The Reform Movement in the US is currently investing in a programme it calls Audacious Hospitality: "Audacious Hospitality is the focused effort to embrace our diversity and reach out to those currently not engaged in Jewish life [...] Jewish populations such as Jews by choice and those exploring Judaism, Jews of color, Jews who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer, Jews who live with physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities, multiracial families, millennials, the aging Jewish population, Jews who are unaffiliated and uninspired by Jewish communal offerings, and of course, the evolving needs of interfaith and intermarried couples and families..."1 And why is this hospitality audacious? Because it sets out to shine the spotlight on the groups we tend to forget.
Last year's Vision meetings identified some key areas that members of IJC believed would make an essential contribution to the congregation's life and continued growth. One of those areas acquired the title Community Care. What do we do as a community when one of our members is in need, sick, in hospital, mourning a loss? We reach out to them! Bikur Holim, a Jewish tradition dating back to the middle ages and rooted in the Torah, encourages Jews to visit and bring assistance to the sick and those in need.
The IJC community entered into the Days of Awe on the eve of Rosh Hashanah – prepared in part by the introspection of the month of Elul – ready to explore our relationships with the divine, with the people around us, with the living creatures that populate our planet and our planet itself. We made our newyear resolutions for 5779, hoping for balance and harmony in all we do, readying ourselves to forgive and be forgiven, and renewed our commitment to what is important to us.
The end of the ‘civil year’ 2018 gave me the opportunity to take some much needed holiday time and travel with the family – destination Scotland. We headed off on the last days of December, drove to Calais for the tunnel crossing (long delay at UK customs), spent the first night in Oxford (Harry Potter and Narnia connections) and Hogmanay (New Year) in Glasgow at a very grand, old-style hotel in the centre of the city. We were too tired to stay up for ‘the bells’. Fort William (the Scottish Highlands), Edinburgh (more Harry Potter connections) and York were also on the itinerary. We covered just about the entire UK mainland – and everywhere: Brexit!
At Torah Breakfast on Shabbat Lech Lecha, some dedicated members of the IJC community gathered around coffee and croissants and turned their attention to just one single sentence in the parashah, in Genesis/Bereishit 12, 10 – "Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land."
The Joseph story – sometimes described as a novella – covers thirteen chapters in the book Genesis and spans no fewer than four Parashot. Many will have been exposed to the Joseph story from Torah, yet most, I suspect, will know him best from recent stage and screen portrayals – not to mention his reception in the world of art down through the centuries.
Brian Doyle is a familiar and welcoming face to all IJC members. He has been a key member of our Religious Affairs Committee since 2011 and on the Board from 2015-18. Brian has led services both at IJC and at Ohel Yachdav in Leuven where he lives with his partner Peter and children Julie 10, and Thibault, 13. Brian is now studying to become a Rabbi and is officially IJC’s Rabbinical Intern as of September 1. Brian talked to newsletter editor Diana Kanter about his journey to Judaism and to the IJC.