We were delighted to host Rabbi Lee Moore as our guest rabbi during the last Shabbat of November. On Friday night, guitar in hand, Rabbi Lee led a Kabbalat Shabbat service in Leuven that was full of spirited singing and contemplative prayer. Over Torah Breakfast on Saturday morning, she offered us an introduction to the sacred wisdom of Kabbalah through a combination of ancient legends and a contemporary look at the Tree of Life.
'The Shabbaton in Brussels November 9-11 was a unique experience, a great time to gather and to pray together. It reinforced the ties among our synagogues and strengthened our motivations to continue to build up the Progressive Jewish movement in Europe.'
Gilbert Lederman, Shabbaton Co-Organizer, VP Beth Hillel, and Executive Board Member EUPJ and World Union.
A catastrophe, the California wildfires, has hit someone close to IJC. They have destroyed the home of Rabbi Michael Schwartz, now the rabbi at the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue (MJCS). Having just moved to the area and finished furnishing the new family home, Michael and his family escaped with their lives. With no home to return to, Michael is also being Rabbi - tending to his congregation.
For those at IJC who might not have known Rabbi Schwartz, he led our High Holiday services for more than six years. He was there with IJC for both very happy and very sad times. There is a deep bond with him.
We suggest that the best way to support him and his family is via this link: https://www.gofundme.com/wildfire-took-nearly-everything?fbclid=IwAR0Ibf1hfJg3bN7dqOX8WGyU8ncHARhPHWueuWLiEWrhLidzoTAn2SeKvt0
As one might imagine, everything is in chaos. Michael's town is completely evacuated and the wildfires may come back very soon. The process of picking up the pieces and determining priorities has barely started.
Michael said in an email today:
"THANK YOU to everyone for connecting and expressing concern. I don't have time just now to respond to each of you as I would like —I need to attend to my community which is still in crisis. Many have asked what to do to help: Your words, concern, and just connecting are wonderful! Thank you everyone... and not quite an afterthought: many are worse off than us, and this morning people in Israel are under fire of a different sort....
I miss all you wonderful people in the IJC community"
Michael Schwartz sent this update to Anneke Silverstein
'We are doing ok. We are blown away by the support, help, care and generosity of so many friends, family, strangers - community - all around the globe. We are well aware of how lucky we are to have so many who can and have helped us when we need it now...and how shockingly frightening it must be for the vast majority of people who need help but are not as blessed as us to have a support network that can assist.
On a Saturday in mid-October, some 15 IJC members and friends took this engaging Brussels walking tour organized by La Fondation Auschwitz/Memoire d'Auschwitz ASBL. On a beautiful sunny morning, it followed various individuals and their stories illustrating what Jewish life was like in this neighbourhood - the heart of what used to the main "Jewish area" of Brussels - from the 1920s to the Second World War.
Fun for all ages!
Date: December 8
Place: Address available on request (rsvp to email@example.com)
On October 6th IJC was so fortunate to have Mr. Simon Gronowski, a Holocaust survivor, share his moving story with our Hebrew School and community. Mr. Gronowski was born in Brussels in 1931 to a Polish father and Lithuanian mother. At the age of 11, in March of 1943, Simon and his mother were arrested and held at the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen for one month. On April 19th, he and his mother were put in a cattle car and transported by train, known as Transport XX, to Auschwitz concentration camp.