Limmud International in Latin America: “Goal!”

Limmud captures the flag in Latin America, gathering activists from Buenos Aires, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay for the first regional training. Photo courtesy David Hoffman.

Limmud captures the flag in Latin America, gathering activists from Buenos Aires, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay for the first regional training. Photo courtesy David Hoffman.

by Martin Joseph

Limmud activists from Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay were able to dispense with most of the usual ice-breakers. Notwithstanding meeting for the first time at the inaugural Limmud International Training on Tour in Latin America, they chatted, joked and sang together. And, they integrated the Mondial world soccer championship into their Jewish journeys.

“Goal!” pronounced Renato Huarte, Limud México founder, characterizing the successful, intensive three-day gathering in early July in the spirit of the season. “Veterans, like Limud Buenos Aires, and communities building first-time events, like Uruguay, learned valuable lessons – that we are part of a global movement, for instance, and we can choose from a variety of models for our Limmud events.

“Personally, I learned that Limud México has to work much more on the Limmud core values, especially with our own volunteers. Limud Perú did it wonderfully in their first experience. Even Limud Buenos Aires refreshes the values in every event. We now will have to look to the core values in a Mexican style.”

The lingua franca at most Limmud International Training on Tour seminars is English. Not only was Limmud founded in the United Kingdom in 1980, but when many different nationalities gather, in, say, Europe, English is the common language.

In Buenos Aires, though, Spanish prevailed.

“We got it right to have this regional training in Spanish,” Limmud International Chair David Hoffman, who traveled from London, told eJewish Philanthropy. “Everyone could communicate very freely. Most important, was what they communicated. Each Limmud impacts significantly on their local Jewish community. How that manifests is different. They also share similar challenges.

“It was reassuring to the Training on Tour participants to find out that the issues they face are faced by other Limmuds around the world. Of course, each community is different in its precise dynamics.”

The first regional training in Latin America followed close upon the heels of first-time Limmud events in Barcelona and Italy, bringing to 85 the communities spanning 42 countries which can boast a Limmud.

The Latin American training culminated in Limud Buenos Aires. “This was a great opportunity to see Limud Buenos Aires in action and strengthen our international network,” said Hoffman, aka “El Presidente,” as he was introduced in Argentina.

“It was amazing to meet committed, lively, vibrant Limmud volunteers from across Latin America,” he summed up. “I am looking forward to keeping in touch with the new Limmud friends who gathered in Buenos Aires for Limmud International’s first Latin American Training on Tour.”