Limmud Conference takes off in UK

Participants can choose from 1,200 sessions for Jewish learning, including lectures, discussions, workshops and debates.

Limmud backpack 311 (photo credit: Jerrold Bennett)
Limmud backpack 311
(photo credit: Jerrold Bennett)
Limmud Conference, the British Jewish community’s answer to the Edinburgh Festival, celebrates its 30th anniversary this week at the University of Warwick in Coventry.
Close to 2,500 people from all walks of Jewish life and from across the world will brave the extreme weather conditions between Sunday and Thursday, for Jewish learning in Limmud’s unique style.
Participants can choose from 1,200 sessions, including lectures, discussions, workshops, debates, drama and music performances, and text study.
Following Limmud’s dictum that “everyone should be a student and anyone can be a teacher” more than 400 participants will present sessions, including rabbis, journalists, poets, singers, academics, writers, educators, politicians and activists.
Highlights include Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin; Gaza UNRWA Director John Ging in conversation with London communal rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg; MK Miri Eisen, a former government spokeswoman and one of the few women to reach the rank of colonel in the IDF; Simcha Jacobovici, star of hit television program The Naked Archaeologist; Laizy Shapira, TV soap Srugim creator and director; and Robby Berman, founding director of the Halachic Organ Donor Society.
For the first time, a selection of sessions each day will be live streamed over the Internet, available from Limmud’s homepage ( and enabling many more to learn from the comfort of their own homes.
“Limmud believes that there are many opportunities for learning that can inspire people and strengthen their identities,” Limmud Programming chairman Dan Jacobs said. “Our 30th birthday program is rich with high-quality offerings to help our participants take one step further on their Jewish journeys.”
There will be an eclectic variety of music performances and workshops ranging from Israeli electrodance sensation Onili and soulful American star Sam Glaser to renowned British- Jewish conductor Stephen Glass and the doyenne of Jewish summer camp songbooks Debbie Friedman.
Eser, a collaboration between former Shotei Hanevua frontman Israeli Roi Levi, and Danny Raphael, a UK-born-andbred vocalist, will debut at Limmud 30.
“We’ve got 200 volunteers putting this incredible undertaking together,” said Danielle Nagler, one of Conference 2010’s two voluntary co-chairs.
Together with co-chairman Steven Fisher, the conference team was mid-set up at the University of Warwick, where Limmud completely takes over the campus.
Volunteers were working round the clock with university staff to clear and prepare the site after experiencing some of the heaviest snowfall in over 20 years.
Dozens of flights were rearranged at the last minute by Limmud’s team to ensure that no international presenters were forced to pull out and buses have been laid on for those who aren’t able to drive in the conditions.
Limmud, which began with 70 Jewish educators getting together Christmas week 30 years ago, is today a global movement, with over 35,000 participants at Limmud events around the Jewish world in any one of 55 Limmud International communities, from Amsterdam to Atlanta, Cambridge to Cape Town, Modi’in to Moscow, Paris to Philadelphia, and Istanbul to Toronto.