IJC members Lisa Kelman and Anya Topolski recently threw a Purim Masquerade Ball that both celebrated the Jewish holiday and raised money for Our House Project, an organization bringing aid to Syrian refugees. When asked what prompted the organization of the event, Lisa said, "I've been aware of Our House Project for some time, and I've been very impressed by their efforts to help integrate refugees who have recently arrived in Belgium.”
“Their focus is on a respectful exchange of cultural awareness between both the arriving and receiving cultures, which I think is wonderful. Anya and I wanted to find a way to support this great organization and we thought that a party celebrating Purim could be a fun way to bring people together, have a fun night, and also do some good."
Anya added, "Part of the story of Purim has to do with what it's like to be outsiders in society, and the persecution that often accompanies this status. As Jews I think we feel great empathy for any outsider group, for we know what it's like to be refugees, and to face discrimination. This party was just a small way to give back to a group we believe is doing important work."
The party was held at the home of Lisa and her husband Joris Visser, who have also generously opened their "temple" to other IJC events in the past. The large space, decorated with candles and Purim-inspired decor, welcomed about 40 guests. A musician got the party moving and by the end of the night, nearly everyone was dancing and singing along with the music. Our House provided food for the event, as part of their catering services.
A big thank you to Lisa and Anya for organizing! The organizers have plans to host the event again next year.
If you'd like to learn more about Our House Project, please visit their website at https://ourhouseproject.org/. Their restaurant is currently hosting lunch and brunch four days a week at ‘La Serre’, Rue Gray 171 in Ixelles.
By Jessica Cohen