My sincere thanks to the IJC family for all its support over the past months. The IJC is an extraordinary community and I regularly feel blessed to be a part of it. You all have my gratitude and appreciation.
One of the more well-known stories towards the beginning of the Book of Genesis is the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). After the flood, human beings who all speak one shared language, multiply and migrate. They decide to build a city and a tower to make a name for themselves in order not to be scattered across the world.
We just celebrated a wonderful warm Pesach seder. Special thanks go to all those who helped make the seder happen and in particular Diane Vermunicht who went above and beyond for us all.
Hopefully, this summer many of you were able to get away for a bit, take a break from your routine and relax. I know that for me, spending some time in the sun was a great opportunity to recharge my batteries. For a lot of us, the summer is a period of less stress, vacations, time off.
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.
Two days ago, In the United States during Gay Pride month, 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in the Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, Florida. Our hearts go out to the families of those who were murdered and those injured.
We stand in solidarity with the survivors of this horrific shooting, and the LGBT community that has been faced with so much violence, discrimination and abuse. No one should ever live in fear because of who they are and the peaceful choices they make about how to live their lives. As a community and as human beings we cannot abide the pain and suffering to which people who are LGBT are routinely subjected.
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.