Limmud’s Global Chavruta Project

Combine globalization and technology and what do you get? Limmud Conference’s first worldwide, 100% virtual team!

The Co-Chairs of Limmud’s 2009 Chavruta Project span four continents across fourteen time zones – from New York to Sydney who joined together for a unique collaboration to create Jewish learning that transcended boundaries.

The Chavruta project was conceived by Limmud in the UK 13 years ago and has since been exported to Jewish communities around the world.

For those unfamiliar, chavruta means ‘friendship’ or ‘partnership.’ It is a form of traditional Jewish learning involving pairs of people, usually with similar levels of ability and knowledge, exploring texts together. At Limmud, these can range from ancient materials to modern scholarship, song lyrics and more. Everyone is welcome, whether they have studied texts before or not, and knowledge of Hebrew is not required.

A Limmud chavruta session can see hundreds of participants filling a room with discussion – some pairs are engaged in quiet consideration, while others burst with energy as they battle with the ideas in front of them. This makes for learning which is more empowering than most standard teaching methods.

Since last spring, the volunteer team has been working together entirely via Skype, phone and email to develop this year’s chavruta materials. Despite the challenges of time and distance, as well as the fact that most have never met face-to-face, they have worked together seamlessly. Thus, it is most fitting that they selected ‘One’ as the theme of this year’s Chavruta project. Sections of the book have already been tested in Atlanta, at team weekends, and over the web.

This year’s Chavruta project was introduced at Limmud-Galil, Israel, Limmud UK, Limmud NY. It will also be utilized at the upcoming Limmud-Oz, Sydney and made available for use at all Limmud events around the globe.

While this year’s chavruta book is primarily in English, with some texts in Hebrew, it is hoped that next year’s book will include additional languages.