Israel is a critically important topic in every Jewish community, and one we gave considerable and careful thought. Our volunteer team of planners - nearly 100 of them! - have worked tirelessly to create a fantastic festival that will bring together the greater Seattle Jewish community, and we’re excited to share with you our Israel programming.


Ruth Calderon on Israel’s Jewish Renaissance and More

It’s thrilling to host former Member of Knesset Ruth Calderon. Ruth will lead a session Sunday morning on Israel’s Jewish Renaissance and efforts to revive Hebrew culture and a pluralistic Israeli-Jewish identity, and Sunday afternoon on Love Stories in the TalmudShe will also participate in a Saturday night panel, “You’re Invited: Taking a Place at the Table of Talmud,” along with Yaffa Epstein, of Pardes North America, and our own Rivy Kletenik.  


The Best of Israel’s Youth - Right Here in Seattle: Panel Discussion

 In this energetic discussion, we’ll hear from young Israelis in Seattle for a year to bring Israel into the lives of Seattleites. Lidar Efrati and Tal Bronstain are volunteering with the Jewish Agency Shinshin program, a gap year of service between high school and the army. Udi Asaraf, the StandWithUs Northwest shaliach, educates student groups and others across the Pacific Northwest about Israeli history, politics, and culture. This panel, moderated by Samis Foundation’s Amy Amiel, will give us insights about these young Israelis: why they came here, what they hope to achieve, what messages about Israel they hope to convey and what they are learning about Seattle’s Jewish community - and themselves - that they will take back home.  


Israel Civil Discourse

The centerpiece of this year’s Israel programming is what we are calling the Israel Civil Discourse Room. The idea behind this space is an opportunity to practice speaking to each other about what can sometimes become a divisive topic, even - or especially - if we disagree. On Sunday, there will be six opportunities to talk respectfully and productively about Israel.

Some sessions will be technique based (e.g. "How Can I Even Talk to this Person? A How-to Guide for Healthier Conversations"); others will be content based (e.g. “From Settlements to the Kotel: Is Public Criticism of Israel Helpful or Harmful to the Jewish People?”). Each session will be limited to 20 participants. Our three highly skilled, experienced moderators - Doug Kahn, Elisheva Goldberg and Stanley Wulf - will leave their own political opinions out of the conversation (bios can be found in the program).

Jay Rosenbaum of Herzl-Ner Tamid will lead a panel discussion with the moderators on Saturday night entitled “Civil Discourse on Israel: Can We Make Space in Seattle?” Panelists will discuss their approaches to talking about Israel and why they chosen to advocate for dialogue. Audience questions will be solicited and discussed. The panelists are eager to engage with the Seattle Limmud community and hear from you.

We invite all people who are passionate about Israel to get involved, attend one of this year’s sessions or Civil Discourse Workshops, Ruth Calderon’s session or the panel discussion with our Israeli youth. Bring your ideas to the conversation at Limmud.

Interested in these topics and shaping their future at Limmud? Please consider the rewarding experience of joining our all-volunteer effort. Each year brings a new opportunity to think about ways to bring Israel to our community. 

L’hitraot on January 13-14!