New Legacies in the Making – Vibrant Communities, Vibrant Limmuds

Published: 
March 8, 2015

Soource: eJewish Philanthropy

 

To celebrate Limmud’s 35th year, eJewishPhilanthropy is offering a look into Jewish communities around the world, through the eyes of Limmud volunteers. Limmud, the global grassroots Jewish learning movement which was founded in the United Kingdom in 1980, is today in 80 communities and 40 countries. This installment focuses on Limmuds in Jewish communities with ancient roots in central Europe which had been under Nazi occupation followed by Communist domination and are today seeing a renaissance – Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Poland.

 

Limmud Keshet Bulgaria

Today Limmud Keshet has become the biggest Jewish community event.

 

Families that live across the country choose Limmud Keshet for their reunion and get together for six days. Three generations come to Limmud to welcome Shabbat together. Others clean an old synagogue in the city of Samokov as a part of the Tikkun Limmud project. People from all around Bulgaria, who are otherwise not too involved in their Jewish communities, attend because they know that their perception of Jewishness is welcome. Even the Board of the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” has meetings during Limmud Keshet, as it is the one place they are certain everyone will be there.

 

From September 1-6, 2015, we will be holding the 10th Limmud Keshet in Bulgaria, and for this dream-come-true, I say:

 

Thank you to the 600 people who come every year and will continue to be a part of Limmud Keshet, to participate, learn and teach each other.

 

Thank you to the 70+ volunteers who make Limmud Keshet the successful experience that it is.

 

Limmud CR-SR

Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993. Jews have deep roots in both countries, arriving in what is now the Czech Republic in the year 995.

 

Despite a long, often fraught history, the Czech Republic’s 3,000 registered Jews – 1,400 in Prague alone – are focused on the future. The Czech Jews behind the launch of Limmud Czech Republic-Slovak Republic (CR-SR) have already seen how Limmud contributes to that future.

 

Attending Limmud CR-SR became the thing to do. People wanted their kids to spend time with other Jewish children. People wanted to learn, to spend Shabbat with others, to spend both meaningful and leisure time with friends, and to get a taste of Jewish communal life. And, people came to find their place on the Jewish map.

 

The next Limmud CR-SR is fast approaching, April 29-May 3, 2015. Forty volunteers are already deeply involved, either as presenters, children’s program facilitators, or cultural coordinators. Interest is huge, expectations high, and the energy – overwhelming. Wish us luck!

 

Limud Keszet Poland

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), active in Poland for a century, introduced Limud Keszet Poland in 2008 to nurture the post-Communist Jewish rebirth by bringing together people of various Jewish identities, opening new possibilities in terms of Jewish engagement, and allowing Jews in Poland to express their Judaism in whatever way they are comfortable.

 

What makes Limud Keszet Poland so special is the fact that this volunteer-led event is able to draw Jews of all ages – from 6 months to 90 years; of all denominations and traditions – from Orthodox to Progressive; and speaking various languages – Polish, Hebrew, Yiddish and English – together for a weekend of fun and learning.

 

With more than 100 lectures and workshops led by renowned scholars, artists and rabbis, as well as everyday Jewish community members, there is something for everybody. From arts and crafts workshops for children to cooking classes to discussions on Jewish philosophy and Tanakh, at Limud everyone shares their areas of expertise.

 

Beyond learning, Limud Keszet Poland is also a unique place for community members to socialize and really get to know one another. Participants come from all over Poland, including large population centers and smaller cities. They eat and pray at the same table, sharing in ways that ordinary life might never allow.

 

Limud Keszet Poland then is an ideal vision of what we as a Jewish community would like to be – united and sharing in the joys of practicing and learning about our tradition and planning for a better future.

 

Read the entire post at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Apr. 02, 2015
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