Why do we love Limmud?

Last Updated on Monday, 8 March 2010 08:09 Written by bryfy Monday, 8 March 2010 08:01

There’s this world wide craze called Limmud and if it isn’t already there it’s probably coming soon to a place right near you. If you didn’t know any better you could be forgiven for assuming that Limmud has  always been a part of Jewish communal life. But the reality is that Limmud is relatively new, especially in the US.

A bit of background about Limmud “the original” (from the reputable online Jewish encyclopedia – Wikipedia):

Limmud is a British-Jewish educational charity which produces a large annual winter conference and several other events around the year on the theme of Jewish learning. Limmud it is not affiliated to any strand of Judaism and markets itself as open to “anyone interested in Jewish learning.” Founded in 1980, Limmud has a very small staff and is largely run by volunteers. Limmud comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to learn,” and is a name meant to reflect the goal of the organisation. The model has spread to several other countries and there are now locally-run Limmud events in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Colorado), Canada (from Toronto), Israel, Australia, Germany (Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt/M., Munich), Hungary, Russia, South Africa and elsewhere.

So what is it about Limmud that is attracting thousands of Jews from around the world to attend? Allow me to offer my top 10 reasons as to why Limmud is so succesful – and in doing so suggest that many of these reasons should apply to other many more other endeavors of the Jewish (educational) community:

10. Everyone’s a learner, and everyone’s a teacher.
9. There is no pretentiousness – your name is your name and not preceded by your title.
8. It’s cross/trans/post/multi denominational – after all who really cares about these labels?
7. The good presentations, of which there are always many, don’t treat the audience if they’re stupid.
6. As much learning takes place at meal times, in the hallways and in the bathrooms as it does in the sessions.
5. It’s affordable – and when it’s not – there are always ways to volunteer to lessen the cost.
4. It’s cross generational – in a respectful, equalizing type of way.
3. People smile at you, welcome you, and are genuinely happy to see new faces and old faces alike.
2. You can choose what you want to learn and who you want to learn with – and no one is judging you for the choices you make.
1. It’s fun!

The question for all of us should be – how do we build on these principles of success to build more, enduring and sustainable forms of Jewish education and experience?

So, if you’ll be in Atlanta this weekend (March 14th), stop by and join in the celebration of Jewish learning that is Limmud Atlanta+Southeast 2010

Stop by and say hi – I’ll be learning there and teaching a couple of sessions as well:

Love, Tension, Humor and the Holyland

What We Know and What We Think We Know About Jewish Teenagers

By the way, I have no vested interest in Limmud – in fact I spent one of my most miserable weekends ever at an infamous Limmud anomaly – through no fault of Limmud’s I might add. I also believe that many changes can be made to make many of these conferences even better. But I believe in the concept of the organization, the conferences have tremendous impact and I have extreme admiration for the few employees and many hundreds of volunteers that make the Limmud conferences possible all around the world.

Does anyone want to share their own Limmud experiences – wherever you are?


  1. rf   |  Monday, 08 March 2010 at 9:27 am

    I have also witnessed people going to Limmud to soak up that post-denomination, multi-generation Community and not go to any learning, and they aren’t judged for that either.

  2. E   |  Tuesday, 09 March 2010 at 12:11 am

    I would LOVE to attend Limmud, but I’ve never seen any evidence of it being affordable at all…even people who offer to present/volunteer have to pay, and for a student it’s completely impossible.

  3. Benji Lovitt   |  Tuesday, 09 March 2010 at 2:19 am

    Have only heard great stuff….waiting to attend my first one. Too bad I’m in Israel (feel the irony).

  4. The Limmud Top Ten | eJewish Philanthropy: The Jewish Philanthropy Blog   |  Sunday, 04 April 2010 at 2:15 am

    […] Why do we love Limmud? […]

  5. larry limmud   |  Wednesday, 14 April 2010 at 12:42 pm

    @benji there are 2-3 limmud in Israel- galil, arava and one more..

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