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.
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.
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)?
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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?
Common challenges of leading Jewish characters of 19th century Vienna.
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.
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.
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.
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