Limmud leaders from across Latin and North America convened in Mexico City this past weekend for the first-ever Limmud Elements Americas immersive leadership and learning retreat. Among the communities represented: Buenos Aires, Caracas, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Limmud FSU Canada and West Coast, Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and more.
“Our goal for Elements Americas is to enhance Jewish life and equip volunteer-led communities for growth,” said Renato Huarte Cuellar, a founder of Limmud Mexico and Elements steering committee chair. “We explored partnering with Jewish organizations and institutions who share our commitment to Jewish learning and diversity. We discussed how we will ensure Limmud is a year-round movement.
“A top priority is how to make communities more inclusive and welcoming for people of all backgrounds, which is a challenge throughout the Jewish world.”
Not only was Elements Americas the first gathering for the Americas, it was the first time there were parallel tracks and training in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Another first: the host community showcased the remarkable history and vibrancy of Jewish Mexico City, including the downtown Sinagoga Histórica, built in 1941 and revived by young Jews as a thriving cultural center, as well as the 18,000-member Centro Deportivo Israelita Jewish Community Center.
“These few days together in Mexico City have made me feel more excited and confident for planning our upcoming festival thanks to all we’ve learned from our mentors and peers – and more connected to the global Limmud community,” said Limmud Seattle 2020 Co-Chair Andi Wishan, 33, who is Business Manager of Diversity Inclusion at Microsoft. “This is a network I am so proud to be connected with and I can’t wait to continue to share resources and celebrate each other’s successes.”
The success of Limmud Elements Americas and similar retreats owes much to those who share Limmud’s vision. “We are grateful for our international partners, who are investing in a diverse and empowered group of Limmud leaders across the United States, Canada and Latin America,” said Limmud Chief Executive Eli Ovits. “There are multiple ways we can bring Limmud to communities – new and old – and look forward to engaging more philanthropic partners in our efforts.”
Limmud Elements Americas was made possible with the generous support of The Morris and Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation, The Pincus Fund for Jewish Education, the American Joint Distribution Committee, Fundacion Metta Saade, the Natan Fund and an anonymous foundation.