Limmud Conference 2016

Limmud Conference 2016 – Monday 20:10

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Jewish struggles

Karen Ettinger 

Red 5

“Let my People Go!”, “J’accuse!” are two well-known slogans of Jewish Struggles for freedom from the 19th and 20th centuries. Explore these struggles and others with images, posters and documents from the archives of the National Library of Israel.

Yoga, kabbalah and meditation

Michael Picardie 

Marquee 1

Adam Kadmon and Chava Kadmona express "sefirot" which are essentially moral and psychological aspects of identity: being, knowledge, understanding, righteous love, power, the beauty of compassion, sexuality, victory, majesty and earthly "being in the world". Inspiration comes also from their performance of Spanish Jewish poetry.

Ladino 101!

Sarah Aroeste 

Marquee 3

Join international Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste as she gives the 101 on the beautiful Judeo-Spanish culture of Sephardic Jews. By looking at a series of Ladino folksongs, get a taste of Ladino history, pronunciation, rhythms, melodies, and more in this fun, interactive workshop.

JDOV: Jewish Dreams, Observations and Visions (1 of 2)

Julian Sinclair  Shoshana Boyd Gelfand  Nick Gendler  Zahavit Shalev 

Orange 15

Ever wondered what it would look like if you crossed Limmud with TED (the popular conference where inspiring speakers give "the talk of their life")? Launched at Limmud Conference 2011, JDOV is back for our sixth year. Join us as four inspiring speakers give the “Jewish talk of their life.” Previous talks can be found at

Wife during wartime

Jodi Rudoren 

Purple 31

Gary and Jodi Rudoren, former Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times, talk about work-life balance when work involves two wars in Gaza and intense personal vitriol on social media. Whilst Jodi was covering the conflict, Gary - an architect, theatre director and comedy writer - was navigating conflicts between their twins, who are now 9.

Understanding Israeli politics from within

Tal Grunspan 

Yellow 22

From Mapai and Herut to Labor and Likud. Like politics? Want to learn more about the Israeli political system? Feel the need to better understand its history and current challenges? Come for a session about political history and insights from a young Israeli political professional, who’s been active, working and breathing this field for years.

The secret Jewish history of vodka

Richard Verber 

Red 4

Many of our ancestors would have kept warm at night with a bottle of vodka while managing inns and taverns in eastern Europe. Come and learn about its Jewish history and taste some samples from Ukraine, Poland and Russia.

The rise of radical Islam in the Arab world

Hamad Amar 

Yellow 23

Islam as a political movement and the rise of radical Islam following the Arab Spring.

“The law of the land is law”: or is it?

Ian Gamse 

Blue 33

It is often claimed that Jewish communities – and their courts – live subject to the principle that “the law of the land is law”. And that sounds really good. But what does this dictum actually mean, where does it come from and what is its scope? We will examine the talmudic sources and explore the range of legal opinions.

The Conversion of the Jews: how do we answer Philip Roth?

David Benkof 

Green 26

In Philip Roth’s witty, thoughtful and rich 1958 short story “The Conversion of the Jews,” pre-barmitzvah boy Ozzie asks three Jewish questions that go unanswered. A trenchant critique of postwar American Jewish life, Roth’s themes remain challenging today. Optional: read the 5,000-word story ( before the session.

The adventures of a bird

Diti Ronen  Michal Ish-Horowicz 

Orange 11

Follow the journey of the poem "littlebird" from Israel to India, Albania, France, Germany and Poland. Accompanied by a visual slideshow, the session will reveal how one littlebird, that was shot from behind in a concentration camp, continues to fly, constantly inspiring new art works, and being immortalised through them.

Talmud after dark

Maggie Anton 

Red 3

Our Talmudic sages debated a great many subjects in detail. So it is no surprise that they discussed every aspect of sexual relations—how, when, where, with whom. Maggie, impressed at how our tradition is more progressive—and more bawdy, than one might think, decided to share the best of what she'd learned in her new book, "Fifty Shades of Talmud."

Streisand, singer and song: playing with gender in Yentl the Yeshiva Boy (1 of 2)

David Bilchitz 

Yellow 24

Yentl the Yeshiva Boy, a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, deals with a young woman who dresses as a male yeshiva student in order to be able to learn Torah. This session will explore the complex understandings of gender it embodies and whether it subverts the dominant patriarchal religious paradigm or, in fact, reinforces it.

So who wanted to be a Jew in Rabbinic and Medieval times. (1 of 3)

Jacqueline Tabick 

Orange 14

Prospective traitors or the hope for the future? Clergymen burnt at the stake for daring to convert. We’ll look at the texts and see how they can enlighten us and teach us about our people’s experience of converts.

Rachav, the scarlet woman

Eleanor Davis 

Turquoise 20

Resourceful innkeeper, notorious harlot, friend to Israelite spies, mother of kohanim – who is the real Rachav? As we discover the Biblical story of the woman who saved her family while aiding the conquest of Jericho, we’ll get a taste of how rabbinic tradition both vilifies and redeems her.

Mom and Dads: the roller coaster of multiparenthood

Avner Bernheimer 

Red 2

Avner Bernheimer is talking about his successful TV drama series "Mom and Dads", about a gay couple having a baby with a straight woman. The story is based on his own life experience, being a dad for Yoel, now an 8 year old son.

Mind Trap: a convivial game

Michele B 

Blue 32 (Millers)

Mind Trap is an amusing brain teaser team game especially when taken with wine and soft drinks. Middle aged singles only.

“Loving the Torah more than God”: the ethical philosophy and Jewish writings of Emmanuel Levinas (2 of 3)

Tamra Wright 

Turquoise 16

Levinas was one of the most influential and intriguing Jewish thinkers of the 20th century. We will explore his philosophy of the “face-to-face” relation, his understanding of Judaism as ethical teaching, and the connections between the two. No prior knowledge of philosophy required. Today: an accessible introduction to Levinas’s ethics.

Learn Torah as an artist

Jacqueline Nicholls 

Red 6

What does an artist notice that a scholar might not see? And what does a feminist Jewish artist bring to the traditional learning conversation? Drawyomi is Jacqueline’s online project that draws inspiration from the daf yomi, the day's Talmud page, and offers a different perspective on the text.

King Matt the First: a play about Janusz Korczak

Jonathan Bensusan Bash 

Red 7

Janusz Korczak is most famous for choosing, when offered escape, to go with the children of his orphanage to Treblinka. Before his death he wrote the celebrated and unusual children's book King Matt the First. Come along to see clips from the theatrical adaption of both Korczak's life and book, followed by a Q&A with the playwright.

Judaism for non-Jews: explaining ourselves to the outside world

Zoe Jacobs  Zvi Solomons 

Red 1

For two years Zoe Jacobs spent her time explaining Judaism to non-Jews. And it's tough - how do you explain Shabbat to someone who has never experienced it? Not the 7th-day-of-creation bit, but the indefinable sense of peace? And what about when someone asks "but how's that different to a weekend?". Come join Zoe for a chance to put your explaining to the test!

Jews and the Left in 19th century Germany

Adam Sutcliffe 

Orange 10

In the early 19th century, German Jewish radical thinkers played a lively role. They opposed the early expressions of German nationalism, relayed enthusiasm for the French revolutionary tradition, critiqued financiers and princes, and wrote wonderfully. This session will look at some of them, particularly Ludwig Boerne, Heinrich Heine, and Moses Hess.

Finally - the Jews and metal session!

Keith Kahn-Harris 

Blue 34

As a researcher and writer, Keith has two separate areas of expertise: Jews and heavy metal. But how far do they cross over? How Jewish is heavy metal (and vice versa)? Despite presenting dozens of sessions at every Limmud since 1996 he has never done a session on Jews and metal. Today, he will break his silence.

“Dray techterlech” – three daughters: a celebration of the life and folksongs of Mordechai Gebirtig

Stephen Ogin 

Marquee 2

The “Anthology of Yiddish Folksongs”, published by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, devotes one whole volume to Mordechai Gebirtig, a giant of Yiddish folksong, murdered by the Nazis in his beloved Krakow in 1942. The talk will illustrate his life through his songs and poetry. Be prepared to sing: lullabies, love songs and songs of resistance!

Climbing the ladder: interacting with Maimonides’ take on giving

Briana Holtzman 

Yellow 21

Maimonides outlines an order and hierarchy of giving, but does this text need an update? Together we will interact with some of Maimonides’ levels, explore how they relate to our own inclinations towards giving, and consider if this text is a living roadmap for now or a relic of the past.

Birthright Israel: what is its impact?

Leonard Saxe 

Green 27

Birthright Israel has engaged nearly 600,000 Jewish young adults from around the world. We will explore what has been accomplished, and why it has had transformative effects on participants.

Aida's Secrets: Screening and Q&A (120 mins)

Stephen Frosh  Laurence Harris  UK Jewish Film 

Orange 13

Born in a post war displaced persons camp and separated as toddlers, Shep and Izak grew up unaware of each other’s existence. Reunited six decades on, they put the pieces together. Their biological mother Aida holds key information about their identities that she refuses to share. When they find out, they understand her years of silence.

Is Israeli democracy under threat?

Haviv Gur 

Orange 12

How can Israel reconcile Jewish nationhood, democratic norms, and a large ethnic minority with competing nationalist claims? Why can't Israel write a constitution? What of the purportedly "anti-democratic" bills that seem all the rage in the Knesset in recent years? Warning: there won't be many satisfying answers here. Come for the questions.

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