The social action group, Avodah, came into being in 2003 when Rabbi Harry Brechner from Congregation Emanu-El called on the members to put their spiritual beliefs into action to help people in need in the greater Victoria community. Driven by the work of volunteers, Avodah’s goal is to create meaningful connections between those looking to provide help to the community and individuals who are in need, particularly poor and homeless youth, adults and families.
The first two challenges they faced were where to start and how to make it work with the limited resources of a small congregation. In essence: what was needed and wanted in the community, and how would they make that happen?
Projects include distributing thousands of pairs of McGregor Socks, providing rent supplements to families, and providing shelter at the synagogue for homeless youth in the coldest months of the year. Partnerships with social service organizations like Out of the Rain Youth Night Shelter, Our Place Society, Cool Aid, and Burnside Gorge Community Association allow Avodah to have a bigger impact in the community than they would be able to on their own.