Limmud UK: An International Phenomenon

from The London Jewish Chronicle:

Why Limmud is now the festival of festivals

In little under 30 years, the Limmud winter conference has grown from a small retreat for Jewish educators in the UK over Christmas into an international phenomenon. The conference itself may still remain a centrepiece, attracting more than 2,000 participants, but it is no longer a one-off.

It is now a festival of the festivals, part of an expanding network of residential weekends, day learn-ins and cultural jamborees across 46 cities from Johannesburg to Yalta in the Ukraine — all of which have adopted the Limmud model. And while Limmud may increasingly draw on the support of major philanthropic funds and established organisations, it nonetheless remains a movement built on grassroots volunteerism (not to mention the commitment of a family with two children paying almost £1,000 for a five-day stay at the conference this year).

Limmud has caught the imagination of Jews worldwide because it offers a broader, more open experience of Jewish community, rather than one bound by hierarchy and convention or riven by religious compartmentalisation. A place of “yes, we can” rather than “no, you can’t”.