Limmud Conference, aka the “mother of all conferences,” the global network’s flagship Jewish learning festival, is celebrating 35 years in a new location to accommodate record-breaking registration. More than 2700 participants, hailing from 28 countries will converge on Birmingham, two hours north of London, from 27-31 December 2015.
For the first time, Limmud has recruited madrichim from Jewish communities outside the UK to staff Young Limmud alongside locals. In cooperation with The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe Matara youth leadership programme, madrichim from Israel, Romania, Russia and Serbia will be joining the team. “We’re investing in this effort to build connections and promote learning from each other,” said outgoing Limmud Chair Kevin Sefton. “Limmud’s youngest participants, toddlers and children, will meet young Jewish leaders from communities they may have never heard of. We’ll continue to nurture these relationships in the coming years.”
The smorgasbord of sessions – over 1,100 in all – includes films, panels, and performances by Cockney Yiddish band Kat’shanes, and comedian Benji Lovitt, among others. In addition to Limmud Chavruta, Daf Yomi, and Bible scholarship, sessions will examine “Contemporary Anti-Semitism – How real is the threat?,” “The Vodkas of Eastern Europe, ” and “From Skyfall to Spectre – the new James Bond Midrash.”
Limmud, which was founded in 1980 when 75 Jewish educators gathered for a weekend in which anyone could teach and everyone was a student, today spans six continents, with over 80 Limmud communities in 43 countries.
“Limmud’s cross-communal, multi-generational, volunteer model continues to draw ever greater numbers of people embracing the opportunity to take the next step on their Jewish journey,” said incoming Limmud Chair David Hoffman. “In 2015, 33,000 people took part in Limmud events, including the newest additions to the Limmud family in Chile, Kazan (Russia), Phoenix and Tel Aviv. We are especially proud that Limmud inspired Armenians to produce a similar festival, Lasaran, last May. Onward and upward!”