The IJC is on a journey whose path at times is unclear. Founded in 2003, the IJC has been a home away from home - a Progressive Jewish home - for a very diverse, multilingual set of congregants. IJC’s membership changes each year because of its nature - to a large degree made up of expats who move in and out of Belgium. Yet, even though the membership roll changes, the IJC ‘feeling’ remains the same – very open to newcomers, very tolerant to different forms of Judaism and often very intimate in its services, its school classes and its holiday events.
This year the pace of change has accelerated even more. For instance we moved to a new home - sharing the building with our sister French-speaking Beth Hillel congregation - and will see a change in rabbinical leadership over the summer. In an effort to explain what is changing and field the views of congregants, the Board held an open meeting on February 4th. One conclusion from that meeting was that it is now appropriate to hold a series of “Vision” meetings to review and reflect on where IJC is, where it should go and determine the steps needed to get there. The first meeting will take place on Sunday morning March 25th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Beth Hillel. The point is to identify a Common Vision. Subsequent meetings will identify steps to achieve it. I encourage as many IJC members as possible to attend on Sunday and the follow-up meetings.
As a small congregation, the IJC definitely needs to deal with its threadbare financial resources and overcome the problem through membership growth and fundraising efforts. Recruiting volunteers is essential to keep the IJC operating. But keeping the IJC machinery running and fully powered should not be the only goal. We are a spiritual community seeking depth and meaning. We should encourage more connection among our members. We should provide a channel for our members to show compassion to other members and the outside world when sickness and misfortune strike. We should strive to show how each member can and should contribute to IJC - not only financially but also in terms of time, enabling the IJC to hold services and events and conduct outreach to those who are sick, bereaved or distressed.
I have great hopes for our Vision meetings. I hope to see you on Sunday to help make the best of this unique opportunity.
The President of the IJC
21 March 2018