Profile of EUPJ Brussels Office

By William Echikson

The IJC is a member of the EUPJ (European Union of Progressive Judaism), which is the umbrella organization for progressive Jewish synagogues in Europe. In November 2018 I opened the EUPJ Brussels office. 

The EUPJ fights for equality for Progressive Judaism in Europe, makes sure that our Progressive Jewish voice is heard in the corridors of European power, and aims to win European funding for projects. The EU represents our natural ally. It emerged from the ashes of the Shoah as a response to the anti-semitic and racist Nazi nationalism, embodying a commitment to tolerance and protection of minorities.

 

In two years of operation, the EUPJ Brussels office already counts several important accomplishments. We have won a European Commission grant as a partner in the Networks Overcoming Antisemitism.  We have supported bringing to Belgium and the Netherlands the Emouna Project bringing together rabbis, priests, and imams. We have produced a Holocaust Remembrance Report, helping the European Commission in its fight against historical revisionism.  We have launched a webinar series interviewing personalities from around Europe. 

The tie between the IJC and EUPJ is strong - literally and philosophically. Many IJC members work for the EU - or are in Brussels because of the EU. The EUPJ office is located in the IJC office in Beth Hillel where our IJC administrator Jesse works for both organizations.  During 2021, we plan several joint activities. In March, the IJC and EUPJ will collaborate with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society on a refugee Shabbat and webinar. We have won a new grant to launch the Getting to Know Your Neighbor project at our synagogue. It will bring local schoolchildren, many of whom are Muslim, into a Jewish prayer building. 

Some IJC members are already involved in our projects and we hope to engage with more of you. We have just won a grant to launch a lay leader training program with our former rabbi Nathan Alfred and are looking for an IJC candidate. Additional information will be available soon. We’re open to new projects and additional ways of promoting the IJC and progressive Judaism within the EU. Please reach out to me with any or all ideas.  My email is bechikson@gmail.com.