For Chanukah this year, the IJC did more than plan a holiday party. It took the constraints of the Covid restrictions and turned them into advantages. As we could not hold an in-person event, Chanukah celebrations would have to be online. So the Board decided that this year, the IJC would hold a candle lighting ceremony on Zoom for each of the eight days of Chanukah. Apart from the night of the actual Chanukah party, a short ceremony was hosted each night by different IJC members.
No one needed to commute to our shul building. Being online offered other advantages - members and former members - whether living inside or outside Belgium, could be hosts. And people around the world could participate.
We kicked off with Rabbi Nathan Alfred – now in Israel – as our First Night host. The lighting up of numerous Zoom frames on the screen – even before the actual candle lighting – lit up our souls. It was as close to being together in the same space as could be imagined in our Covid socially distant era. And when the candle blessings were recited, the view of numerous Chanukah menorahs prominently displayed in Zoom windows warmed our hearts. Each host member offered something special, such as a song or a musical recital.
Our resourceful IJC Administrator Jesse put photos of in-person Chanukah celebrations past – going back to 2004 – into a slide show, which caused some longer-term IJC members to shed a tear and gave our newer ones a sense of IJC’s strong legacy.
The President Emeritus of the IJC