Limmud Conference 2016

Limmud Conference 2016 – Monday 09:15

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Is faith a virtue? The life of faith as a work of art

Samuel Lebens 

Orange 15

In this session, we will explore - in conversation with some somewhat exotic midrashim, and some classic medieval commentators - whether, and why, faith might be a virtue. The conversation will be enriched by some philosophical reflections on the nature of faith, and by R. G. Collingwood's account of the value of art.

What do black South Africans think of Jews?

Adam Mendelsohn 

Green 25

The future of Jewish life in South Africa will likely be determined by the attitudes of black South Africans toward this community. Yet until recently we knew almost nothing about their views of Jews. Drawing on a new national study, we will discuss what the average black South African thinks about Jews, Israel and other matters of concern.

Jewish spirituality for an awesome labour and birth

Malkah Fleisher 

Blue 32 (Millers)

Childbirth is an incredibly physical, arduous experience. Unfortunately, some women associate birth with anxiety, disappointment, embarrassment, pain and even trauma. Learn how tapping into your Jewish faith can transform a series of excruciating contractions into one of the most meaningful, empowering, and spiritual days of your life.

Women reading Torah: a rabbinic dilemma

Valérie Rhein 

Red 6

May women participate actively in the Torah reading on Shabbat morning? Both the Tosefta and the Talmud initially include women in the ritual of keriat haTorah and in the next breath disqualify them from reading in public. How come? An examination of women's presence in Biblical depictions of public Torah reading suggests possible answers.

The Shoah is not over for the descendants…

Elkan Spiller 

Yellow 21

How do second and third generation descendants of Holocaust survivors deal with the traumatic legacy of their parents and grandparents? How does it affect their daily lives and how they react to current affairs, minorities, strangers and refugees? This workshop offers an opportunity to share and discuss personal experiences.

The remarkable life of Menasseh ben Israel

Jeff Berger 

Green 26

Credited with convincing Cromwell to readmit the Jews to the British Isles in 1656, Menasseh ben Israel was a thought-leader for a generation that saw much movement toward religious freedom. He established the first Hebrew printing press in Amsterdam in 1626. Rabbi, kabbalist, author, diplomat and publisher, his influence is worth investigation.

Theodore Herzl, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schnitzler and Gustav Mahler

Mordechai Friedman 

Blue 33

Common challenges of leading Jewish characters of 19th century Vienna.

The day Genghis Khan's descendants wiped out the Jewish community on the Silk Road: an introduction to the Afghan geniza

Yoel Finkelman 

Red 4

When the Mongols overran the Silk Road in the 12th century, they destroyed everything in their wake, including an important Jewish community. The National Library of Israel acquired several hundred papers including ancient prayer books, rabbinic texts and financial documents. What can these documents teach us about an otherwise unknown community?

Tefillah education or Tefillah literacy?

Aryeh Grossman 

Red 5

Is it possible to teach prayer? Is it enough just to teach the words and actions, or is there more to it? Are we succeeding in encouraging the next generation of young Jews to want to pray? In this session, we'll be looking at the ways prayer is taught and can be taught.

On the future of Biblical archaeology

Avraham Faust 

Red 3

Biblical archaeology is in crisis. While many wish to free archaeology from the tyranny of the text, the agenda is typically still biblically driven. This is somewhat ironic, since the Bible itself is all but eliminated from most of the current discourse. The session will review the debate, and will suggest possible avenues for the future.

One nation, many faces: Jewish demography and destiny

Michael Freund 

Orange 14

A traditional-style shiur (Torah class) using a range of sources to tackle an age-old question: does the size of the Jewish people matter? And if so, what should we be doing about it? The answers may surprise you...

Kashrut obsession: the birth of a new Judaism?

Alain Nacache 

Red 2

Hechshers (certifications guaranteeing the Kosher nature of a certain type of food) flourish nowadays on non-edible products such as detergents or cardboard plates. Various websites dedicate themselves entirely to kashrut. Is this really all the Torah is about? Drawing examples from Jewish law, we shall try to understand these contemporary trends.

Israeli Reform Judaism- from stigma to brand name!

Naamah Kelman 

Orange 13

The past 30 years has witnessed the rise of a unique brand of Reform Judaism in Israel. Overcoming major obstacles, it is a major player in, and indeed midwife of, the Israeli Jewish renaissance. We will explore new rituals, prayers, and social justice work as examples of this movement's growing impact.

Identities in motion

Talia Avnon-Benveniste 

Red 1

A film workshop which includes rare footage, vintage features and new media representing the united colors of the Jewish people through time. We will witness memorable scenes from Jewish documentaries and discuss their influence and relevance. The movies are from the Visual Documentation Center at Beit Hatfutsot Museum in Tel-Aviv.

Heterogeneity and harmony in Am Israel

Ronen Neuwirth 

Orange 11

During the course of Jewish history diverse opinions and denominations, arguments and disputes had aroused. I will analyse the value and the importance of disputes and diversity, and suggest methods for achieving the inner peace and brotherhood above the widening fault lines of Jewish society.

Guided mindful meditation

Yon Borthwick 

Marquee 2

Take a moment out of the busy schedule of Limmud to breathe and centre yourself. This will be a guided meditation session, no previous mediation experience required.

From bourekas to Oscars

Sigalit Freeman 

Blue 34

The Israeli film industry has come a long way since the first minute-long promotional black and white film. Today Israeli films are regular Oscar contenders and smash hit TV series such as 'Homeland' and 'In treatment' originally aired as Israeli shows. Following the development of Israeli film, we will examine what we can learn about Israeli society through its films.

From Bezalel to Banksy: Art in Jewish Spirituality

Jason Demant 

Orange 10

Using rabbinic sources, we will outline how art and artists are viewed in Jewish tradition. We will then consider questions such as, Is all art of spiritual value? Can art deepen one's understanding of Jewish texts, religious belief and practice? Basically - Can a shark in formaldehyde bring you closer to God? Come, look and find out!

Forced labor of Jews in Bulgaria during the Second World War

Angel Chorapchiev 

Red 9 (Boulevard Front)

We will give a brief outline of the story of the Jewish men in Bulgaria conscripted for forced labor during WWII, and examine the relevant legislation and its implementation during the war years. You will be presented with the everyday life of these men in the labor camps between 1941 and 1944.

Civil religion and national narrative - how Israel has and will change in the coming decades

Robin Moss 

Red 8 (Boulevard Back)

One of Zionism's greatest triumphs was the restoration of a Jewish national narrative - the creation of "Israeliness". But this set of beliefs, customs and practices (a classic "civil religion", in the sociologist Robert Bellah's terminology) always excluded many Israelis. With shifting demographic realities where might the Israeli story be headed?

Are the strong always wrong? Political correctness vs. absolute values

Yarden Zornberg 

Yellow 22

Among many changemakers, the maxim "If you are strong you are wrong" seems to shut down all critique of disadvantaged populations. Others feel we must take a stand for our own "absolute values." Yarden Zornberg, Global Director of Project TEN and an OLAM Partner, will lead a thought-provoking discussion: should we be more PC (politically correct) or AV (absolute-valued)?

Antisemitism education: what are we teaching your children?

Talia Blank 

Purple 31

Streetwise is the only organisation in the UK that delivers antisemitism education to Jewish secondary school students. This interactive session will explore the experiences, definitions, methodologies and techniques that Streetwise uses to educate our young people.

A machzor in the making

Paul Freedman 

Green 27

The current "British Reform High Holy Day" machzor was published in 1985 and work on its successor is well underway. We’ll explore the draft Rosh Hashanah morning machzor published this year to get an overview of its structure and themes, its innovations, how it differs and how it doesn’t from the current machzor, and an update on what’s next.

"Get to know you" walk

Limmud Social Programming Team 


Walking and talking, what a great combination. This is the perfect place to meet some new friends who are not just for conference but for life #bffe

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