Limmud Festival 2020 - Presenters

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Presenters: B

Charley Baginsky

Charley Baginsky is the Chief Executive Officer of Liberal Judaism and is responsible for setting the direction and priorities for the movement, fundraising, communities and communications. Charley was a congregational rabbi for many years and is the mother to Joshua, Eliana and Cassia.

Sunday 09:00
Sunday 09:00 Theology and leadership -being radically open to oppositional voices
Monday 15:00
Monday 15:00 The Lily's Legacy Project: Exploring the voices and visions of Liberal Judaism
Monday 19:00
Monday 19:00 Climate Change Emergency! Green Party Co-Leader, Siân Berry, in conversation with Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Charley Baginsky

Russell Balkind

Russell Balkind is a TV Producer and writer. He has produced such shows as BBC2’s ‘The Mash Report’ and E4’s ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ and 'The Alternative Election Night' for Channel 4. Over the years he has also worked on a number of the UK’s favourite comedy entertainment shows including ‘Would I Lie To You?’ and ‘Mock The Week’ and ‘The Crystal Maze’.

Sunday 20:00
Sunday 20:00 Jew Talkin' To Me? Podcast - live recording!

Joshua Bamford

Josh grew in up in Western Australia, with his biologist parents and their menagerie. Following a brief career as an opera singer, he moved to Europe to study the psychology of music. He is currently researching the social bonding functions of music and dance, at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford.

Monday 12:00
Monday 12:00 Building temples in time: the science of synchrony and social bonding

Or-ly Barlev

Or-ly Barlev is an Israeli journalist and social activist. She was the first independent journalist, not backed by a media outlet, to be accepted to the Israeli Journalism and Media Council. Her live reports from this year’s mass protests against Benjamin Netanyahu are viewed by hundreds of thousands on social media per broadcast.

Sunday 15:00
Sunday 15:00 How an independent journalist covering this year’s anti-Netanyahu protests has successfully challenged Israel’s mainstream media

Eve Barlow

Eve Barlow is a culture journalist based in LA. She grew up in the UK, working in London from 2008-2014, and was Deputy Editor of NME. Since 2014, Eve has been critiquing pop, profiling artists and covering music and film for The Guardian, New York Magazine, ELLE, Pitchfork, Billboard, LA Times, Playboy, etc.

Monday 17:00
Monday 17:00 Can antisemitism mean different things to different people?

Debra Barnes

Debra Barnes is the author of The Young Survivors, a novel inspired by her mother, a child Holocaust survivor. She runs AJR’s (Association of Jewish Refugees) My Story testimony project, producing life-story books for Holocaust survivors & refugees, and works on a new 2G project for the AJR. She is part of the Jewish Book Week Schools’ Programme and is a speaker for Generation2Generation.

Sunday 10:00
Sunday 10:00 How to keep your family story alive

Eddie Bass

Eddie has an eclectic education, but now very interested in drama, poetry, comedy and the humorous stories, which writes himself, and digs deep from the legends of Chelm - the ancient 'Village of Idiots'. In modern chelm, there's plenty of shaggy dog tales to get you laughing (or weeping)!

Tuesday 19:00
Tuesday 19:00 Tales (of the wagging shaggy doggy stories) from Chelm

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt is a journalist and broadcaster. She has written for a variety of publications, including The Guardian, The Independent, and The Huffington Post.

Tuesday 16:00
Tuesday 16:00 Celebrating ethnic diversity in the Jewish community helps us fight racism

Sarit Baum

Sarit read Biomedical Sciences at UCL, during which she travelled with the Ben Azzai programme to India. India greatly inspired her, and she decided to embark on a Master's at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Nutrition for Global Health. Sarit will be making aliyah in January, where she hopes to continue working in international development, and campaigning for global justice.

Monday 19:00
Monday 19:00 As young British Jews, what are our responsibilities towards vulnerable global communities during the post COVID-19 era?

Elisheva Baumgarten

Elisheva Baumgarten is the Yitzhak Becker Professor for Jewish Studies and teaches in the Department of History and of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Elisheva studies the Jews of northern Europe (Ashkenaz) during the High Middle Ages.

Tuesday 15:00
Tuesday 15:00 The plague and the Jews: an introduction to the Black Death

Aimee Belchak

From working on the West End production of Fiddler on the Roof to playing a real life Yente, millennial matchmaker Aimee Belchak shares the joys and pitfalls of setting up a Jewish blind dating agency during a global pandemic.

Sunday 19:00
Sunday 19:00 Modern day Yente
Monday 17:00
Monday 17:00 Fast friends!

Irina Belskaia

Irina is a member of LIMMUD FSU Belarus’ organizing committee, holds a Master’s in Jewish Education from Leo Baeck College, London. She works for the UPJ in Belarus, and is the co-author and editor of various Jewish themed children’s books.

Monday 13:00
Monday 13:00 Spotlight on: Limmud FSU Belarus!

Hanoch Ben Pazi

Hanoch Ben-Pazi is the Chair of Dept. of Jewish Philosophy. His research is dedicated to Contemporary Philosophy and Modern Jewish Thought,especially to the philosophical writings and Jewish thought of Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas. His last book was Zionism: A Levinasian View - Identity, Ethics, and Responsibility, Tel Aviv 2019.

Monday 15:00
Monday 15:00 “Translating the Bible into Greek”: Ethics and Wisdom in the thought of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt’l and Emmanuel Levinas

Jeremy Ben-Ami

Jeremy Ben-Ami is president of J Street, the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans. He has been a prominent voice in the evolving American debate around Israel and US foreign policy in the Middle East, and consults regularly with leading lawmakers and officials on these topics.

Monday 20:00
Monday 20:00 What does a Biden Presidency mean for US foreign policy and Israel?

Calev Ben-Dor

Calev Ben-Dor is a former analyst in the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Policy Planning Division and has spent over a decade in policy circles inside and outside government within Israel. Calev grew up in the UK and moved to Israel in 2005. He is currently Deputy Editor of the Fathom Journal.

Monday 16:00
Monday 16:00 2020: the year that changed the Middle East?

Aviva Ben-Ur

Aviva Ben-Ur is a historian and Professor in the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the USA. Her latest book is "Jewish Autonomy in a Slave Society: Suriname in the Atlantic World, 1651-1825" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).

Sunday 19:00
Sunday 19:00 The problem with slave memorials: a perspective from Jewish history

Maskit Bendel

Maskit Bendel joined ACRI in 2009. She currently focuses on social and economic rights, and particularly on the right to live in dignity. Prior to joining ACRI (Associate for Civil Rights in Israel), Maskit served as Director of Projects in the Occupied Territories for Physicians for Human Rights – Israel.

Monday 11:00
Monday 11:00 The socio-economic effect of COVID-19 in Israel: what can be done, and why it matters

David Benkof

David Benkof is a Jerusalem-based teacher whose Jewish Culture 101 online classes ( help students find meaning in cultural products like literature, musicals, art, music, and TV/film – from puppetry to poetry. Favourite “101” classes: Philip Roth, Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks, Debbie Friedman, Bob Dylan, Roy Lichtenstein.

Sunday 14:00
Sunday 14:00 Jewish identity in Philip Roth

Marc Bennett

Marc Bennett, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is a contemporary artist and filmmaker who is committed to art and film as visual languages that can entertain, engage, educate and inspire, as well as be vehicles for positive change and philanthropy worldwide.

Monday 16:00
Monday 16:00 "The Tattooed Torah" screening with Q&A

Simi Bennett

Simi is Executive Director of fundraising charity Shaare Zedek UK and has worked in charities for 15 years. She runs an online network of Jewish charity staff and advises causes within her passion areas of youth and female empowerment. If she won the lottery Simi would set up an inclusive community centre with self-directed education at its heart

Monday 15:00
Monday 15:00 Sustainable fundraising during COVID-19 and beyond

Sarah Benor

Sarah Bunin Benor, Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College, received her PhD in linguistics from Stanford University in 2004. Her books include Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism and Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps.

Sunday 16:00
Sunday 16:00 Jewish Surnames and Name Changing Around the World: Diversity and Unity

Michele Benson

Michele has enjoyed lots of in-person Limmud events. She finds lively discussions at Limmud a great way to make new friends. She would love your ideas for future events!

Sunday 18:00
Sunday 18:00 Speed Friending

Mike Beral

Mike is the video producer for the Lily’s Legacy project. As a lifelong member of different Liberal Judaism communities, he joined the project in its early days and recorded over 100 video snippets of people’s stories from around the country – initially face to face and then through Zoom. Mike has also followed the development and success of Resource for many years and became a Trustee in 2017.

Monday 15:00
Monday 15:00 The Lily's Legacy Project: Exploring the voices and visions of Liberal Judaism
Tuesday 11:00
Tuesday 11:00 You're hired: how to get a job in 2021

Jeff Berger

Jeff Berger was born in the USA and moved to the UK in 2000, after living in Tokyo and in Jerusalem. He was ordained at Judith Lady Montefiore College in 2009 and founded Rambam Sephardi Synagogue in 2011. In 2019, Jeff was appointed interfaith adviser at Mitzvah Day UK. He's appeared on BBC Radio2, in local newspapers and at Limmud.

Monday 09:00
Monday 09:00 Listening to the Angels - Exploring 11th-12th Century Sephardi Piyutim

Sergio Bergman

Sergio Bergman is President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and was Minister for the Environment for Argentina between 2015–19. In 2019 Apolitical named him one of the hundred most prominent people in the fight against climate change. He was a founder of the Reform Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires and has authored seven books.

Tuesday 19:00
Tuesday 19:00 The Task is Urgent: Confronting the Moral Demands of the Climate Crisis

Jonathan Bergwerk

Jonathan is an HR & Organisational Development professional with extensive experience in providing consultancy services to major organisations undergoing change. He started and grew Advanced Personnel Technology to a multi-million pound venture, employing a staff of 20, before selling it and working more recently on a freelance basis.

Tuesday 11:00
Tuesday 11:00 You're hired: how to get a job in 2021

Sally Berkovic

Sally Berkovic was brought to London in 1993 by a epistolary romance. Since 2009, Sally has been the CEO of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, supporting Jewish heritage and culture across Europe. She is the author of Under My Hat, focused on Orthodoxy and feminism, and blogs occasionally on the Times of Israel.

Sunday 19:00
Sunday 19:00 Under My Hat: What does Orthodox feminism offer Jewish life?

Adena Berkowitz

Adena Berkowitz, scholar-in-residence at Kol HaNeshamah, NYC and senior educator at Manhattan Jewish Experience, has a background in law, Jewish studies and psychotherapy. A practicing therapist and author of The Jewish Journey Haggadah and co-author of Shaarei Simcha: Gates of Joy, Adena lives in New York with her husband Zev Brenner and children.

Sunday 19:00
Sunday 19:00 Under My Hat: What does Orthodox feminism offer Jewish life?

Matthew Berkowitz

Matthew is Director of Israel Programs for JTS, where he was ordained, and co-founder of Kol Ha-Ot, a venture devoted to exploring the arts and Jewish learning. He is a member of The Wexner Heritage Program Faculty and completed his undergraduate work in International Relations and Middle East Studies. He is married to Nadia Levene, lives in Arnona, Jerusalem, and takes great pride in raising three Israeli children!

Saturday 20:00
Saturday 20:00 Rembrandt and the rabbis: Jacob wrestling

Sian Berry

Siân Berry is Co-Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales having been elected in 2018 and re-elected in 2020, as well as being a London Assembly Member since 2016, and a councillor on Camden Council since 2014. Siân became known in politics in 2003 by campaigning against the use of 4X4 vehicles in urban areas, and has since built a reputation of trusted expertise across transport, housing and the environment. Beyond her elected roles, she is the author of a number of books on sustainable living. Siân is the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London.

Monday 19:00
Monday 19:00 Climate Change Emergency! Green Party Co-Leader, Siân Berry, in conversation with Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Charley Baginsky

Robert Bieber

Robert Bieber MBE is an historian interested in law, conflict and security, and mental health. A member of a United Synagogue shul (synagogue), Robert is co-chair of the South West London and Dittons branch of the Council of Christians and Jews. He is a retired charity solicitor and is a visiting research fellow at Kings College, London.

Monday 15:00
Monday 15:00 Black British history: remembering rightly as Jews and Christians

David Bilchitz

David Bilchitz is Professor of Fundamental Rights Law at the University of Johannesburg and the University of Reading. He was a founder of Limmud SA and chair of Limmud International. He also co-founded Jewish Outlook: SA LGBTI Alliance and the Jewish Democratic Initiative. He married Ruvi Ziegler in February 2020 just before lockdown.

Sunday 13:00
Sunday 13:00 Our Big Fat Jewish Egalitarian Gay (Vegan) Wedding

Laura Birnbaum

Laura Birnbaum, MRICS is a surveyor and is head of property in a public sector department. She has a keen interest in architecture, geography and Jewish heritage.

Monday 19:00
Monday 19:00 Owning our cultural inheritance

Michael Biton

Michael Biton is Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs and Minister for Civil and Social Affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Defense. From 2010-2018 he served as Mayor of his hometown Yeruham in Southern Israel, and in 2019 he was elected to the Knesset, representing the Blue and White Party. As Mayor and MK, he has led numerous initiatives to tackle problems affecting Israel’s periphery.

Monday 18:00
Monday 18:00 The modern-day Return to Zion in the Negev as mirrored in the endeavours and vision of Yeruham in light of the Jewish sources

Ian Black

Ian Black is a fellow of the London School of Economics Middle East Centre. He worked for the Guardian for 36 years as Middle East editor, Diplomatic editor, European editor and Jerusalem correspondent. His book, "Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017", was chosen as a book of the year in 2017 by the Financial Times, Economist and Sunday Times.

Monday 16:00
Monday 16:00 2020: the year that changed the Middle East?

Deborah Blausten

Deborah is a rabbi and part of the clergy team at Finchley Reform Synagogue. She holds a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MA in Education and Technology from UCL and is a former Limmud conference programming co-chair. Off the bimah she collects rare sneakers, and serves on the executive board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Tuesday 18:00
Tuesday 18:00 Is 2020 a turning point in how Jewish communities function?

Derek Bloom

Derek Bloom grew up in Islington and Finchley. He still uses the Haggadah given to him in 1958 by North London Shul in Lofting Road before the shul closed down and its Victorian building was demolished. He commenced work as an accountant in 1966 aged 16, and before this year ends he will be 71 and amazingly still working full-time.

Monday 11:00
Monday 11:00 "Invisible City" A landscape of sound at Willesden Jewish Cemetery

Kira Blumer

Kira is the CEO of Tzedek. She is from Calgary, Canada, where she worked with Jewish youth through Hillel, BBYO, and Jewish camp. She moved to London in May 2017, where she has continued in the Jewish nonprofit sector, expanding from youth engagement to Jewish social responsibility and international development April 2020.

Tuesday 17:00
Tuesday 17:00 Charity Starts at Home, or Does It? Poverty, a pandemic, and why you should care about people you've never met.

Inbar Bluzer Shalem

Inbar is a rabbi and Executive Director of Rashut Harabim-Jerusalem Forum for Jewish Renewal Organisations. An ordained rabbi from Israel's Hebrew Union College, she holds a BA in economics and two MA's- in pluralistic Jewish education from Hebrew University and in "Humanitarian Affairs" through a joint program of Israelis and Palestinians.

Tuesday 20:00
Tuesday 20:00 Rashut Harabim as a Pluralistic Hub for Jewish Entrepreneurship in Jerusalem

House of Board of Deputies

The Board of Deputies of British Jews is the 260 year old, democratically elected representative body for the UK Jewish Community. The Board of Deputies is the first port of call for Government, the media and all others seeking to understand Jewish community interests and concerns.

Monday 16:00
Monday 16:00 Deputies Limmud Social!

Carolyn Bogush

Carolyn has been a Limmud participant and volunteer since 1994, and is Co-Chair of the trustee board. She is Vice-Chair of the Union of Jewish Students, and was Chair of her synagogue, and a trustee and volunteer at several other Jewish charities. Carolyn is an Organisational Psychologist supporting leaders and teams in reaching their potential.

Saturday 19:00
Saturday 19:00 A Limmud tribute to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt”l
Monday 10:00
Monday 10:00 In conversation with Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party

Shana Boltin

Originally from Melbourne, Shana works as a children's occupational therapist. A coffee, Ottolenghi and Yiddish enthusiast, Shana has volunteered across many community organisations including Limmud, and more recently set up a partnership minyan in the NW6/NW2 area. Her yearly Limmud highlight is DJing with her Challah Back Girl buddy, Libby.

Monday 21:00
Monday 21:00 Challah Back Girls

Jeremy Borovitz

Jeremy Borovitz served in Ukraine as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2010-2012, and then as a JSC fellow for the JDC in Kyiv. He studied at Pardes and worked for Moishe House as the European Director of Jewish Education. Jeremy received Semikha from Rabbi Daniel Landes and is the Director of Jewish Learning for Base Berlin/Hillel Deutschland.

Sunday 13:00
Sunday 13:00 Theodosius of Rome and the eternal suspicions of the diaspora

Amanda Bowman

Amanda Bowman is Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and chairs the Defence Division that focuses on the defence of Jewish freedoms, rights and security, specifically all forms of antisemitism, racism, anti-Israel extremism and bigotry. As a Deputy for The Hampstead Synagogue since 2012, she was Chair of BODSA (the Board’s Social Action Group) and its first Gender Equality Champion before being elected Vice-President. Outside of the Board, Amanda specialises in communications, responsible business and international development working with multinational companies and international not-for-profits.

Sunday 13:00
Sunday 13:00 The Threat to Jewish Religious Freedom in Europe

Amy Braier

Amy Braier is director of Pears Foundation, a major philanthropic foundation which focuses on understanding, engagement and wellbeing, investing around £20million in a wide range of organisations and causes. Amy is a former trustee of Limmud and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and is currently vice chair of the Miscarriage Association.

Monday 15:00
Monday 15:00 Sustainable fundraising during COVID-19 and beyond

Kenneth Brander

Kenneth Brander is President & Rosh HaYeshiva of the Ohr Torah Stone network of 30 educational institutions; leadership development programs; advocacy, outreach & social action initiatives. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, ordination from YU & a 2nd ordination from Machon Puah & haRav Mordechai Eliyahu in medical ethics & reproductive technology.

Tuesday 17:00
Tuesday 17:00 My Egg, My Husband, Her Womb, Whose Child? Artificial Insemination, Four Parent Babies, Posthumous Paternity and Surrogate Motherhood through the Prism of Jewish Law

Dina Brawer

Dina Brawer holds a BA in Hebrew & Jewish Studies, University of London, an MA in Education & Psychology, Institute of Education, and Semikha from Yeshivat Maharat. She founded JOFA UK and produced #YourTorah podcast, with over 180,00 downloads to date. Dina lives in Boston and is Director of Recruitment and Admissions for Maharat.

Monday 16:00
Monday 16:00 Our House, in the Middle of the Street

Naftali Brawer

Naftali Brawer, is the Neubauer Executive Director at Tufts Hillel, the University's Jewish chaplain and a professor in the Judaic studies program, where he teaches Jewish mysticism.

Sunday 17:00
Sunday 17:00 The uses of desire: from illicit to Divine love

Erica Brown

Erica Brown is the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor at The George Washington University. She is the author of twelve books and has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books. Her daily podcast is "Take Your Soul to Work."

Monday 19:00
Monday 19:00 "Boredom is so interesting: a Jewish perspective on monotony during COVID"

Ben Brownson

Outside of my day-job as a Chartered Accountant, I am a keen volunteer within the Community. Most recently, I have become an Ambassador of the Jewish Volunteers Network. In addition, I am Chairman of Golf at Maccabi GB, an Executive Member of Manchester Maccabi Community & Sports Club, and a member of the UJIA Si3 Advisors Committee

Sunday 11:00
Sunday 11:00 How do we keep this amazing year for volunteering ongoing?

Stephen Bush

Stephen Bush is a British journalist, political editor of the New Statesman and chair of the Board of Deputies Commission on Racial Inclusivity.

Monday 11:00
Monday 11:00 Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community

Leah Bushkanets

Professor, Head of the Department of Foreign Languages in the Sphere of International Relations, Institute of International Relations, Kazan Federal University, Russia, Member of the Chekhov Society (Russian Academy of Sciences), Member of the Guild of Literature Scholarships (Moscow), Executive Director of the «Cultural Diplomacy Foundation»

Tuesday 13:00
Tuesday 13:00 Spotlight on Limmud FSU Volga-Urals: Russian Facebook, between fiction and non-fiction

Georgina Bye

Georgina is the chief executive of Mitzvah Day, which brings people of all faiths and backgrounds together through Jewish-led social action. Georgina has worked and volunteered for a range of Jewish organisations and is a passionate community builder, feminist, foodie and bibliophile.

Tuesday 18:00
Tuesday 18:00 Is 2020 a turning point in how Jewish communities function?

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