Jews in Belgium
JEWISH INSTITUTIONS IN BELGIUM
The Consistory embodies the vision of Belgian Jewry as a federation of synagogues throughout the country. This umbrella organisation of Jewish Religious Communties garanties a synthesis of many trends within. Finally, as an inheritance of the Napoleon era, where the model of integration of French Israelites took shape and was applied to Belgium, the Consistory represents a model for more recently settled religious minorities.
Since 1984, IMAJ focuses on listing and broadcasting all films about Jewish culture and history.
The Ben Gourion Circle
The Ben Gourion Circle, established in 1979, is a non-profit organization, whose objectives are the organization and coordination of cultural, political, social and sports events and celebrations as well as information broadcasting. The Ben Gourion Circle addresses anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism issues and promotes, through all kinds of means, Jewish Education, both within the Jewish Community of Belgium and in the Belgian public in general by means of its private Radio Station : Radio Judaïca.
Le CCLJ est reconnu comme Organisation d’Education Permanente et Maison des Jeunes par la Communauté Française de Belgique.En 1959, c’est une poignée de jeunes gens, bientôt suivis par d’autres, qui ont pensé que la renaissance de la communauté juive devait nécessairement passer aussi par sa reconstruction morale.
Ils ne pouvaient se contenter de travailler, de se marier, de fonder des familles. Ils ne pouvaient se concevoir sans activités politico-culturelles. Ils ne pouvaient pas davantage se contenter d’un judaïsme reconnu au seul plan religieux. Ils voulaient de toutes leurs forces reconstruire une vie juive en Belgique.C’est ce qu’ils ont fait, d’abord à travers de petites activités, ensuite par des activités de plus grande envergure.
C’est ainsi qu’est né le Centre Communautaire Laïc Juif.
Centrale d’œuvres Sociales
Av Henri Jaspar 91/1 – tel (02) 538 80 36
The Jewish Studies Institute is the only academic institution in the country to provide academic level courses – staggered hours – dedicated to teaching the multiple aspects of the Jewish world in its historical as well as geographical dimensions, ranging from antiquity to modern times. This curriculum includes as well the study of artistic expression, literature and linguistics.
The Jewish Social Service, established in 1961 by a team of social workers, is the continuation the “Israelites War Vicitms Aid” association established in 1944. The latter’s purpose was to help WW II Jewish survivors start a new life, find a profession and rebuild themselves socially and emotionally. The Jewish Social Service is nowadays a multicultural mental health and social work centre recognized by authorities.
The Kazerne Dossin – Jewish Deportation and Resistance Museum is located in Mechelen, in a wing of the Kazerne Dossin coumpound used by Nazis, under the name SS-Sammellager-Mechelen, to regroup Jews of Belgium before Deportation. Between 1942 and 1944, 24916 Jews and 351 Gypsies were deported to Aushwitz. Two third of them were immediately gazed upon arrival. Only 1221 persons will come back after Liberation. Kazerne Dossin was indeed an Anteroom of death.
The Israelite Community Centre of Liège is a meeting place for all kind of social events :
Celebrations, Pourim Spiel, Jewish Passover “Seder”,
The Israelite Community Centre of Liège hosts youth movements like Hashomer Hatsaïr or MJLg.
Progressive Jews of Belgium Union
In 1939, Jewish revolutionary militants, immigrants from Eastern Europe, Communists and militants from various antifascist movements ( Vets from Spanish republicans International Brigades, MOI, Patronatn, Kultur Farayn, YASK, Secours Rouge) come together and establish in Brussels the Jewish Solidarity movement (Sol). Under German Occupation, Jewish Solidarity initiates the Jews’ Defense’s Comity (CDJ). Many of its Militants fight in the ranks of the Independence Front (FI). After Liberation, Jewish Solidarity takes a non-profit organization status under the name Jewish Solidarity A.V.O.N. (Nazi Oppression Victim Aid) and undertakes an important socio-cultural work for rebuilding Jewish life in Belgium. Jewish Solidarity affirms its loyalty to Communist ideology, through its Yiddish newspapers. Its senior members are almost all members of the Communist Party of Belgium (PCB)
In 1969, a weakened Jewish Solidarity, taking some distance from the Communist Party of Belgium while remaining loyal to the values of the left, establishes the Progressive Jews of Belgium Union (UPJB) together with former members of the Young Jews’ Sports Union (USJJ), the Monitors’ Club of its summer camps and the Parents and Friends’ Committee of the Young Progressive Jews Union.