The IJC had a great start in its new home in the Beth Hillel building with its first Shabbat services on Jan 5th and 6th. Although it was still the holiday period, the IJC had a large turnout for a special service honoring the departure of a member family (Gilly Weinstein and John Weissberg) for New York. They have contributed so much to the IJC since they joined in 2009. Gilly has been a very active Board member since 2012 and John has re-engineered the IJC web systems. The service was a bittersweet occasion.
Gilly's farewell speech was powerful and heartfelt leaving many with moist eyes. Now they join the IJC's worldwide alumni and I believe they will bring additional dynamism to that group's efforts to help the IJC from afar.
The IJC has embarked on a bit of an experiment. We have moved into the building built by our French-speaking Progressive sister congregation Beth Hillel and share the site with them. This cohabitation requires lots of goodwill to make it work - and there is plenty of goodwill on display on both sides. IJC and BH are not alone as we tread down this path. There are two Progressive communities outside London, one UK Reform and the other UK Liberal, sharing the same building in Harrow. They call themselves the Mosaic Communities. They maintain their distinct identities with a schedule of separate services - but many other activities are held in common, including the Hebrew School. They find the synergies generated keep their congregations active and forward-looking.
The Mosaic Communities kindly extended an invitation to IJC and BH to come and witness them in action. This past weekend BH Board member David Weis and I took up this invitation and travelled to London. We received a very warm welcome and lots of opportunities to discuss in detail the plus's and pitfalls of a cohabitation arrangement. The plus's overwhelm the minus's. I now know that IJC and BH have a fraternal friend who is rooting for our success and can serve as a sounding board for issues which arise.
In closing, the IJC is holding a fundraising dinner on Monday January 29th featuring a talk by the curator of the US Holocaust Museum exhibition at the European Parliament on Nazi Propaganda. The way the Nazi movement - from its beginnings in 1920 - used modern advertising methods coupled with intentional falsehood is a lesson not lost in today's political environment. The speaker’s topic is - unfortunately - very relevant. I encourage you - if you can be generous - to sign up for this fundraiser.
The President of the IJC
18 January 2018