February 21, 2020

My First Limmud Experience

The existence of Limmud first came to my attention a couple of years ago. It started, as I understand it, in the UK, and has been spreading ever since. The idea is that a bunch of volunteers gets together to create a conference on Jewish learning, while various people volunteer to teach. The presenters are participants, and, in many cases, vice versa.

This year the “>Honey from the Rock.” It starts, “Each lifetime is the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,” and goes on to talk about how the pieces fit together. Each of us was given a puzzle piece, and asked to bring it to a table by the registration area, to help complete the puzzle.

One of the most intriguing programs in which I participated was called, “Casual Conversations: from Selfie to Groupie.” Participants were asked to think about their Jewish identity and to write descriptive words of it on three small white boards taped to a background photo of a beach. Then the participants were photographed in front of what they had written. This program is taking place at several different Jewish venues, and the plan is to publish selected photos in a full color coffee table book, scheduled to be released next year.

I attended a number of excellent sessions, including “The Bad Jew Portal: An Outsider’s Approach to Torah and Tradition” by “>Honest Reporting. Not to mention the inspirational concert by Neshama Carlebach and Josh Nelson.

My session about Jewish Death and Dying went quite well. I told participants a little bit about myself and my experience in the subject area, then asked them to tell me their fears and concerns about it, as well as their questions. I wrote down all of the questions on chart paper at the front of the room, then we proceeded to answer and discuss the questions.

I’m afraid we didn’t have time to get through all of them, but we did cover most of them. I was impressed with the thoughtfulness and quality of the questions and the participants. I hope to be able to do this kind of session again in the future, and I look forward to attending Limmud again next year.

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