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Dancing with Torahs

After the solemn High Holy Days, we have celebrated more joyous holidays - and some of them with drams of whiskey. Our annual Sukkot and Simchat Torah holidays were happy moments for revelry. Our tradition is to combine them at one Shabbat. I’m not usually a hard liquor fan, but sipping whiskey and dancing with the Torah in the synagogue are unique experiences. This year, I have to admit that I even tasted some delicious rum. We added a Kiddish lunch to cap the festivities. Our culinary team surpassed itself and the donations were generous, including a dazzling cheese platter and sumptuous desserts. The following week, we were privileged to host Deborah Lipstadt, the US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism at Shabbat services. She might be small in stature, but she has been a giant in fighting this persistent scourge. Her battle against Holocaust denial was made into the film Denial. It's worth watching and might be a good idea to kick off an IJC movie night series! In the coming weeks, other joyous occasions will take place. At the end of November, Imke and Johan are organizing a tour of Jewish Brussels. Registration will open soon. Then, at the beginning of December, our Rabbi Brian will be ordained. He has been the star student at Abraham Geiger College, the liberal rabbinical seminary in Potsdam, just outside of Berlin. The ceremony will take place in Germany. We are very fortunate to have Brian to minister to us and I look forward to working with him to grow and deepen our community. We will organize an installation ceremony in January in Brussels. As Brian hails from Scotland, maybe it will be another occasion to sip whiskey. As winter approaches, so does the stirring festival of lights, Chanukkah. We have scheduled our annual party for December 18 - the first day of candle lighting. This year, we will celebrate with our sister Beth Hillel's community. Come, have fun and get to know our French-speaking co-religionists. A final small but important reminder: we are soon closing our Annual Fundraising Drive. If you have not donated yet, you still can. These exciting activities and others are made possible thanks to your generous donations.

Anu Ristola



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