Taste of Limmud Jerusalem Premiers This Week

MK Haim Amsalem and Rabbi Uri Regev, who heads “Hiddush – For Freedom of Religion and Equality,” will be among the presenters at Taste of Limmud Jerusalem, on Thursday, May 10, 2012, at the Herzl Center, on Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl. At a time when extremism and discrimination against women and immigrants is grabbing headlines, Limmud Jerusalem joins the worldwide Limmud family to promote and celebrate diversity, inclusiveness, dialogue and tolerance.

“Limmud Jerusalem is the beginning of a revolution to break down the ghetto walls separating Jews of all stripes in this city,” says Limmud Jerusalem Founding Co-Chair Yogev Karasenty. “We are bringing to Zion Limmud’s grassroots, volunteer-led, cross-communal, multi-generational Jewish model, underscoring the strength in diversity and the beauty of dialogue, which we will send forth from Zion.”

Taste of Limmud Jerusalem, supported by the Nadav Foundation, Melitz, Gesher, World Zionist Organization, the Herzl Center and Limmud International, boasts an exciting lineup of diverse presenters, including comic and columnist Jackie Levy, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo, political commentator Shmuel Rosner, HUC’s Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marks, musician Shai Tzabari, Malka Puterkovsky, Professor William Kolbrener, Dr. Jennie Rosenfeld, and Amit Assis.

In addition to Jerusalem’s first open mic Dvar Torah Slam, Limmud organizers anticipate 300 “volunticipants,” who can choose from among 50 sessions throughout the day, including Torah Yoga, the Jerusalemite as a new Jewish denomination, practical Kabbalah, Judaism as fundamentalism, and sexuality and Jewish ethics, as well as hikes in the Jerusalem forest. Other sessions will focus on leadership as a feminist challenge in the Jewish world, Jewish lyric writing and piyutim (liturgical poems), and in-depth Talmud study.

“Our 40-strong volunteer committee has worked for months to make this happen,” said Founding Limmud Jerusalem Co-Chair Nadia Levene. “We cannot change this city in one day, but our aim is to create an open, accepting space where individuals from across our diverse Jewish population can express their points of view, listen and be listened to. The rest will take much more time, but we pray that we’ve started the ball rolling.”

In 2011, over 30,000 Jews gathered for Limmud events. All told, 60 communities in 24 countries are part of the Limmud global movement. Limmud International, which promotes Limmud events in countries as far flung as Argentina, New Zealand, Russia and Turkey, welcomed the newest Limmud in Israel.

“Limmud Jerusalem, now on its way with this ‘Taste of’ launch, is a dynamic addition to the Limmud network in Israel, which includes Limmud Arava, Limmud FSU Ashkelon, Limmud FSU Beersheva, Limmud FSU Jerusalem, Limmud Galil, Limmud Modiin, and Limmud Negev,” said Limmud International Co-Chair Uri Berkowitz. “Even though Jerusalem is rich in learning opportunities, there is nothing quite like the way Limmud approaches learning – of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Taste of Limmud Jerusalem is the third Limmud event to take place in Israel’s capital – 2009 saw Limmud FSU Jerusalem at Beit Avi Chai followed the following year by Limmud FSU Jerusalem – in the presence of President Shimon Peres – with 1700 participants.