Prague holds a special place in Jewish history. On April 26th, making a conscious link to that history, the European Reform/Liberal Jewish movement (EUPJ) held opening ceremonies for its four-day Prague conclave at a very special location: the Smetana concert hall in the Municipal Hall, an art nouveau treasure. This was the first major Jewish meeting held there since the 18thWorld Zionist Congress in August 1933 (see photo).
The April meeting pointed to how the Progressive Jewish movement in Europe is growing and educated all on the many ways to foster even more growth. It also tied the 1933 meeting to the present through the presence of the son of Nicholas Winton (the moving force behind the Kindertransport trains for Czech Jewish children in 1938-39).
The IJC is at an important stage of its existence when it is looking back and - more importantly - looking forward. Meetings such as those in Prague provide food for thought. But the IJC itself has organized its own series of “Visioning” meetings to scope out who we are, what are our goals and how we get there based on the views of its members. The third and last session will be held Sunday morning June 17th. It is important that as many members as possible attend.
In the month of June, the IJC comes to the end of the regular year before the summer holidays. Besides the Visioning meeting, we have a special Farewell Shabbat service on Saturday June 16that which we honor those leaving, including special honors for Rabbi Ira. We also hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday June 24that which there will be elections for two open Board seats.
Concerning next year, we already have exciting news to report. High Holidays will be led by our student intern rabbi Brian Doyle. Familiar faces will take on the role of High Holiday cantor, Marty Eisenstein for Rosh Hashanah and Ido Ben-Gal for Yom Kippur. The Tots Class will be revived with a Tot Shabbat event once a month. A new conversion course will begin in the Fall (with an information meeting taking place in the early afternoon of June 17th). Two summer services with potluck will take place outside Brussels in members’ homes - one in Leuven in July and another in the Antwerp area in late August.
To make all this happen, we need our current members to renew (renewal notices will go out by the end of this month) and those not yet members reading this newsletter, to seriously consider joining.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our June services or other events.
The President of the IJC