Register Now for IJC High Holiday Services

Dear Members and Friends,

We warmly invite you, your family and friends to attend this year's 5780 High Holiday services at IJC.

Services will be led by IJC's rabbinical intern, Brian Doyle and our guest cantor, Marty Eisenstein.

Everyone who wishes to attend High Holiday services must register via this link. The full program is available here.

Havdalah Kick-off BBQ

IJC kicked started the new season with a Havdalah BBQ potluck dinner at Steve and Marion Brummel's beautiful house in the Antwerp suburbs. On a late summer’s evening, this lively party was attended by 70 old, new and potential IJC members. Everyone got to make new friends and to reconnect with old ones!


Read more: Havdalah Kick-off BBQ

EUPJ Biennial 2020 – Save the Date!

A heads-up that the next EUPJ Biennial conference will be held in Geneva 30 April - 3 May 2020. The conference topic is Vision 2020 – The Next Generation. Early bird rates apply until the end of the year and registration opens this month.

Andy Harris & Planning the High Holidays

The IJC is very fortunate this year to have long-standing member Andy Harris as its High Holidays Co-ordinator.  Andy joined the IJC about 10 years ago and it was clear to him from the start that without volunteers, the IJC was not going to flourish. “Everyone has to do their part, stand up and take responsibility.  I started out as the newsletter editor and coordinated the Hanukkah and Seder events. When I joined, I didn’t know anyone and volunteering is a great way to meet people. And there is great satisfaction in working in a team, having helped out with something you believe in. Plus you make good friends!’

Andy took a step back for a while and now is happy to reconnect as this year’s HH co-ordinator. In this role he says that it would be great to have the team in place before the summer break as planning takes time. Already Anu Ristola, Nada Verhelst, Mikael and Olga Garellick, Lisa Kelmans and Joris Visser have agreed to take on important roles.

Services will be held on September 29 and 30 for Rosh Hashanah and on October 8 and 9 for Yom Kippur.

Volunteers needed!

So, before we all spread our wings and fly off to family, sun-drenched beaches and leafy woods or just stay in our back garden, we would like you to think about fulfilling some of the voluntary roles before or after the High Holidays. Most jobs do not involve an enormous amount of work, especially when more people extend a helping hand.

Look here for the volunteer roles needing your help!

For more information please contact


Enrollment Open for 2019/20 Hebrew School

Enrollment is now open for the IJC Hebrew School for 2019/20! The IJC is an inclusive progressive community and our Hebrew School is located in Forest, Brussels for children up to age 12. School meets approximately twice a month on Saturday mornings from September through June.

The IJC Hebrew School is place to learn about Judaism and Jewish culture in a comfortable, welcoming environment. Students study the Jewish life cycle and calendar; Jewish values, history and identity; mitzvot (commandments); and basic Hebrew.

Our underlying approach is for children to enjoy their time with us so that they have positive feelings and fond memories of their Jewish education. Small class sizes enable individual attention. Creative, dedicated, experienced teachers create lessons infused with music, art, and celebration. We encourage discussion as a natural way of learning.

As we start planning for 2019/2020, enrollment is key. To enroll your child(ren), please fill out this form.

The IJC Hebrew School is open to all members. To become an IJC member, please see the IJC website. Feel free to contact me with any questions at I look forward to a great year.

Best regards,

Lisa Kelman

IJC Welcome Lunch - Saturday September 7, 2019

The IJC invites you and your families to join us for lunch at our first Shabbat together after the summer holidays.

New members, returning members, friends and anyone interested in getting to know the IJC community is warmly welcomed to join us for Shabbat morning services followed by lunch on September 7 at 12.00pm.  This will be a chance to get to know who’s who at IJC and learn more about the IJC community.

Returning members: please sign up on this google spreadsheet to indicate which dish you can bring, and let us know if you can help set up or clean up.  If you have trouble with the google sign-up form, please simply send your dish to

As we begin the new year, this is an opportunity to connect with newcomers, greet old friends and start the new year together.

We kindly request your RSVP with the number of adults and kids attending to by Tuesday September 3, 2019.

Important notice to newcomers:

Note that if this is your first time attending an IJC service at Beth Hillel, one week prior to the event please read and follow these guidelines regarding security.  Please bring photo ID to the lunch and be prepared for some questions from the security guard.


IJC elects Anu Ristola as new President

At its recent AGM the IJC elected Anu Ristola to serve as its next President. Long-serving President Steve Brummel stays on as Chairman Emeritus.

Andres Mosquera will join the IJC board and serve as Vice President.

At the Annual General Meeting the board presented a portrait of a dynamic, growing community. The Hebrew School is growing and will be expanded from two to three teachers. After several years of absence, the community will reopen a Bar/Bat Mitzvah class.

Rabbinical intern Brian Doyle will continue his studies as well as serving the community. He has helped rebuild the Religious Affairs Committee, though new volunteers remain welcome.

The move into the modern, well-equipped Beth Hillel building has been successful. Joint activities with the French-speaking community are planned, without jeopardizing our English-language identity.

A key need remains to create a membership committee to encourage and welcome new members. Volunteers should apply to

IJC co-founders Richard and Lauren Nijkerk made a surprise appearance at the AGM. They flew in from Singapore to attend a Bar Mitzvah in Brussels over the weekend.

Anu Ristola is one of the community’s seven original founders. Her three children, Samuel, Julia and Benjamin all have been Bar or Bat Mitzvah at the IJC. Her husband William served as Vice President and on the Religious Affairs Committee. He now heads up the Europe office of the European Union of Progressive Judaism.

A cocktail was held to celebrate Steve Brummel’s long leadership as President. He was feted for his diplomatic skills which have enabled a start-up progressive community to expand from seven to more than 80 families.


Steve Brummel with Lauren Nijkerk