Home / Communities / Jewish Community of Waterloo and South Brabant

A relatively large number of Jewish families moved to Waterloo following the sociological changes that swept through the Jewish community in the aftermath of World War II.  As a result, the need for an organized, recognized Jewish community, including a synagogue, in this suburb of Brussels became noticeable towards the late 1980s.  Initiatives to fulfill this need were thus taken by Ms Penina Benzennou and others.  The results of their particularly dynamic efforts were the Jewish Central Consistory of Belgium’s recognition of the Jewish Community of Waterloo and South Brabant, which was officialized by a Royal Decree of October 20, 1992.

Waterloo’s synagogue, in Belle-Vue Avenue, was inaugurated on March 16, 1997, in the presence of then mayor of Waterloo Serge Kubla, Professor Georges Schnek (the Consistory’s president at the time), and a host of leading figures.

The Jewish Community of Waterloo and South Brabant, which goes by the French acronym “CIWABS,” came into being due in great part to the efforts of some of its most motivated members, such as the Benzennou and Chochrad families.  It is a young community when it comes to the age of its members as well, and is active not just in holding religious services.  It is also active socioculturally, in part thanks to its cultural center’s many activities (for children in particular), which are conducted in a spirit of openness and tolerance.