Reform Jews Open First Belgian Organization for Gay Jews

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Gay rights activists hold up a rainbow flag during gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, September 20, 2015.Credit: AP

Reform Jews in Brussels have opened the city’s first gay Jewish organization.

The group’s inaugural meeting took place on October 18 and it now has 60 members, according to David Weis, one of the founders of the community, called LGBT Jews in and Around Brussels.

Two progressive communities — a term that in Europe is applied to Reform and Conservative denominations — have pledged their support for the new group, which nonetheless operates as a separate entity both from the Beth Hillel congregation and the International Jewish Center community.

“Our aim is also to build close links with Luxembourg Liberal Jewish community, which has been very supportive as well,” Weiss said.

According to the European Union of Progressive Judaism, similar groups already exist in France, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.

Some of the community’s most active members are English speakers living in Brussels, Weiss said.

“The fact that Progressive Jewish movements in the United Kingdom and the United States have started welcoming LGBT Jews,” Weiss added, “means that expats often still have links with Jewish communities back home. In Belgium many LGBT Jews have cut their links with Jewish communal life, and we hope indeed to bridge that gap among Belgian Jewry.”

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