The UK Jewish community is rightly proud of Limmud’s amazing array of activities throughout the UK. Perhaps less well known are the Limmud international events that have sprung up in the last few years, based on the UK model. These pluralistic celebrations of Jewish learning and culture are a credit to the British Jewish community and a testament to its vitality.
At the end of September, Limmud FSU held its first ever event for Russian-speakers in Israel; 1,450 Israelis from the FSU came to the Convention Centre in Ashkelon and spent two days learning and celebrating the very best of Jewish and Israeli culture with a unique Russian dimension.
Many Jews from the FSU are deeply alienated from traditional Jewish learning and ideas. This is a profoundly secular population which is not naturally drawn to Israeli (largely Orthodox) Judaism. Public efforts to engage this population have achieved very little and Limmud FSU both responded to, and created a thirst for, creative Jewish experiences. Teachers from the very secular to deeply Orthodox created learning opportunities for these new Limmudniks to encounter a richness of Jewish life on their own terms and with no fear of coercion. Limmud can be proud of this contribution to immigrant absorption. Michael Wegier Executive Director, Melitz Jerusalem, Israel