Institut d'Études du Judaïsme

  • Institute for Jewish Studies
  • Institut Martin Buber
  • IEJ


17 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt
Brussels Capital


+32 2 6 50 33 48


+32 26 50 33 47


The Centre National des Hautes Études Juives (CNHEJ) was created in 1959 within the Institut de Sociologie of the ULB at the initiative of Max Gottschalk and Marcel Marinower, for the purpose of developing the study of Judaism. Gottschalk was its first president. Among its main objectives was the collection of sources, including oral sources, along the lines of the practices of the oral history department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. As part of the project “Constitution d’archives orales relatives à la communauté juive de Belgique avant, pendant et après la guerre 1940-1945”, almost 35 interviews were collected from 1964 until 1973. A second interview campaign, titled “Campagne d’histoire orale sur l’immigration juive en Belgique au cours de l’entre-deux-guerres”, focused on communist and Zionist commitment; 45 interviews were recorded between 1980 and 1983. The CNHEJ also organised many scientific conferences, of which the proceedings were published.

Willy Bok, researcher and later director of the CNHEJ, was the creator of a Record Centre tasked with collecting (like the zamler of the YIVO) a maximum of archival material produced by Jewish organisations, such as minutes of meetings, publications, invitations, leaflets, posters, etc.

Certain organisations as well as individuals with responsibilities in these organisations have donated some of their archives to the CNHEJ (and later the IEJ). We note for example the archives of Paul Philippson regarding his activity within the Centrale d’Œuvres sociales juives and the Caisse de Prêts et de Crédit, as well as the archives of rabbi Israël David Berman.

The presence of archival material of the periodical Regards and minutes of meetings of its editorial board is explained by the fact that Eliyahou Reichert, librarian-documentalist of the CNHEJ since 1967, held important functions within this committee. Max Gottschalk, president of the CNHEJ and Consistory, had the archives of the Association des Juifs en Belgique stored in the Consistory buildings in the rue Joseph Dupont transferred to the CNHEJ, in order to have them ordered and used as the basis for a scientific study on the role of the AJB. The resulting publication by Betty Garfinkels, apologetic for the role of the AJB and the actions of the Belgian authorities, became highly controversial. It prevented further research on this still very sensitive question, and delayed the publication of the work titled Travail sur les archives de l’AJB written by Max Katzenelenbogen (also a CNHEJ researcher). In the early 2000s, the archives of the AJB owned by the Consistory were transferred to the Joods Museum van Verzet en Deportatie in Mechelen and were not open for research until 2002. A number of boxes nevertheless remained at the institute.

In 1970 professors of the universities of Brussels, Liège and Ghent teamed up to create the Institut Universitaire d’Études du Judaïsme Martin Buber. This institution was recognised as a public institution by royal decree of March 8, 1988 under the name of Institut d’Études du Judaïsme (IEJ). It succeeded the CNHEJ but was primarily devoted to academic education and not to the collection of sources. Today, the Institut d’Études du Judaïsme offers a specialised education in Jewish studies. It organises a two-year master’s program in Jewish history, Jewish thought and Jewish civilisation. Students can also take individual courses or obtain certificates for certain disciplines. The IEJ organises conferences, and its researchers and professors contribute to scientific research in their field of specialisation. The Institut furthermore publishes a collection of works related to Jewish studies, titled Mosaïque. The IEJ is supported by the Communauté française. It plays a key role in intercultural dialogue in French-speaking Belgium. The institute often invites leading experts as speakers on the occasion of the start or closing of the academic year, such as Emmanuel Lévinas, Robert Badinter and Ilya Prigogine. The IEJ manages a very rich library containing a mass of documentation relevant to Jewish studies. It consists of about twelve thousand works regarding Judaism, including many periodicals published in Belgium and abroad.

Archival and Other Holdings

The Institute's Library has a large number of books and periodicals on Jews, Judaism and Israel (in French, English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish, Dutch, German and other languages).

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

The works held by the institute's library are catalogued on the website

Readers are requested to indicate the complete reference of the work being researched, which can be found at the end of the web page. A complete reference includes at least three digits, a period, and then another one to three digits (e.g. 760.354).

Opening Times

Monday: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Conditions of Access

Consultation of the archive requires the authorisation of the director of the IEJ.

The Institute's library is open to the public, but users must make an appointment by telephone to consult and borrow works in its collection: +32 2 650 33 48

Some books and all periodicals must be consulted on site. However, most the books can be borrowed for a maximum of two weeks (with an extension of two additional weeks). A deposit of 10€ is required to borrow a book. Maximum two books at a time.

Reproduction Services

A photocopier is available in the institution to readers to make a limited number of copies.


  • Institut d'Etudes du Judaïsme website last consulted on 12/10/2022

  • Pierre-Alain Tallier (dir.), Gertjan Desmet & Pascale Falek-Alhadeff, Sources pour l'histoire des populations juives et du judaïsme en Belgique/Bronnen voor de geschiedenis van de Joden en het Jodendom in België, 19de-21ste eeuw, Brussel, ARA-AGR/Avant-Propos, 2016, 1,328 p.

  • Yerusha European Jewish Archives Network website last consulted on 12/10/2022

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