Hundreds Gather for Limmud Israel Launch

Photo credit: Leigh Allison Kroeger.

More than 300 people packed the Limmud Israel launch on Monday, October 22nd, to explore together the shared destiny of the Jewish people at Limmud Israel – After Dark in Tel Aviv. The event, in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly, featured presentations by Natan Sharansky, Ruth Calderon, Jon Medved and an array of other Israeli thought leaders in politics, finance, high tech, media, and culture offered their perspectives and engaged in frank discussion with participants.

(l-r) Allison Kaplan Sommer, Michael Eisenberg, Jon Medved. Photo credit: Leigh Allison Kroeger.

Limmud Israel was established to advance both learning and action – from supporting existing Limmuds and nurturing new ones, to partnering with like-minded organizations in Israel and outside Israel that are dedicated to celebrating Jewish diversity while promoting dialogue. Another goal is to make Israel a local, regional and global Limmud center for leadership development and program design.

Wine tasting with Golan Heights Wineries. Photo credit: Nadia Levene.

And, just as Jews on both sides of the Atlantic need to talk, Limmud Israel was founded to provide more venues and welcoming spaces for Israelis to talk and explore their Jewish journeys. Limmud communities provide such a space in Israel and around the world.

“Limmud Israel aims to enable every Israeli to learn and advance in their Jewish journey – through nationwide and international partnerships, through supporting the nine existing Limmud communities and through the creation of new ones,” said Limmud Israel interim Chair Danielle Nagler. “And, Limmud provides a values framework which promotes bringing people together to celebrate Jewish culture and learning across the full spectrum of observance, affiliation, and opinion.”

Limmud Israel – After Dark in Tel Aviv modeled this diversity, bringing together GA delegates from North America, olim, and sabras, as well as 60 Masa students. They chose from 16 sessions, including Torah and technology; Remaining one people: The future of Israeli-American dialogue; Israel at 70: Looking forward; Identity Zionism: the key to our shared identity; Jerusalem: A love story; Long distance relationship; and, Investing in shared destiny – economics and the Israel Diaspora relationship. Presenters and moderators reflected a broad spectrum of views, and included Einat Wilf, Gil Troy, Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Benji Lovitt, David Horovitz, Alon Friedman, Joanna Landau, Anshel Pfeffer and Allison Kaplan Sommer.

“Bringing Limmud to my community has changed our Jewish and Israeli order of the day,” said David Biton, a founder of Limmud Galil and Israeli team leader for Limmud’s International Chavruta Project. “We built a learning community of people from many towns and villages, creating a sense of unity while respecting and valuing our diversity and the unique perspectives we bring to the table. Limmud Israel will help nurture other Limmud communities to pursue their Jewish journeys, too.”

In addition to Limmud Galil, the Limmud communities in Israel include Limmud Arava, Limmud FSU Israel, Limmud Golan, Limmud Haifa, Limmud Jerusalem, Limmud Modi’in, Limmud Tel Aviv and Limmud Yeroham.

“This launch of Limmud Israel is a momentous event for the Jewish people, convening participants from across the country together with communal leaders from across North America,” said Limmud Israel Event Chair and President of the Am Yisrael Foundation, Jay Shultz. “There’s no better place to be hosting it than in our Tel Aviv Ir HaKodesh.”

Limmud Chief Executive Eli Ovits thanked all the event partners. “We are especially grateful to all our Israeli and international partners, and to the volunteer team that made this launch possible.

“We call on visionary organizations and individuals to join us to help Limmud reach a new level of impact across Israel.”

Limmud is a cross-communal, multi-generational, volunteer-led international network of communities celebrating Jewish learning and culture. Founded in the UK in 1980, today there are 90 Limmud communities in 42 countries.

Limmud Israel – After Dark in Tel Aviv was produced in partnership with the Jewish Federations of North America, Am Yisrael Foundation, Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Brodt Center for Jewish Culture, Tel Aviv International Salon, White City Shabbat, Hillel Israel, Aleph VC, OurCrowd, The Times Of Israel, Golan Heights Winery, Limmud, Limmud Jerusalem and Limmud FSU.