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Menorah event shines light on 40 years of service from Victoria street minister

Dec. 5 event part of Congregation Emanu-el’s celebration of Hanukkah
Rabbi Harry Brechner helps youth light last candle of the hanukkiah – made by congregant Ed Walker – during a prior Hanukkah event. (Photo by Frances Rosenberg)

Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El hosts a public menorah lighting in Centennial Square to honour the work of Rev. Al Tysick.

The eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah – also called the Festival of Lights – is Nov. 28 to Dec. 6.

On Dec. 5, the square will be filled with joy, music and light in celebration of Tysick, who event organizers say is a shining example of someone who spent decades performing acts of tzedakah – a Hebrew word meaning righteousness and commonly used to signify charity.

Known as Rev Al by the street community, Tysick has been committed to the streets – where his heart and family are – for more than 40 years. He helped found Our Place Society and and founded the Victoria Dandelion Society in April 2011. He retired this summer at age 75.

Hanukkah is about dedication and Tysick taught what it means to dedicate self to Tikkun Olam – cosmic repair and building a better, more loving community – by caring for the region’s vulnerable people.

READ ALSO: A warm and fuzzy Christmas gift from WorkLink on the West Shore

The Dec. 5 event features a menorah billed as one of B.C.’s largest, as well as music of Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra and Klezmorim and the tasty sufganiyah (traditional doughnut).

Donations of cash or non-perishable items for the food bank at St. John the Divine Church will be accepted.

BC Centre for Disease Control public health guidelines do not place significant restrictions on religious gatherings. However, to ensure the health and safety of the community, organizers ask those who are sick to stay home and that attendees wear a mask.

READ ALSO: Hanukkah celebrates light of the eternal flame

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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