I was ordained rabbi on December 1st 2022 in the Rykestrasse Synagogue in Berlin. We tried in vain to have the ordination relocated to our synagogue in Brussels to allow as many of our community as possible to attend. It wasn’t to be, and for understandable reasons. However, the expense and inconvenience of travelling to Berlin was not something I could ask of everyone who wanted to witness the event, so we were forced to settle for the streaming option.
However, when the seminary in Potsdam suggested an ‘Installation’ in Brussels which everyone could attend, we decided to explore. Some said ‘installation’ sounded like IJC was getting a new washing machine or boiler – and maybe there are parallels to be found here with the work of a rabbi – so we looked for alternatives. ‘Inauguration’ seemed too presidential and the French ‘Cérémonie D’Intronisation’ was already taken by King Charles. We settled for ‘Installation’, which seems to be the common term.
“The installation of the rabbi is an opportunity for the congregation to make a statement to
the synagogue, the community at large, the surrounding Jewish community and the religious community in general, about the past, present and future of the congregation. […] It is where the rabbi, the congregational leadership and the entire congregation meet to recommit themselves to their synagogue, the Jewish people, the Jewish religion and the pursuit of the holy. The installation is a key moment where God's presence can fill the sanctuary.” (US Rabbinical Assembly [Conservative])
We had a delightful and very well attended ceremony, with a large contingent of IJC
members young and not-so-young, as well as representatives from the EUPJ leadership and the local Jewish community. During the ceremony, I was asked to reflect on my journey to becoming a rabbi.
Read that full text in the article ‘My Journey to becoming IJC Rabbi’.
Edward van Voolen, Brian and Marc Neiger