Description of the current use and the current function
The Synagogue is currently used for worship services, weddings, communions and other Jewish celebrations. We advertise throughout Belgium and abroad (via the website), to bring believers to our city and to make our Community known (with the Synagogue). We have also organized a mention in ‘The Jewish Travel Guide’
In addition, we had the pleasure of hosting radio and television several times in our Synagogue.
The VRT organized four shows from our building. On this occasion, many prominent members of the Government were present, both nationally and regionally, as well as prominent members of other religions, representatives of the police and the army.
I recently contacted VRT and they confirmed to me that two shows were kept in their archives, namely:
• The Israeli religious service of July 6, 1986 on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Ostend Synagogue – WS.19860706.2 (still in VHS)
• The Israeli Religious Service of September 20, 1998 (with foreword by Daniel Kalter) – AIM00477280
We intend to organize a religious service to celebrate the completion of the work of the second phase of the renovations and hope to host the VRT here at the Synagogue of Ostend again.
On the occasion of important Jewish holidays we manage to attract countless tourists to the Synagogue, (mainly in summer). During the summer months, July and August, the Synagogue is open every day for morning and evening prayers. The Synagogue is also open at our important celebrations in September and October, with the New Year (Rosh Hashana) and with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) as the main festivals. In addition, the Synagogue is naturally also open during other celebrations spread over the year, the feasts for Soekot, Hanukkah, Purim, Pesach and Shavuoth.
Schools and several organizations from all over West Flanders have a keen interest in guided tours of the Synagogue. These visits are accompanied free of charge by President Daniël Kalter (and possibly also by the Rabbi).
At the suggestion of our Rabbi we organized, as part of our contacts for the faith, a Hanukkah celebration at the Filip Van Maestrichtplein with the presence of our mayor and many personalities of all other beliefs and philosophies.
Our Community has also participated in various ceremonies such as the commemoration in Nieuwpoort, a ceremony of support for the victims of the tsunami in the Far East etc …
We keep notes of the number of visits to the Synagogue and the number of students (and adults as well), so that we can always indicate how many visitors we have welcomed when asked by the authorities.
A reasoned vision regarding the future of our Synagogue
We insist on using the Synagogue as a place for prayers.
Once the entire infrastructure of the building is in order, with the installation of the Mikwa (ritual bath) as the main element, the intention is to promote the Synagogue for Bar Mitzva and Bad Mitzva (communion for boys and girls) and for Jewish weddings from all over Belgium and neighboring countries.
The availability of synagogues in Belgium (and in neighboring countries) is so limited that people have to wait too long to organize their ceremonies.
The intention is to ask for a contribution in the future, in consultation with the city authorities, in order to become less dependent on donations and grants.
Currently, there is no question of ancillary use or reallocation.
Nevertheless, all parties involved are in open communication with each other regarding possible changes and opportunities.