IJC elects Anu Ristola as new President

At its AGM on June 16, 2019 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 info@ijc.be.

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

Enrollment Open for 2019/20 Hebrew School

Discount for Early Sign-Up

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. We are offering a 5% fee discount if you enroll your child before June 30th for the September school year. 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 info@ijc.be. I look forward to a great year.

Best regards,

Lisa Kelman

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 info@ijc.be


Seeking Director for HIAS Europe

HIAS, the global Jewish refugee protection organization, is seeking a Director for HIAS Europe to establish a HIAS office in Brussels and to grow a robust presence in the European Union.

Read more: Seeking Director for HIAS Europe

EUPJ Rome May Shabbaton

The Belgian delegation enjoying gelatos during the 17-19 May EUPJ Shabbaton in Rome. The event celebrated Beth Hillel Rome's five-year anniversary.

Read more: EUPJ Rome May Shabbaton

Continuing The Vision Process

It’s been a year since our successful three-part Vision Meetings took place during the Spring of 2018.  So on Sunday May 5, about twenty IJC members reconvened to check in on our progress, asking themselves how far we’ve come in the past year and what work still needs to be done.  The meeting was filled with engaging conversation and thoughtful deliberation.  We were led by experienced group facilitators Anita Sheehan and Tom Koninckx who asked provocative questions and reflected back their observations.

Read more: Continuing The Vision Process

Hebrew School teacher needed!

The IJC has a Hebrew  School which meets 2-3 times a month on Saturday mornings from 10-12:30.  We are seeking a dynamic and passionate teacher to join our staff.  

Our program provides a warm and nurturing environment where children play, socialize, explore, create and develop a love of learning and of their identity as Jews.

In this role, we are seeking a teacher with:

  • Experience of planning, organizing and delivering creative lessons
  • Knowledge of teaching the Hebrew language
  • The ability to teach the students core Jewish values such as kindness, respect, compassion and integrity.
  • A willingness to be a part of our community and to participate in celebrations and events at the IJC.
  • Knowledge of Jewish holidays, Shabbat, basic Hebrew blessings and songs
  • Familiarity with liberal progressive denominations of Judaism

Interested candidates, please email info@ijc.be