The IJC Community celebrated the New Year of Trees with a Tu b’Shevat seder that united the community with the Hebrew School children. Rabbi Ira led a slightly abbreviated Shabbat service so that everyone could join together at the end to discuss the meaning of this holiday.
IJC alumnus and diplomat Tony Gardner is the subject of an in-depth article in the UK’s Jewish Chronicle. He never had a bar mitzvah, but he recently closed the gap with his Jewish heritage in his mother’s home town of Venice.
Gilly Weinstein and her husband John Weissberg were honored at IJC’s services January 6. Here are extracts from Gilly’s very moving speech:
“I won’t regale you with all the profound, meaningful and colorful moments we have lived through while at the IJC, but I feel like sharing a few highlights, if you’ll indulge me.
IJC members Anya Topolski and Lisa Kelman are organizing a Purim Ball in Brussels to raise money for Our House Project, a local organization providing support to Refugees. They are inviting several local Jewish organizations, including of course IJC members and friends. Please support this fun event! Register at email@example.com.
People do strange things when they turn a decade. I moved to Belgium when I was thirty, met my life-partner when I was forty, became Belgian when I was fifty, and when I turned sixty last year I applied to Abraham Geiger College in Berlin to train to become a rabbi!
Some said: ‘You must be out of your mind! Shouldn’t you be coasting toward retirement?’ – and maybe they were right – but others said: ‘This is logical for you! It’s the next step. You’ll be a great rabbi.’
Would you like to discover Ivrit and learn to read, write and speak it? Beth Hillel has started weekly Ulpan classes on Monday evenings 19h-21h with our former Hebrew School teacher and musician extraordinaire Maayan Smith. All levels are welcome!
Peter Oliver writes -- “A little known fact is that some 9,000 Jews (who prefer to be known as Beta Israel, as the term “Falasha” is derogatory) still live in Ethiopia. The majority live in Gondar, a former royal capital in the northern Amhara region, while some are based in Addis Ababa.
In the 1980s and 1990s, most were air-lifted to Israel, where their community numbers some 135,000 today. Those who remain in Ethiopia (the “Falasha mura”) are descended from Jews who converted to Christianity under duress, but they have now reverted to Judaism.