Sounds Cool, But What's It Really Like at Limmud?

Posted by Jennifer Fisch on September 12, 2017 9:44 AM

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 That was my question when I sat down with good pal Deb Arnold, who went to her first Limmud
(Limmud UK) in 2011, and is one of thems who set the Limmud Seattle ball rolling after
attending the Vancouver, BC, Limmud in 2016.

Here’s what she said:
“It’s like being in a big, beautiful Jewish bubble with a bunch of people who also want to be in a
big beautiful Jewish bubble.”

Sounds nice, I said, but what else?
“It’s an opportunity to scratch a whole bunch of Jewish itches, as it were, in one place –
intellectual, nostalgic, emotional, visual, auditory. There’s really nothing else I know of that
offers such diversity and vibrancy to Jews of all backgrounds.

What’s so compelling to you about Limmud?
“It’s the diversity, energy and passion. People come together to plug in, learn, experience, and
be in community with all kinds of other Jews who want to do the same. There’s a lot of joy about
celebrating being Jewish with other people who, no matter how differently they practice or
identify, value that celebration and togetherness.”

What does it take for a Limmud to be successful? “Well, it requires a certain amount of humility — you have to go into it understanding that your way of “doing Jewish” is one way, not the only way. Also, a key Limmud value is that ‘no one is more important than anyone else,’ so it’s also about creating an environment of humility and respect.”

What’s one of your most powerful Limmud moments? “In 2011 and in 2016, Limmud UK took place during Chanukah. In a room were rows and rows and rows of menorahs and a beautiful cacophony as people lit the candles on their own or in small groups, and recited prayers or sang songs that were meaningful to them. Separateness and togetherness at the same time – that’s what Limmud is all about.

Also, I love the Limmud “pub,” a beloved nightly tradition. It’s an opportunity to socialize, relax and process what we learned and experienced that day. I’m hoping we can create a similar environment in Seattle.”

What’s your big take-away from the Limmud events you’ve attended? “There’s a broad spectrum of ways to experience Jewish life and culture — music, food, art, philosophy, spirituality, social justice, ethics and activism, history, mindfulness, and more. We want to tap into as wide a range of ways to think of the world as Jewishly as possible.

What do you hope for Limmud Seattle? “My loftiest hope is that participants will come away with new ideas about how to light up their Jewishness – to make it more interesting, more meaningful. On a community level, I hope we see how beautiful it is to come together and that the spirit of Limmud can be a catalyst for new ways to be with each other, with respect and shared hope for our collective Jewish future. But mostly I just want people have fun.”

What’s around the bend on your Jewish adventure?

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