A catastrophe, the California wildfires, has hit someone close to IJC. They have destroyed the home of Rabbi Michael Schwartz, now the rabbi at the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue (MJCS). Having just moved to the area and finished furnishing the new family home, Michael and his family escaped with their lives. With no home to return to, Michael is also being Rabbi - tending to his congregation.
For those at IJC who might not have known Rabbi Schwartz, he led our High Holiday services for more than six years. He was there with IJC for both very happy and very sad times. There is a deep bond with him.
We suggest that the best way to support him and his family is via this link: https://www.gofundme.com/wildfire-took-nearly-everything?fbclid=IwAR0Ibf1hfJg3bN7dqOX8WGyU8ncHARhPHWueuWLiEWrhLidzoTAn2SeKvt0
As one might imagine, everything is in chaos. Michael's town is completely evacuated and the wildfires may come back very soon. The process of picking up the pieces and determining priorities has barely started.
Michael said in an email today:
"THANK YOU to everyone for connecting and expressing concern. I don't have time just now to respond to each of you as I would like —I need to attend to my community which is still in crisis. Many have asked what to do to help: Your words, concern, and just connecting are wonderful! Thank you everyone... and not quite an afterthought: many are worse off than us, and this morning people in Israel are under fire of a different sort....
I miss all you wonderful people in the IJC community"
On a Saturday in mid-October, some 15 IJC members and friends took this engaging Brussels walking tour organized by La Fondation Auschwitz/Memoire d'Auschwitz ASBL. On a beautiful sunny morning, it followed various individuals and their stories illustrating what Jewish life was like in this neighbourhood - the heart of what used to the main "Jewish area" of Brussels - from the 1920s to the Second World War.
Progressive Jewish Leaders from around the world will come to Brussels for a weekend of celebration and commemoration from November 9-11. We welcome you to join us!
The weekend will see the opening the new European Union of Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) EU Brussels office on the evening of November 10 with an official opening event followed by a dinner (see here), as well as discussions on November 11 about the role and challenges for Progressive Judaism locally and globally.
On October 6th IJC was so fortunate to have Mr. Simon Gronowski, a Holocaust survivor, share his moving story with our Hebrew School and community. Mr. Gronowski was born in Brussels in 1931 to a Polish father and Lithuanian mother. At the age of 11, in March of 1943, Simon and his mother were arrested and held at the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen for one month. On April 19th, he and his mother were put in a cattle car and transported by train, known as Transport XX, to Auschwitz concentration camp.
For those of you who have fond memories of Rabbi Nathan Alfred (a former rabbi of IJC), you will be pleased to know that on 26 July, 2018, Nathan married his beautiful Israeli bride in Kibbutz Beit Oren in the Carmel Forest. The couple met in Brussels where Shelly, a talented young artist, was exhibiting her work. Nathan and Shelly had kindly arranged interesting visits for the wedding guests before and after the wedding celebration.
IJC is delighted to welcome Rabbi Lee Moore as guest Rabbi the weekend of November 23-24. Known for her inspiring prayer services, Rabbi Moore will be incorporating beautiful music and grounded spirituality into the Shabbat service. Highlights will include Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat in Leuven with song and guitar followed by a potluck dinner; a special Torah breakfast on 'Kabbalah for Everyday Living'; and an engaging, participatory Torah service.
On August 25, more than 60 members and friends of IJC came together from all corners of the globe to a small town near Antwerp to conclude the summer recess with Havdallah and a BBQ hosted by IJC’s President Steve Brummel (now in his 10th year!) and his wife Marion. While the weather was on the chilly side, both hosts and guests combined to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.