What IJC Means during Confinement

IJC has meant a lot of different things to different people during the Covid 19 lockdown in Belgium. We asked members to tell us in their own words….. Read here what Sarah, Maria, Judy, Valerie, Lisa, Julia and Johan told us.


Julia P.

I love the Coffee Klatsch - it's a nice way of staying in touch with the community and to hear about all the possibilities during our enforced distancing.

Maria L.

The Friday Night Schmooze was a great way to continue social interaction with IJC members during lockdown. I talked and listened to members whom I did not know well and this was a great experience. It also helped me to overcome isolation, especially at the beginning of the lockdown. I couldn't meet my colleagues at work anymore, could no longer go to the fitness club or meet other friends.

So I felt quite depressed and lonely and was extremely happy that I could connect to IJC members for a nice talk. For me this was even more important than the IJC religious services because it was easy to connect to religious services with any other synagogue in the world. I also learned from the IJC Zoom meetings about this possibility for social interaction and, encouraged by this experience, later organized Zoom meetings of my own with family members and friends. So a huge big ‘thank you’ to Ruth and IJC for having helped me through this difficult period.

Sarah S.

I joined the IJC for the first time in May 2019 and the lockdown abruptly ended all the events I was looking forward to attending every week. At a time when the world no longer made sense to me, I have found solace and comfort, guidance and support, a joke and a smile, in my contacts with the community through the IJC@home page and the Zoom Services. During these challenging times, I have sometimes felt lonely, but never alone! I can’t wait for the IJC reopening in September!


Valerie P.

During this unreal time, like Dali’s painting of the melting watches, I have found support in the thoughtful messages that Brian has sent to our IJC community.  I have also had several exchanges with him that were comforting.  I enjoy the weekly Coffee Klatsch hosted by Diana and Anu which provides interesting discussions and humour while we catch up relating tales of our busy social calendars and comparing our Corona hairstyles! 

It also gives us an opportunity to get to know other IJC members better.  The IJC book club, which has recently taken to the Zoom airwaves, is yet another chance to share interesting talks and the warmth of our community.  I am truly grateful to all those at IJC who are making such a great success of reaching out to our community.

Judy B.

During the confinement period, Diana K. organized a very nice activity, called Coffee Klatsch. Several IJC members got together on Zoom every Thursday morning for an hour to talk about current events, cultural activities available on social media, books and what people were doing during the confinement. It was a pleasant social connection during a time when we were forced to stay at home without physical contact with friends and family. I really enjoyed these weekly get-togethers and to see some IJC members. Thank you Diana for this great initiative.


Lisa A.

It is true that with the Zoom format I was able to participate in two Seders, IJCs (Ruth’s) and also my sister’s family’s (idea from IJC). And I was able to participate in Friday night shabbat, and see people from far and wide, which was very much appreciated.


Johan B.

In my line of work, (museums/heritage) visibility is everything. Being seen is what it’s all about. The lockdown struck us like a lightning bolt: doors closed to the public, lights out, and staffs having endless virtual meetings on how to stay visible at all costs. Only in the second stage we began to wonder: ‘What will this new virtual experience be worth? Who will be watching?’

At IJC I witnessed another dynamic. When lockdown fell upon us, there was this strong feeling of ‘keep the community going’. And this feeling got (a lot of) hands and feet. Members contributed in every possible way according to their own abilities and expertise: schmoozes and klatsches, interesting guest speakers, sheep and goats, biblical poetry, dance lessons, more sheep and goats, an unorthodox talk on… Unorthodox, and a lot of ‘soul food’ at the services and Torah breakfast. 

In my opinion IJC and its members did the right thing (as a reflex, on purpose, or a bit of both): in times of trouble, invest in the community. And it worked: IJC became a bit stronger, grew a bit closer, knows a bit more (and mastered ZOOM on the way). What will the future bring? Will it be ‘live’? Will it be ‘virtual’? What will be the ‘mix’? Hard to tell right now. But I’m confident that with so many ‘hands and feet’, we will be just fine.

I’m also glad to say that after more than two months of practice my challah now looks like challah. When it comes to taste however… some things should stay virtual.  Looking forward to seeing you all and having a Shabbat with some real Alexandra–challah in September!