Over 2000 participants are converging this week in Brimingham England for Limmud Festival 2018.
Presenters will include Dana International, celebrating the 20th anniversary of her Eurovision win, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary MP Emily Thornberry, Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community of the UK, flamenco dancer Leilah Broukhim, artist Siona Benjamin, Bukharan social innovator Ruben Shimonov, the Banot band, author and chef Gil Hovav, historian Jack Wertheimer, and comedians Rachel Creeger and Benji Lovitt.
Limmud Festival 2018 is unique in spotlighting Sephardi and Mizrahi culture, encompassing Flamenco dancing, women Torah scholars, food and art, as well as growing LGBTQ+ activism in the community. “We are focusing on Sephardi and Mizrahi culture – too often ignored in wider communal spaces – to expose audiences to the rich brocade of traditions stretching from Spain and Portugal to Iran, Iraq and India,” said Programming Committee Co-Chair Elliot Jebreel, himself a proud “Jewranian” and LGBTQ+ leader.
Limmud Festival brings together a diverse cross-section of people with widely varying opinions and affiliations who convene in an environment of mutual respect. “We don’t shy away from the searing political controversies in the UK and wherever Jews live,” said Programming Committee Co-Chair Sarah Pinch. “We insist that we listen to one another and agree it is legitimate to disagree.”
The program is diverse and mind-stretching. Think “When Rebbe Nachman met Gal Gadot: from proto- to post-feminism,” “The Jewish Side of Adam Smith,” “How is maternal experience registered in our DNA?,” “A Dummies Guide to Yemen,” and “Does religion spoil your sex life?” Learn about the continuing journey of Russian-speaking Jewry, the rise of alternative Jewish communities in the United States and around the world, and the transitions in the relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.
“Alongside sessions involving chavruta study, participants can explore important interfaith initiatives and the inclusion challenges facing those with disabilities,” said Programming Co-Chair Ezra Margulies. “Our 500+ presenters, like every Limmud team member, are volunteers. We are delighted by the incredible variety of choices we can offer thanks to the thought leaders from every field who share of their vast knowledge, expertise and joy in Jewish living.”
Limmud Festival is a cross-communal event, which provides an opportunity for many organizations to showcase presenters, including Beit Hatfutsot – Museum of the Jewish People, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, The Covenant Foundation, Dangoor Education, Hillel International, Honeymoon Israel, Yesod European Jewish leadership delegation and others.