A New Year, a New Home


Since its beginnings in 2003, the IJC has fostered a welcoming atmosphere geared mainly to the expat experience – that its members were strangers in a land not their own and were far from their own family and old friends.  It has been a Jewish “home away home”.




Since then, the IJC has wandered at bit.  And wherever the location, we have kept our address confidential given the security climate for Jewish organizations in Belgium, often making it hard for newcomers to find us.   Our “home away from home” shul is on the move again.

We luckily have not had to wander 40 years – and we aren’t moving far.  The IJC will move on January 1, 2018 into the building of Beth Hillel, the French-speaking Progressive Community of Brussels. The IJC will enter into a co-habitation arrangement with Beth Hillel.  We will share the same location but operate separately from Beth Hillel.   

Moving to Beth Hillel provides many substantial benefits. The IJC will be moving forward in ways not possible in our prior locations, such as:

  • A quasi-permanent sanctuary space, use of classrooms for Hebrew School and Adult Education, an office for the Rabbi, IJC space in the library, storage and more, means that the IJC will have a real home for all its activities.
  • We will be visible. The IJC will have a public address and our name on the door. 
  • We will be in a real synagogue.  The IJC will be located in a space with a real synagogue feel, atmosphere and energy.
  • Our security situation would improve.  The Beth Hillel building was built with security in mind and we can leverage all their security arrangements. This is why IJC will be finally able to have a public address.
  • We will have flexibility.  The IJC will be able to plan events more easily and on days other than Shabbat.
  • Easier access by public transport links (tram and bus) and parking. 

Given the times we live in, the IJC has constantly been delicately balancing security with (lack of) visibility. To be able to have our name on the door, an address on our website, to be able to come ‘out’ is very exciting! To openly state (including in writing) “this is us, this is where we are, find us here!” is an enormous departure from the past. 

To prepare for the move, we need to form a Moving Committee headed by a Moving Coordinator. I will call for volunteers in the coming weeks.  The Moving Committee’s tasks include doing an inventory of our stored items and a determination of what should be taken to Beth Hillel and what should be discarded (or donated).  I envision us moving in stages during the fall with the aim of clearing our current location by late December.

Year 5778 will be a year of big changes for IJC.   I am confident that in sharing the Beth Hillel’s space, the IJC will not only continue to exist, but will flourish.   

Looking forward to seeing you at High Holiday services. Shana Tova.