BaLaGan’s is an organization for LGBT Jews in and around Brussels. Established only six months ago, it already has more than 80 members representing over 20 nations. LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. The IJC, together with Beth Hillel, have pledged their support for BaLaGan.
IJC member Ilana Sumka recently contributed an excellent article to The Forward – a US weekly publication and online news source primarily for a Jewish audience. Ilana writes about being Jewish in Belgium in light of last week’s terrorist attacks. Her article is entitled: No, Being Jewish in Belgium Doesn’t Feel Like 1930s Germany. And Yet…
‘A free spirit’ is the best way to describe Anneke. Here are three things you may not know about her. She trained as a teacher but never wanted to be in front of a class (she loves her job as a special needs coordinator for an Antwerp kindergarten); her parents ran a pastry shop in Sterrebeek and growing up with a father whose hands always smelled of vanilla, she swore never to marry a man who worked with his hands: husband Mark does exactly that. And Anneke was not born into a Jewish family – she converted more than 20 years ago.
Many IJCer’s will remember the visit of the Yale a cappella choir Magavet to IJC in May 2014. After giving a concert for IJC in Gilly Weinstein and John Weissberg’s back garden, they sang at the commemoration of the Jewish Museum killings in the Sablons. Here are a couple more messages from Magavet members:
From Micah Sukol
I'm sure that many from around the world have reached out to you, but I wanted to add my voice in expressing my deepest condolences and support forthe IJC. I graduated last year (from Yale) and am currently living in Israel. I can tell you that reverberations from the most recent attack in Brussels have been felt here as well.
I don't think I'll ever forget singing in Gilly’s backyard that Sunday in June and at the communal memorial at the Jewish Museum, and I can only imagine the current atmosphere throughout all of Brussels, both within the Jewish community and around the city. I hope that this period between Purim and Pesach, both celebrations of survival and redemption, albeit with the Divine playing opposite roles in each holiday, is one in which your community and country enjoy security, safety, and peace as you begin the process of moving forward.My prayers are with you.
From Esther Portyansky, Yale University, '16
Thank you so much for sending us the IJC's newsletter! I have been thinking ofyour community in the wake of Tuesday's terror attacks, and very much hoping that nobody’s loved ones were hurt. I am sending my most sincere condolences to the entire city and country, and especially to those whom this tragedy has touched personally. Having seen the way that Brussels came together after the shooting in the Jewish Museum two summers ago, I have faith that the Belgian people will not let this tear them apart, but will instead come together to grieve, comfort each other, and (trite as it sounds) unite against hatred and fear.
If there is anything that we can do, any way that we can contribute to the IJC in these difficult days, please do let us know. In the meantime, we are sending our love and support to the IJC and to the city of Brussels.
IJC is deeply grateful for the support it has received from Jewish communities and individuals around the world following the March 22 terror attacks in Brussels. Here are just a couple of your messages:
The IJC teen group plays an important role in connecting teens to the IJC after their bar and bat mitzvahs and keeping them involved with the community. Over the years, teen trips have been organized to Israel, Nottingham, Budapest and Warsaw. The teens meet regularly for Shabbat and Havdalah dinners.
March 22, 2016 -- Today's attacks in Brussels - coldly planned - once again shock and horrify us. We are confronted with the death of so many people, with the hurt and pain of the so many wounded and those left behind. The damage to our city is tremendous. Our hearts go out to everyone who is suffering as a result of the incomprehensible violence that was unleashed today.
We all grieve - for the deaths, the loss and the pain, but also for our sense of safety and security.
We are still planning on coming together for Shabbat. As we figure out what is the best way forward, in consultation with security experts and the authorities, we will let you all know.