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Looking Back on a Year of Growth

As we prepare for our annual general assembly on June 2, there are many reasons to celebrate. Our community is growing. Our rabbinical leadership with Brian is stable. A terrific administrator, Tsdaff Golan makes the trains run on time. Volunteers are holding up their hands. We have so far navigated  the trauma of the October 7 massacre and the Gaza War without fractures.


Let me point out several highlights from the past year. Turnout for the High Holy Days was the highest ever. Thanks to board member Maria, we held the services in the beautiful German church. We plan to be there next time as well. Our head teacher Nada resuscitated our Talmud Torah and we have had several Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Imke led fascinating visits to Jewish Medieval Brussels and the Breendonk Concentration Camp. Thanks to Tsdaff Golan we had an innovative Wisdom & Melodies gathering with guest musician, Tali Gross. Tsdaff Golan is also behind the Share Your Story initiative where members share their life stories with the congregation. This year’s community seder attracted almost 90 congregants and guests. The meal was top-notch thanks to the kitchen team and Chantal’s daughter’s catering. 


For me, the past year’s true highlight was the community’s 20th birthday party. Volunteers Leslie, Pam, and Anneke organized a gala. Founding members travelled from Italy and the United States to attend. We’ve come a long way from the fledgling organization dreamed up by seven families, all eager to give a Jewish education to their children, one that is open and tolerant and treats their daughters the same as their sons. 


Our synagogue is becoming a center of Progressive Judaism learning. We ran a pan-European Bar and Bat Mitzvah training program. Students came from all over Europe, from Finland in the north to Portugal in the south. Four IJC members participated. Throughout the year, we welcomed students into the synagogue to participate in the innovative European Commission-funded Neighbors project. 


The future looks bright. We are developing deep roots in Belgium. While we remain a home away from home for our international members, the majority of our members no longer are expats. We have begun offering services in Dutch. We have partial recognition from the Belgian government, which comes with salary support for our Rabbi.


If we are going to continue on the positive trajectory, we need YOU. Please volunteer. Come to the annual general meeting. Bring ideas. Bring enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing all of you at the synagogue at 10:30 on Sunday, June 2.



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