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Thursday, 02 July 2015
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Third Young Jewish Adult Forum in Brussels Print E-mail
It was so nice to see so many participants again and to see them make so many new friends during the last B’nai B’rith 3rd Young Jewish Adult Forum in Brussels from the 13th to the 15th of November 2009.


The eyes of the arriving participants were already shining when we distributed the famous Belgian chocolates and the beautiful Menorah Pin that we were pleased to see everybody wear during the whole event.


We just let them rest a little after their flight and train adventures and took them out in the wind again to take them to the Great Synagogue of Brussels for Shabbat service. We wanted to make sure they had a flavour of our wonderful Belgian weather.

It was not only the Belgian weather we wanted them to discover but also our amazing Kosher Caterer “Food Art Europe” that served Shabbat dinner as well as all the other meals and that were applauded with a standing ovation at the end of the Forum. 

michael melchior

When stomachs were replete, we had the pleasure to listen to the fabulous presentation of Chief Rabbi Michael Melchior who captivated the whole audience with his interesting views and humour. Everybody was then in the mood to end the evening with two ice-breaking activities that helped to get to know one another.

After a good night’s rest some had the courage to wake up to attend Saturday morning service and eat some tasty cakes during the Kiddush that was hosted by the synagogue.

After lunch the group was split into three workshops all based on the three pillars of B’nai B’rith – “Benevolence, Harmony and Brotherly Love”. 
Erika Van Gelder and Sylvia Bruter centralised their workshop on Benevolence explaining how, contrary to what everybody thinks, help to the needy is not only a fact in Central and Eastern Europe but also, due to the world economic crisis, in Western Europe.
Dr. Gozlan and Professor Doron Kiesel emphasised the importance of organisations both on a psychological basis and on a social basis.
And last but not least, Dr. Nathan Abrams, gave a very humoristic and open view on the need of harmony on the physical and psychological aspect in one’s life.


The conclusion was given in a very moving and personal way by Joseph H. Domberger as he himself is one of the pillars of B’nai B’rith worldwide. He finished his presentation by reading the famous and beautiful poem by Rudyard Kipling “If”.

The audience remained in the stream of these beautiful words which were followed by a touching song in Yiddish that Rachel Rose Reid started to sing joined by all. She then told a moving love story bringing tears to the eyes of most of the girls.
Havdala was recited by John Reeves as Elena and Kirill held the Havdala candle.


People were welcomed by Edwige Ouaknine’s magical voice accompanied by André Reinitz and a surprise was organised by Aline and the organising Committee to bid farewell to Noëmie who is leaving us to lead a new life. Other members of the organising committee were also thanked for their work and participation at the Forum.


We just gave the participants a short time to rest and change before coming up to the 27th floor where the Saturday night Disco party took place.


A lot of John Travolta’s suddenly appeared as the D.j. launched the famous “YMCA” song. 


Our three Greek participants taught everyone how to dance the Sirtaki, and Nicolai Stern, originally from Russia, taught how to dance like the famous Bolshoi dancers. We then also discovered a lot of very talented belly dancers amid our participants as well as traditional Hassidic dancers.


Although everybody was very tired, they were up and ready to go and discover Brussels, once again in beautiful, rainy and windy weather. A solemn moment in reverential silence took place at the Memorial of the Deportees from Belgium.


We then drove to the famous Atomium built for the International 1958 Fair in Brussels, where Eric finally managed to get the whole group together for pictures. 


The centre of Brussels was then visited walking through the Grand Place and of course the not missing symbol of Brussels: Manneke Pis. The 15th of November is the King’s day so the group was lucky to be welcomed in front of the Royal Palace by many and different soldiers.


Wind brought everybody back to the hotel where lunch was served. We then had the pleasure to present Eva Vadasz with the prize she was awarded for the Essay Competition. Then a vote of thanks was made for Aline, Nathalie and Eric.
Sadly enough the group then had to part, because the participants were going back to their country that day.


The Forum would never have been such a success without the warm participation of those present. We again want to thank everyone who, in the background, contributed as well as our generous donors and sponsors.

Report by Aline Brandon, Nathalie Gamain, Noëmie Rubinsztejn and Eric Engelmayer
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