Limmud, the international network of Jewish learning communities, has been selected as the “global” category recipient for the 2017 Jerusalem Unity Prize. Founded in the United Kingdom in 1980, Limmud today has spread to 84 communities in 44 countries on six continents. In 2016, Limmud’s 4,000 volunteers produced 74 Jewish learning festivals around the world, which drew over 40,000 participants.
The Jerusalem Unity Prize was developed by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, together with the Fraenkel, Shaer, and Ifrach families and GESHER, in memory of Naftali, Gil-ad and Eyal, the three teens who were kidnapped and subsequently murdered in the summer of 2014. Now in its third year, the 2017 prize was awarded to initiatives and recipients in three categories: local, national and global.
In acknowledging the honor, Limmud chair David Hoffman said, “Limmud promotes Jewish unity by offering an inclusive cross-communal space for Jews of all ages and backgrounds, to meet, learn, volunteer and build community. Unity is created by Jews working together to build their community and create a dynamic Jewish future, which is embodied by what Limmud does.”
The national prize winner has been awarded to Tzav Pius, which “works to develop an Israeli society in which Jews of differing perceptions along the secular-orthodox spectrum, share a strong commitment to Jewish and democratic values, thus encouraging social and educational changes”.
The award in the local category will be presented to two recipients. The first non-Jewish candidate for the prize, award recipient Dr. Janaan Frajj Falah has worked to advanced initiatives that bridge social gaps between women of diverse backgrounds in Israel’s North. The second winner is Kehilat Hadar, based in Haifa, which works to promote social and cultural harmony between local groups of various religions and ethnicities.
The prize will be awarded in a ceremony hosted at Beit HaNassi (the residence of Israel’s President) on June 7th, which will also mark Global Jewish Unity Day with commemorations and educational events taking place all over the world.