The deadly explosions of March 22 have shaken many of us and torn apart the lives of others who have been wounded or lost friends and loved ones. The shadow cast by these terrible deeds is long and dark. We do not know yet what their influence will be on our lives now and over the longer term.Nor do we know what their impact will be for Brussels, Belgium and the EU.
The beginning of 2016 has demonstrated the vitality of the IJC community. Our recent Kabbalat Shabbat in central Brussels doubled the attendance at IJC Friday night services, with new faces joining our regular participants.
A Mazal tov to Eli Wizel and his family on his Bar Mitzvah. It was wonderful to see so many people celebrating Eli’s accomplishments and sharing in the Wizel family’s joy.
Some of you may know the Bob Marley song “By the Rivers of Babylon.” He took a psalm and set it to music.
Tu B'Shvat, spring, is in the air. With all the goofy weather it can be hard to tell, but if you look closely, you may soon see buds on the trees, and flowers sprouting. The days are getting longer. We have turned a corner from winter and are heading into spring.
Thank you all for an exceptional High Holiday experience. The communal participation including those who read Torah, led readings, opened the Ark, carried the sifrei torah, or took part in other ways made Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur wonderful. A special thank you to Cantor Marty Eisenstein.His music and song enhanced the tefilot for us all. We were blessed to be able to share Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with him again.
As I write, countries participating in the UN Climate Conference in Paris have signed an accord. It is cause for celebration that every country agreed to sign on and limit their greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the global temperature increase to 2⁰ C by the end of the century.
There is a tradition, observed by some people in our community, of wearing white clothes on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Thiscan help set the tone for the High Holidays, reinforcing its unique nature and inspiring us.By wearing white, we enfold ourselves in a rich vocabulary of symbolism and meaning.