Limmud Conference 2015

2048 - the state of Israel at 100

Sergio Della Pergola

Demographic, cultural and economic trends deeply and constantly transform Israeli society. Some of the longer term implications of these trends are predictable, some are not. We portray a picture of the likely range of developments, and discuss their meanings for Israel's future.

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Becoming frum - how newcomers learn the language and culture of Orthodox Judaism

Sarah Benor

Based on Benor’s book, this session discusses the diverse strategies ba’alei teshuva (newly Orthodox Jews) use to adopt Orthodox culture. Some take on as much as they can, as fast as they can. Others avoid certain practices or create hybrid self-presentations, like gefilte fish with Indian spices or Yiddishisms combined with contemporary slang.

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Catch the Jew!

Tuvia Tenenbom

Human Rights 101 - does the term human rights include all humans? Yes. Are Jews human? No.

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From Skyfall to Spectre - new Bond Midrash

Raphael Zarum

Director Sam Mendes’s 007 is more personal than all previous Bonds: we have an origin story, identity crises and a plethora of biblical imagery. From the Jew who inspired Fleming’s Bond to the newly-released Spectre, we will uncover the disturbing Jewish themes of the spy of spies. Be shaken and stirred.

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Give 'em a foot and they'll take a festival (2 of 3)

Clive Lawton

This series will look at each of the three pilgrim festivals - oddly called the 'three foot festivals' - of the Jewish year and discover, inter alia, that at least two of them do in fact involve a yard! Second in the series is the poor relation - Shavuot.

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Give 'em a foot and they'll take a festival! (1 of 3)

Clive Lawton

This series will look at each of the three pilgrim festivals of the Jewish year - oddly called the 'three foot festivals' - and discover, inter alia, that at least two of them do in fact involve a yard! First up - Pesakh.

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Give 'em a foot and they'll take a festival! (3 of 3)

Clive Lawton

This series will look at each of the three pilgrim festivals of the Jewish year - oddly called the 'three foot festivals' - and discover, inter alia, that at least two of them do in fact involve a yard! Last but by no means least - Sukkot.

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Hebrew at American Jewish summer camps - ethnolinguistic infusion

Sarah Benor

At most American Jewish summer camps, programmes are conducted primarily in English, but the environment is infused with Hebrew signs, words for places and activities, songs, and cheers. Based on hundreds of interviews and visits to 36 camps, this talk discusses how and why camps use Hebrew and what other educational institutions can learn from it.

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How bad is it? What’s really going on with antisemitism in Europe?

Jonathan Boyd

2015 has been a tough year for Europe’s Jews. Terrorist attacks, rising antisemitic incident counts, and political uncertainty have all helped to raise anxiety levels across the community. But what is really going on? Taking a fresh and balanced look at existing data on a range of issues, we’ll try to get a little perspective.

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How does someone develop ethically? Emmanuel Levinas on the failure of education

Stephen Innes

One of Levinas's primary concerns as a philosopher was to present a model of education which must ensure that there will never be another Auschwitz. With his concept of the ethical, Levinas not only offers a deeply compelling model of education but equally exposes the failure of education to humanise us, despite its promise to do so.

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How kabbalah became part of modern European philosophy (3 of 4)

Paul Franks

Kabbalistic ideas such as self-contraction, negativity and the human role in tikkun olam are central to post-Kantian European philosophy. How did this happen? Today - the end of enlightenment and the kabbalistic sources of classical German philosophy.

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Jews did what? - combating racism in Jerusalem

Hagai Agmon-Snir

We hear a lot about violence in Jerusalem, yet did you know that there is more tolerance there than in Tel Aviv. We will hear about initiatives to promote tolerance, such as the effective dialogue used to help people deepen their binary perceptions, and we'll discuss how this can impact the Jewish community of Great Britain.

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Lessons from space in tikkun olam

Shoshana Weider

Several images from the Apollo era of space exploration helped inspire the environmental and conservation movements. In this session, we will examine the power of space exploration to motivate and unite humanity. We are all living together here on spaceship Earth ... we must learn to get along and look after our home.

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Limmud Breakfast Show - Monday 28th December 2015

Daniel Anderson, Hayden Cohen, Andy Finkel, Keith Kahn-Harris, Clive Lawton and Raymond Simonson

Join Hayden Cohen as he chats with the best and brightest of Limmud, rounded off with some fantastic entertainment. Today's guests are Raymond Simonson, Clive Lawton, Penelope Solomon, Daniel Anderson, Keith Kahn-Harris and Rosa Doherty rounded off with a song from Andy Finkel.

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Limmud Breakfast Show - Wednesday 30th December 2015

Hayden Cohen, Deborah Kahn-Harris, Arieh Miller and Jonathan Wittenberg

Join Hayden as he chats with the best and brightest of Limmud, rounded off with some fantastic entertainment. Guests were Jonathan Wittenberg, Ethan Schwartz, Deborah Kahn Harris, Isi Tenenbom, Simon Rocker and Arieh Miller. There was also a one on one interview with Limmud caterer, Celia Clyne.

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Literature and spirituality - R Aharon Lichtenstein’s legacy

Jeffrey Saks

R Lichtenstein zt”l (died summer 2015) was the most articulate spokesman and role model for the value of the humanities, and literature in particular, in achieving goals advantageous to the religious and spiritual personality. An appreciation and survey of his teachings on the importance of engaging with the 'best that has been thought and said'.

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My personal journey

Manny Waks

I will discuss my journey from being a victim of child sexual abuse within the ultra-Orthodox community in Australia, to being a Jewish leader and advocate.

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Rabbis who abuse

Elana Sztokman

An exploration of the seeming explosion in the number of rabbis caught out as sexual abusers. Why does this happen, why is it happening now, and what does it mean for the rest of us?

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Readings from 'Forty years in the wilderness - my journey to authentic living'

Yiscah Smith

In 1971 I visited Israel, a young woman trapped in a male body. I left proud! Yet, I sensed that I would be challenged by my own Judaism to live an authentic life. I journeyed for 40 years in a spiritual wilderness. In 2011 I returned to Israel, now no longer trapped in the body of another. Aren't we all challenged to live an authentic life?

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Sabina Spielrein - sex object or woman of genius?

John Launer

Sabina Spielrein is best known as Carl Jung's patient and mistress, as played by Keira Knightley in 'A Dangerous Method'. John Launer shows that much of the movie version is a myth. Instead, he has discovered a thinker who was marginalised for trying to link psychoanalysis with feminism and biology, and was forgotten after her death in the Shoah.

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Shamanism, the trance, and Jewish prophets

Sharonah Fredrick

This session will focus on the work of anthropologist Michael Harner, and his observations regarding Andean shamanism and spirituality, and compare it with the most shamanistic of all Jewish prophets, Daniel. We will contrast the ideas of the vision quest, the symbolic death, and dream revelation to understand these parallel ideas of enlightenment.

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Start-up nation – innovation led by visionaries

Izhar Shay

The Israeli high-tech industry has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. What do professional investors in Israel consider to be innovations worth funding? Who are the people who drive innovation in the 'start-up nation'? Izhar Shay describes the Israeli high-tech ecosystem using charts, pictures, video and stories drawn from his own experience.

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Suicide - a halachic history

Joe Wolfson

The Jewish understanding of suicide had been relatively fixed since talmudic times when R. Moses Sofer (1762-1839) completely rewrote the book. We will focus on the halachic-legal texts that preceded him and R. Sofer’s own writings, to look at this most delicate of topics as an example of halachic change and continuity in the context of modernity.

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The Baroque synagogue - materialising the spiritual

Gordon Higgott

Exuberant, illusionistic, rhetorical, grand in scale, and charged with symbolic meaning - how did Jewish communities in the 17th and 18th centuries use the language of Baroque architecture in the design and decoration of their synagogues? We will consider lost and hidden splendours of Jewish heritage in Italy, Poland, France and northern Europe.

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The fallacy of limitlessness

Raphael Zarum

Are there any limits to our comprehension? Why are the talmudic rabbis fearful of rainbows? What does Judaism think is unknowable? 'A man’s got to know his limitations', remarked Dirty Harry – so we’ll look at the Jewish sources that reveal to you what they are.

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The rabbi and the scribe - between Rav Kook and SY Agnon

Jeffrey Saks

Rav Kook, the mystic and rabbi, and SY Agnon, the Nobel laureate author, shared a special relationship, each plumbing the depths of Jewish modernity, and the religious meaning of expression. What drew them together, how did they differ, and how did they view a new, authentic Hebrew literature as part of the national revival?

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The spiritual journey to authentic living (2 of 3)

Yiscah Smith

Delving into Rav Kook's teachings from 'Orot HaKodesh'. Exploring how to honour the soul's 'still small voice' and to heed its authentic and unique urgings. Learning Rav Kook's overall approach to what it means to live a life of holiness, freedom and authenticity.

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Was Abraham the first jihadist?

Daniel Anderson

Referred to as 'Abraham our father', he is seen as a paradigm of virtue. Humble and known for his loving-kindness, he is the man who rediscovered God in a pagan society. However, he also smashed idols, waged war with four kings and was even prepared to sacrifice his son to God. The uncomfortable question, then, is - was he also the first jihadist?

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What future for European Jews in the face of rising antisemitism?

Jonathan Boyd

Communal activists from five European communities will discuss how antisemitism and the prospect of immigration is impacting their communities, and how they see the future of these communities. Featuring Jonathan Boyd, Jane Braden-Golay, Nidra Poller and Michael Whine.

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What's the worse sin you can do?

Raphael Zarum

We will analyse different hierarchies of sin to discover what really matters. Is it worse to eat non-kosher or not go to shul? To not give charity or to consciously lie? To get angry or to drive on Shabbat? Torah, Mishnah, Talmud, Maimonides, Rabbenu Yonah and Rav Lichtenstein will all be employed in our study.

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