Limmud Festival 2018 - Presenters

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Presenters: S

Bianca Sakol

Bianca works for RSY-Netzer as youth and events manager. Having previously worked for Limmud and been a volunteer, she is looking forward to trying Limmud as a participant! She is passionate about raising awareness for carrier screening of Jewish genetic disorders after two affected pregnancies.

Sunday 21:50 Ceilidh time!
Wednesday 12:00 Can we live in a world without genetic disorders? How they impact the Jewish community and what we can do about it

Gary Sakol

Gary Sakol works and volunteers in the community as executive director at Westminster Synagogue and trustee for Habonim Dror UK. But most importantly for Limmud, he is Scottish and loves a ceilidh!

Sunday 21:50 Ceilidh time!

Joel Salmon

Joel is the Parliamentary Officer at the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He is responsible for political and parliamentary engagement, domestic antisemitism and extremism. He is the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.

Monday 12:00 Gefiltefest: Humous War - food at the frontier of conflict

Leonora Samuel

Leonora learnt to leyn with Victor Tunkel in the 1990s. She is an educator. She helps people to gain key skills in numeracy and ICT and to get new insights into the Biblical text.

Friday 17:30 Talking with Torah?


Sassy is the accommodation and bar chair and quizmaster for Limmud Festival. He is also a national tournament director for the card game bridge, and in his spare time works in the Medical School at King’s College London doing something-or-other, having previously been a university admissions Officer.

Sunday 16:00 Jew-niversity application tips

Sahar Sazgar

The UJIA & the Jewish Agency shaliach to Manchester, UK. Sahar is responsible to strengthen the feelings and the relationship between the community and Israel. Sagar finished her army service as a commander at 'Egoz' unite (special forces, IDF). Grew up at 'Maccabi Tzair Hadera' youth movement.

Tuesday 16:00 #Hashtag Israel

Rosalind Schogger

Rosalind is a travel writer and photographer. She journeys frequently to Ethiopia. By working with the Jewish community of Gondar and extensively exploring this huge, land-locked country, she has developed friendships, which have given her fascinating insights into how Ethiopia ticks.

Tuesday 13:20 Ethiopia: What makes this place and its Jews so special?

Rosemary Schonfeld

Rosemary is a professional musician and composer now based in Devon. She has recorded and produced/co-produced six albums, co-run a recording studio, devised a teaching package for percussionists, and is currently working on a rock opera.

Saturday 20:15 Finding Relly - my family, the Holocaust, and me
Sunday 12:00 Finding Relly - using the book 'Finding Relly' to raise awareness about the Holocaust's contemporary relevance.

Amos Schonfield

Amos is the founder and director of Our Second Home, the youth movement for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. He is currently studying Migration Studies at Oxford University. Previously he worked at Yachad, who he represents at the Board of Deputies, and at Noam Masorti Youth.

Monday 18:40 Eight things we learned building the refugee youth movement

Kevin Sefton

Kevin is a management consultant, former Limmud chair and amateur breadmaker. At one time, really amateur. His bread was awful. So he set about making it better. And he now enjoys not just baking his bread, but eating it too.

Monday 12:00 Gefiltefest: Making bread shouldn't be a PITA

Nathan Servi

Nathan has been involved in Jewish Education for 20 years. He is head of education at Maccabi GB and manages Streetwise, the PSHE and RSE provider for Jewish Schools, which engages 23,000 young people across the community each year. In 2017 he created ‘Stand Up! Education Against Discrimination’

Monday 13:20 The sex education (‘RSE’) edition! Who wants to be a millionaire?
Monday 16:00 Everybody is talking about antisemitism; how should we discuss it with our youth? What about non-Jewish young people?

Sam Severijnse

Sam grew up in a small Jewish community in the Netherlands. He has lived in London since 2003. He is a volunteer for the Society for Jewish Study.

Tuesday 23:00 Friends of Erik Weisz

Peter Sevitt

Peter is a lover of informal Jewish learning and founder of Limmud Toronto. Peter is also an outdoor enthusiast and a thespian, and brings his passion, enthusiasm, energy and curiosity to all that he does. Originally from the UK, he immigrated to Canada over 45 years ago.

Tuesday 20:30 Jacob's Sheep!

Mei-Tal Shabtai

Native Israeli, Tali recently moved to London. She created an innovative program to express creativity and gain insights into Jewish Texts. An experienced educator, she most recently taught History and creative writing in a Jerusalem High School. Tali has a BA in Jewish history & MA in NGO management from the Hebrew U.

Sunday 20:30 Explore the mystery between the lines: creative writing through Biblical stories and Talmudic tales (1 of 2)
Monday 10:40 Explore the mystery between the lines: creative writing through Biblical stories and Talmudic tales (2 of 2)

Baraa Shaiban

Baraa is a MENA caseworker with Reprieve. He participated in the peaceful demonstrations in 2011 and served as a youth representative in Yemen's National Dialogue (a body charged with negotiating Yemen's new constitution). Baraa was involved in negotiations with the Houthi movement in 2014 and 2015.

Monday 13:20 A dummies guide to Yemen: past, present and future

Zahavit Shalev

Zahavit is on the rabbinic team at New North London Synagogue. A student at Leo Baeck College, she hopes to be ordained as a rabbi 2019. She enjoys seeing her students join the Jewish people (70+ and counting), feminist Biblical and Talmud criticism, 90% dark chocolate, and undignified dancing.

Monday 09:20 Morning Seder (Intermediate): the day and night identity of a rebel (1 of 4)
Monday 16:00 Happily ever after?
Monday 21:50 Sleep in Talmudic times
Tuesday 09:20 Morning Seder (Intermediate): the day and night identity of a rebel (2 of 4)
Tuesday 19:10 Why do we need rabbis anyway?
Wednesday 09:20 Morning Seder (Intermediate): the day and night versions of Talmudic marriage (3 of 4)
Wednesday 13:20 Crying and dying
Thursday 09:30 Morning Seder (Intermediate): the day and night versions of Talmudic marriage (4 of 4)

Dave Shaw

Dave is a founding trustee of KeshetUK – the charity ensuring that no person should have to choose between their Jewish and LGBT+ identity. He also chairs Gay Jews In London, a group with nearly 900 members, programming social activities for those identifying as gay and Jewish in London.

Wednesday 12:00 How can you be LGBT+ and Jewish in an orthodox community?

Marvin Shaw

Marvin Shaw is a poet and author. His five creative self-help books include Poetry for Health and Mindful Judaism. Marvin is currently working on a thrilling new book and project entitled Creative Starts, Creative Sparks - How to Liberate your Inborn Creativity and Bring Joy to Yourself and Others.

Sunday 13:20 A short course in creativity - how creativity boosts mental health and wellbeing (1 of 3)
Monday 16:00 A short course in creativity - Kabbalah, colour and the creative soul (2 of 3)
Tuesday 18:40 A short course in creativity - discovering your unique creative vision (3 of 3)

Clive Sheldon

Clive Sheldon QC is a leading barrister in the fields of public law and employment law, often appearing before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Clive is the chair of the New Israel Fund in the UK, having previously served as co-chair of Masorti Judaism in the UK and as a member of the JLC.

Monday 14:40 The Nation State Law and Diaspora Jewry’s relationship with Israel
Wednesday 13:30 Film screening: A Land Without Borders + Panel Discussion
Wednesday 18:40 Under attack: the defenders of Israel’s democracy

Ruben Shimonov

Ruben is an educator, community builder and social innovator focusing on Jewish diversity. His hybrid identity as a Bukharian, Sephardi, Mizrahi and queer Jew drives his leadership work. He’s the founder/director of the Sephardic-Mizrahi Q Network, a unique platform for LGBTQ Sephardim and Mizrahim.

Sunday 16:00 Understanding, and wrestling with, ashkenormativity
Monday 10:40 At the crossroads of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-speaking: the Jewish communities of Central Asia and the Caucasus (pt. 1: Bukharian Jews) (1 of 2)
Tuesday 10:40 Maktuv: an Arabic-Hebrew interfaith calligraphy workshop
Tuesday 14:40 Sephardic-Mizrahi and LGBTQ+: a Jewish community on the margins
Wednesday 14:40 At the crossroads of Sephardic, Mizrahi, and Russian-speaking: the Jewish communities of Central Asia and the Caucasus (pt. 2: Georgian and Mountain Jews) (2 of 2)

Colin Shindler

Colin is the first professor of Israel studies in the UK, the author of numerous books on Israel and a frequent contributor to the national, international and Jewish press. He is proud to have been present at the very first Limmud in 1980.

Wednesday 13:20 The closing of the progressive mind: Jeremy Corbyn and Zionism
Wednesday 17:30 Is the Israeli government doing enough to promote peace with the Palestinians?

Daniel Shine

Danny has been going to Limmud for so long despite attempts to ban him. His sessions are usually controversial so not really for the weak-hearted.

Sunday 19:10 Why UK drug laws are a danger to everyone
Monday 23:00 Death
Tuesday 18:40 The case against having children

Michael Shire

Michael is dean of Jewish Education at Hebrew College Boston and founder of Torah Godly Play, a spiritual pedagogy for telling Bible stories. He is also a graduate of Jewish history and now interested in American Jewish history.

Monday 16:00 Telling Torah stories to children with spiritual intent
Wednesday 10:40 Benjamin Franklin and the Musar movement

Beverly Shrand

Beverly is a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. She facilitates adult learning in the areas of systems thinking, business ethics and marketing. She recently completed her doctoral thesis in organisational psychology.

Sunday 12:00 Solving complex problems using a systems thinking approach

Edwin Shuker

Edwin Shuker is Vice President of the Board of deputies and a member of the Limmud International Advisory Council. Activist and an international public speaker on Middle East issues especially on Jews from Arab counties, Edwin is a protagonist of the documentary “Remember Baghdad.“

Sunday 17:30 The Wolf of Baghdad - a memoir of a lost homeland
Monday 13:20 Mosul Jewish sites liberated from ISIS
Tuesday 10:40 The Iraqi Jewish archives
Wednesday 10:40 Remember Baghdad
Wednesday 19:10 The spy next door

Aaron Simmonds

Aaron Simmonds has been failing to stand up for 28 years: luckily he is far better at comedy than standing up. He has a unique perspective on life, which gives him stories to tell and a sore neck. Aaron was a finalist at the BBC New Comedian of the Year and won Jewish Comedian of the Year 2017.

Wednesday 21:50 Late Night Laughs at Limmud!

Raymond Simonson

Raymond is CEO of JW3, London's JCC; sits on the Limmud FSU International Steering Committee, the advisory boards of Mitzvah Day and the London Jewish Forum; has a BA in Jewish History, MA in Applied Anthropology and Community & Youth Work, and was Limmud’s first full time Executive Director.

Sunday 20:30 Celebrating Maureen at Limmud
Wednesday 13:20 But apart from Mel Brooks, Bette Midler, Larry David, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, David Baddiel, Sarah Silverman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jackie Mason and Mrs Maisel….what have the Jews ever Done For Comedy
Wednesday 16:00 Letters Live at Limmud with Clive Lawton and friends
Wednesday 22:00 The Rebbetzin's Disco

Chaya Singer

Chaya Singer is the Diplomatic and first Parliamentary Liaison for the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. Prior to joining the SAJBD, she served terms as Chairperson of the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) and thereafter as Chairperson of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS).

Saturday 20:15 Perspectives from Parliament: 24 years into South African Democracy
Monday 14:40 The Israel Apartheid analogy: ground zero
Wednesday 12:00 Practical approaches to combatting antisemetism: a South African case study

Naomi Soetendorp

Naomi is a qualified social worker employed as Practice Learning coordinator for an inner London borough. Co-founder of Wandering Jews and Grassroots Jews, Naomi coordinated Grassroots Jews 2018.

Tuesday 23:00 Social work, a good job for a nice Jewish boy or girl?

Mor Sofer

Mor is the Jewish Agency Shaliach to the northern universities via UJS. Mor lived the Israeli media. He was a member of the Israeli Journalists Association, reporter in the IDF's magazine "Bamahane", digital director for an marketing agency focusing on soldiers and was the FZY Shliach in Manchester.

Monday 10:40 Free military press
Monday 21:50 Enough with the cherry tomatoes

Laynie Soloman

Laynie is a faculty member and the director of educational initiatives at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. Laynie has learned and taught in a variety of batei midrash, including at Yeshivat Hadar, where they currently serve as an adjunct faculty member.

Saturday 11:45 Preferring sages to prophets: interpretation as revelation
Saturday 20:15 Inclusion and Exclusion: Being LGBT+ on Shabbat
Sunday 18:40 Shevet Dinah Podcast Launch
Monday 09:20 Morning Seder (Beginners) - Times to Pray: Traditionally Radical Talmud (1 of 4)
Tuesday 09:20 Morning Seder (Beginners) - Times to Pray: Traditionally Radical Talmud (2 of 4)
Tuesday 13:30 Lev Yodea Marat Nafsho: Trans identity and self-determination in halacha
Wednesday 09:20 Morning Seder (Beginners) - Times to Pray: Traditionally Radical Talmud (3 of 4)

Shira Solomons

Community director at the Jewish Community of Berkshire in Reading, Shira organises cheder, community events and Judaism talks at schools. She is passionate about practical spirituality, and Jewish education that enables children, women, and men to expand their intellectual and spiritual horizons.

Friday 17:30 An Idiot's Guide to Synagogue services and Jewish Prayer
Sunday 16:00 Jewish origami for kids
Monday 21:50 Revelation of a hidden God: Connections between Shavuot and Purim
Tuesday 17:30 When not to keep your mouth shut
Tuesday 23:00 Jewish origami for big people

Zvi Solomons

Zvi is founding rabbi of the Jewish Community of Berkshire based in Reading, UK. He and Shira reach out to unattached families as well as providing Judaism talks to schools and training to RE teachers all over the region. Zvi enjoys teaching and learning and is at his 20th Limmud this year.

Saturday 11:45 How a Christian school built 3 Sukkahs and other stories
Tuesday 19:10 The Jewish Whisky Appreciation Society
Wednesday 14:40 Race in Judaism
Wednesday 17:30 Humour in Jewish texts

Gary Somers

Gary is married to Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers. Gary has worked at SOAS for more years than he cares to remember. He is currently learning Issur v'Heter in Rabbi Landes' Online Kollel with a view to receiving Semicha as long as he can remember his sources.

Saturday 21:45 You say Reform, I say Orthodox, let's call the whole thing off

Izchak Sonnenschein

Izchak is the head of the UK delegation of the WZO. Prior to this, he was head of the Programs Division of Israeli TV, head of the Israel Delegation for Eurovision and Ambassador for the Israeli Broadcast Authority. He was also CEO for the 40th Anniversary of the Unification of Jerusalem programme and Head of Israel Official Events and Ceremonies at Merkaz Hahasbara.

Monday 12:00 Israel at 2019
Monday 20:30 Eurovision's factory production and politics - stories from behind the scenes
Tuesday 14:40 The truth and the media - Fake News in Israel

Jessica Spencer

Jessica is a programme manager at the Council of Christians and Jews, where she leads CCJ’s social action programmes, Jewish educational programmes, and CCJ’s partnership with Near Neighbours. She also edits CCJ’s award-winning journal, Common Ground.

Saturday 11:45 Living on a prayer
Monday 14:40 Out of the bubble: interfaith at university

Vivien Spevock

Vivien is a former primary and special needs teacher. She enjoys handicrafts, and sewing.

Tuesday 16:00 Embroider a Hebrew letter

Yonit Spiegelman

Yonit is an NYC-based bassist, producer, composer and vocalist. Founder and leader of the music group Foreign Hues and Banot, Yonit has achieved widespread success amongst her fellow musicians with intimate and unique compositions, accurate bass lines and whole-hearted productions.

Monday 21:50 Banot LIVE in concert!
Tuesday 12:00 Singing with Banot

Jonathan Spyer

Jonathan is a journalist and analyst of Middle East affairs. He is the director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (MECRA), and is a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies and the Middle East Forum.

Monday 10:40 Days of the fall: A reporter's journey in the Middle East wars
Tuesday 19:10 Syria: Current situation and prospects
Wednesday 12:00 The Middle East: a strategic overview

Judith Stanton

Judith is the CEO of Tzedek, the UK Jewish International Development charity. Her background is a doctor and educator. Her speciality is in population health. Judith joined Tzedek, as CEO, in 2017.

Tuesday 13:20 The power of storytelling

David-Yehuda Stern

David-Yehuda is a rabbinical student at Leo Baeck College. He holds a BA in Film and Television Studies from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Jewish Education from the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS). He leads the cheder team at New London Synagogue and blogs at

Saturday 18:30 Jewish mentalities towards mental health
Tuesday 18:40 God talk: in search of a useful theology

Helen Stone

Helen is a retired secondary teacher who has, for the past seven years been in regular demand as a second generation speaker at Holocaust events. In October 2018 she was the key speaker at the launch of the Wiener Library's "Shattered" exhibition.

Tuesday 21:50 Preserving the power of testimony

Maurice Stone

Maurice is chairman of the Israeli Dance Institute (IDI) and works for UJIA. He has been teaching dance for many years at Limmud in the UK, Russia and Ukraine. He believes that Israeli dance is a fundamental educational tool promoting Jewish identity and a connection with Israel. So let’s dance!

Sunday 18:40 Rikud chadash - youth dance
Sunday 20:30 Israeli dance party
Monday 19:10 Strictly Partner Dances
Wednesday 09:10 Providing a Kad Shemen for Jewish life - dance as food for the soul
Wednesday 21:50 Strictly Limmud Dancing

Robert Stone

Robert is a political economist who advises governments on financial sector policy, particularly in low and middle income countries. He has a lifelong interest in cross-cultural influences in religion and philosophy and is a member of Finchley Reform and Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogues.

Tuesday 18:40 Biblical Bitcoins - the role of the shekel in Torah

Yoni Stone

Yoni Stone is a proud product of the streets of Radlett. Having spent a year studying in Jerusalem at the Conservative Yeshiva, he now works full-time for Noam and Marom.

Monday 21:50 You can't spell memes without emes

Claire Straus

Active in Limmud for many years, Claire works as a professional career coach, supporting jobseekers, graduates and those in mid-career transition understand and explore their career options and secure employment. She earned a Masters in Career Management and Coaching at Birkbeck, specialising in networking.

Sunday 20:30 Getting networking to work
Monday 12:00 How can your voluntary experience enhance your CV?

Wes Streeting MP

Wes Streeting is the Labour MP for Ilford North and a member of the Treasury Committee. He was first elected in 2015, having bucked the trend to defeat the Conservatives. A friend of the community since his time as NUS President, Wes co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews.

Sunday 13:20 Wes Streeting in conversation with Andrew Gilbert
Sunday 18:40 Wes Streeting of Ilford North - it used to be quite Jewish

Simon Style

Singer, songwriter, accountant and key cutter, Simon Style has been leading singalong sessions for the last 150 years and knows most words to about a million songs.

Sunday 23:00 Sing Along with Dan Patterson and Simon Style
Monday 20:30 Sing along with Dan Patterson and Simon Style

Richard Sudworth

Richard is reverend and secretary for inter-religious affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury and national inter religious affairs adviser for the Church of England. He is on a committee working on a proposed Anglican theology of Christian-Jewish Relations.

Monday 12:00 Jews and Christians: where are we going?

Daniel Sugarman

Daniel is a journalist for the Jewish Chronicle, covering social, political and religious issues.

Monday 08:00 Morning news and brews! The Jewish Chronicle's Daniel Sugarman
Wednesday 21:50 Strictly Limmud Dancing

Tali Swart

Tali has been teaching Pilates for 12 years with special care and attention for lower back pains and injuries. Tali runs her own classes in Finchley progressive synagogue Barnet U3A and Southgate, as well as running workshops and retreats in Kent.

Tuesday 08:00 Pilatkes

Abigail Symons

Abi is a freelance writer with a background in producing live comedy and events. She is an occasional Jewish community moonlighter who has coordinated Gefiltefest at Limmud this year. She thrives on good stories and good coffee and is a fierce feminist advocate and activist.

Tuesday 14:40 The year in scandal

Joseph Symons-Smyth

Joseph has been a folk musician since he was twelve, and a Limmudnik since he was nineteen. This year he's going to try and make the worlds collide.

Monday 12:00 Morris dancing

Moshe Szyf

Moshe is a professor of Pharmacology at McGill University Medical School in Montreal Canada and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Moshe has pioneered research in epigenetics and is recognized as a founder of the field of behavioural epigenetics.

Saturday 11:45 Justice, mercy, and kindness in the liturgical poetry of Rosh Hashana
Monday 19:10 How is maternal experience registered in our DNA
Wednesday 12:00 Freedom of choice, genetics and epigenetics

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