah for Parashat Tetzaveh The second half of the book of Exodus describes the construction of the portable sanctuary and the ritual objects which filled and that the priests would use in their service. […]

Tetzaveh: Snow Day D’var Torah


During parashat Beshallach, we read the song that the Israelites sang as they crossed the Sea of Reeds. While many liturgies include the full passage as part of daily and Shabbat prayer, two verses are more familiar because of its inclusion in the third blessing of both the evening and […]

Mi Khamokha


  In the original SNL sketch, Adam Sandler joked that the only Hanukkah song he ever heard was the Dreidel Song, which is why he wrote his Hanukkah song in solidarity with everyone else searching for better Hanukkah songs. The liturgy and Israeli folk tradition have a number of Hebrew […]

Maoz Tzur