Profile : Maayan Morali

Meet our Hebrew School head teacher

“As I enjoy the end of the month of Tishrei, all the excitement of the holydays, and start preparing for ‘Mar-Cheshvan’ (the ‘bitter’ month of Cheshvan - as it has no holydays - but is an opportunity to get some work done and engage with content beyond the holydays), I take this opportunity to tell the IJC a bit more about myself and my connection to the IJC.

I see myself as belonging to the IJC for two main reasons – first, the international aspect. I have always had a passion for cultures, languages and life in an international atmosphere. I guess it starts with my family background – my mom came to Israel from Argentina and my dad from France. Like many Jewish families, my family’s roots go back to different regions including North Africa, Eastern Europe and the Levant. That passion for internationalism grew as I studied for a BA and an MA in International Relations at the Hebrew University (where?), did a student exchange in Sydney and finally arrived in Belgium four years ago to study at the College of Europe in Bruges. So when I moved to Brussels in 2016 and heard about the International Jewish Community, it immediately intrigued me. I have lived in Brussels ever since and enjoy teaching at the IJC.

The second reason I feel I belong in this community is my connection to progressive Judaism. Both liberal values and Jewish tradition have been integral parts of my life and my education. Yet they were to a large extent two separate things. The Jewish customs I was familiar with were orthodox as this is what was common in Jerusalem where I grew up. Since moving abroad, I became more familiar with progressive Judaism. I found this to be not only fun and welcoming, but to truly reflect my values and beliefs.

Over the past three years I have acquired experience in teaching liberal Jewish values through fun activities for children of different ages. Every year we add to and change the IJC curriculum. Nevertheless I believe the fundamentals remains the same – to guide children in developing a sense of responsibility for themselves, their families, their community and the world more generally, as reflected in the idea of Tikkun Olam. And furthermore, to let them experience the connection between the values that are embedded in this way of life and Jewish customs and traditions. So this year I was happy to accept the role of the IJC head teacher where I teach Kita Bet (7-10-year-olds) together with Oren Cohen.

In addition to teaching Hebrew and Judaism, I have worked in project management - mainly on international trade and development projects. I enjoy the expat life in Brussels together with my partner who shares my passion for multiculturalism. I love travelling, cooking and learning languages (currently I’m working on improving my French, as well as learning some Russian).

I look forward to the months ahead, to getting to know those of you I don’t and to know better those I already do.”

Maayan Morali