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20 March 2022 @ 10:00 – 17:00
We are excited to be back! Join Limmud Midlands on Sunday 20 March 2022 for our first opportunity to come together in-person as a Limmud UK community since the pandemic began.
The Limmud Midlands team of volunteers are from communities in and around the Midlands from Birmingham to Nottingham. We are working hard to bring a thought-provoking programme and exciting sessions to take you one step further on your Jewish journey.
View our full programme below.
Venue: Central Birmingham Location.
- Adult Price: £45 per adult
- Student 18+ (in education): £35 per student
- Teen (12+): £15 per teen
- Child (0-11): standard £6 per child*
*we do not have a separate young Limmud programme.
Volunteering: Interested in volunteering for Limmud Midlands? Email our team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any queries, please contact the Limmud Office at email@example.com
See our full programme of sessions and speakers. Start planning your day at Limmud Midlands.
Click here for our timetable of the day
AP TO DEYT – YIDDISH CONCERT
Ap To Deyt are a band named for the 1898 Yiddish Music Hall Song Boytchik Ap to Deyt, or Up to Date Young Man. Music-Hall songwriters were in the habit of taking hit songs of the day and changing their lyrics to be satirical and sometimes revolutionary. Ap To Deyt have been doing this for years but only recently realised it’s a Jewish tradition (why do you think Jews invented Purim?) Ap To Deyt will be doing a short set of some well known Jewish tunes with the words brought right up to date.
Ap to Deyt consists of GPs Elly Stanton and Naomi Adelson, psychiatrist Jordan Daniels, teaching assistant Hannah Stanton and sixth former (and music college hopeful) Alfie Weinberg. The band members all support local community choirs and orchestras including Kol Kinor, the BGSO, CBSO Youth Orchestra and Silver Shine Jazz Club.
ANN CONWAY-JONES – JEWISH JESUS, CHRISTIAN CHRIST: MISUNDERSTANDINGS, TENSIONS AND PARADOXES
For Jews, Jesus is a historical figure; and in recent years Jewish New Testament scholars have done much to elucidate his first century context. For Christians, Jesus is not only a historical figure, but also Christ, the second person of the Trinity, who identifies with and saves all humanity. Ann explores the misunderstandings, tensions and paradoxes which arise from this difference in perspective.
Ann is an honorary research fellow at the University of Birmingham, specialising in early Jewish-Christian relations and biblical interpretation. She has been involved in interfaith dialogue for over thirty years, and is Chair of Birmingham CCJ.
ANNIE LEVY & ALEX BROOKES – FROM THE KINDERTRANSPORT TO UKRANIANS AND AFGHANS IN CRISIS: 90 YEARS OF JEWISH COMMUNAL SUPPORT FOR REFUGEES.
The British Jewish community has a long and proud history of supporting people fleeing conflict and coming to this country to rebuild their lives after facing immense trauma. From the Kindertransport in 1938, to the Suez Crisis of 1956, to the Taliban takeover this past summer, to the recent invasion of Ukraine, our community has always been on the frontline, driven by our history and our values to extend a warm welcome.
We will explore almost 90 years of refugee support, focusing on World Jewish Relief’s historic role and their work today, including their groundbreaking refugee employment programmes in the Midlands and across the UK.
Annie researched humanitarianism in Afghanistan during the 20th Century at university, before working for RSY-Netzer. Lived in Rwanda as a Fellow at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), where she developed youth activities and informal education programmes for at-risk, orphaned young people, and supported students to run their own women’s empowerment initiatives. Now, at World Jewish Relief, she leads on storytelling, campaigning and advocacy, and building communal partnerships. She is particularly interested in supporting vulnerable young adults including women and displaced people, helping them to build sustainable livelihoods and independent lives.
Alex is part of the Fundraising and Communications team at World Jewish Relief and has over 20 years of partnership and programming experience working for a range of local, national and international organisations including the UN, the British Council and (what-was) the UK Government Department for Children, Schools and Families. Having spent time in the US, Israel and Russia, she is thrilled to be working for an organisation where all her interests combine! She is particularly interested in refugee issues and the belief that the lottery of someone’s birthplace shouldn’t dictate their future.
ARI SILBERMANN – THE ESSENCE OF THE HAGGADAH AND THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE
Join a journey of exploration from the Bible, the Talmud and modern Israeli writers which seeks to understand the basic currency of the Haggadah and why it is so crucial to the experience of Pesach. This text based shiur will offer up an answer to the basic question of questions at the heart of the Pesach and Jewish experience.
ARI SILBERMANN – SACRIFICING YITZCHAK: TRADITIONAL JUDAISM, SECOND TEMPLE SECTARIANS AND WHAT AKEIDAT YITZHCAK MEANS FOR JEWISH LIFE TODAY
Often associated with self-sacrifice, Akeidat Yitzchak offers a profound challenge to our belief in a loving religion. Join me as we delve into texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Second Temple writers and rabbinic traditions and unravel the deeper meaning our tradition has to teach us about the story, its message and what it means for us today.
Ari is a rabbi and grew up in Australia. He made aliyah some 17 years ago and served in the Combat Engineering Corps as part of the Hesder programme while completing the Chief Rabbinate Semicha programme. He holds degrees in business, education and Bible studies and is a PhD candidate in Bible at Bar Ilan University focusing on Second Temple biblical interpretation. He is currently the Mizrachi UK Shaliach in Manchester together with his wife and four children.
BEN OUTHWAITE – THE TOP TEN CAIRO GENIZAH MANUSCRIPTS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
It’s been more than 120 years since Solomon Schechter, Elkan Nathan Adler and others brought the manuscript treasures of the Cairo Genizah to the world’s attention. Their discoveries revolutionised the study of pre-modern Judaism and have thrown an entirely fresh light on Jewish life in the Middle Ages. This talk will take a look at the ten manuscripts that can rightfully be called the most significant discoveries from the Cairo Genizah and which have, arguably, changed the world.
Ben has been Head of the Genizah Research Unit in Cambridge University Library since 2006, where he has the responsibility of running a research team dedicated to the world’s largest and most important single collection of medieval Jewish manuscripts, the Taylor-Schechter Cairo Genizah Collection. Ben has a PhD in Medieval Hebrew from Cambridge University and has dedicated his career to delving into the discarded history of the Cairo Genizah manuscripts.
CAROLE SHAW – KEEP CALM AND KVETCH …. ALREADY
Her Majesty The Queen harbours a well-guarded secret. She finally reveals her all to the select Limmud audience, taking us on a riotous ride into hitherto unseen aspects of her life. You are regally commanded to join the singing, dancing Queen for tea, kikhlekh, freylekhs, SingalongaLiz and quiz. What are Charles’ and Philip’s real names? What do they do each morning? Awf with their kops to the losers! You won’t want to miss the UK’s answer to Mrs Maisel!
Carole, was raised in an Eastern European London Jewish family of serial joke-tellers and she started performing at 6 with shows for local children. Presenting solo musical comedy cabaret-style performances since 1992 at Edinburgh, Brighton, Boulder USA, Whangarei NZ, Perth & Adelaide Fringes, S Africa’s National Arts Festival, Limmud 2020-1, and in Yiddish at YIVO and in Germany. Soberly, a linguist with published research into the survival of Yiddish, a prospective History PhD candidate and local councillor (performance will give a clue to the party), and a keen amateur genealogist who has visited her family’s origin in Poland, Latvia and Ukraine.
CLIVE LAWTON – PURIM IS ALL ABOUT US
Purim will have just gone by, but before it is forgotten about for another year, Clive will explore why Purim is the one Jewish festival that absolutely speaks to us about our lives in 21st Century Britain. All the other stuff – wildernesses, slavery, Temples, Creation – is a bit beyond us but Purim could have been set in Birmingham 2022, not Shushan 5th/4th century BCE. Come along and find out why.
Clive, one of the founders of Limmud and former CEO, now works as CEO of the Commonwealth Jewish Council. His main role is as an internationally active educational consultant but he is also an NHS Appeals Chair, a regular lecturer on a wide range of topics at JW3 in London and writes and broadcasts regularly.
DANIEL CAINER – IN CONCERT
Smart, warm, funny and profound multi-award winning off-Broadway/Edinburgh/Limmud veteran Cainer is back with more unique stories-in-song. All the human condition is here, lovingly and intelligently depicted: brilliant rhyming, wordplay, great musicianship and haunting tunes you won’t forget. The Stage says ‘An evening with Daniel is pure pleasure’ and you’ll leave the concert with ‘a full heart and a head full of tunes you won’t forget’. The most fun you will have had with your clothes on since lockdown finished.
Daniel is a multi-award winning songwriter, storyteller, broadcaster, veteran of six off-Broadway runs, 15 years at Edinburgh Fringe and concerts all around the world with his ever evolving Jewish themed stories-in-song. He also writes music for TV, theatre, radio and synagogues. AKA ‘The Comic Bard of Anglo Jewry’ (The Jewish Chronicle).
DANIEL RANDALL – CONFRONTING ANTISEMITISM ON THE LEFT: ARGUMENTS FOR SOCIALISTS
What are the historical origins of antisemitism on the left? Is it just an expression of antisemitism in general manifesting on the left, or something distinct? What is its relationship to anti-Zionism? And, crucially, how can it be overcome? Writer and activist Daniel Randall will give a talk summarising the themes of his recent book, followed by an opportunity for questions, comments, and discussion.
Daniel is a railway worker, trade union representative, and socialist activist based in London. He is a member of the Labour Party and a supporter of the revolutionary socialist group Workers’ Liberty. He has written extensively about antisemitism, especially on the left; his book Confronting Antisemitism on the Left: Arguments for Socialists was published by No Pasaran Media in September 2021.
DAVID LAWSON – “ESCAPING FROM THE FIRE WITH A TORAH SCROLL” – THE CZECH SCROLL STORY
A drawing of Yehuda Bacon’s father, murdered in The Holocaust, leads to the story of Ostrava, a miniaturised history of central European Jewry, from birth and flourishing to destruction in less than 150 years. Mysteries surround the story of the Czech Scrolls, including at least one from Ostrava but what is known is remarkable.
David researched Ostrava and its Jewish community in collaboration with the Jewish Museum in Prague and has written and lectured on the subject. The books he has co-authored have been published by Vallentine Mitchell and the book about Eva Erben’s life as a child during the Holocaust, Escape Story, was published by Sharron Publications
DAVID PRAGER – FROM LODZ TO THE MIDLANDS AND NORTH WEST ENGLAND. THE LIVES AND MUSIC OF THREE OF THE GREATEST POLISH CANTORIAL TENORS TO GRACE UK SYNAGOGUES, WOLF LEWI, MOSHE PREIS AND HERMAN BORNSTEIN
In mid-20th century Britain, the musical quality of synagogue services reached an impressive level, in part due to the highly talented cantors who escaped persecution in mainland Europe. Fortunately, for three such Lodz-born tenors who landed in 1930s England, sound recordings of all of them exist. Some of these recordings were made here but others were made in Continental studios and survived the Second World War. Join this session to hear their biographies and beautiful voices.
David was born in Manchester and is a chemist by profession, he retired following a prestigious career in BP Chemicals and its successor companies. He has studied the recordings, films, music and biographies of the leading cantors of the world and is a co-editor of the Jolles Encyclopaedia of Synagogue musicians.
FRANK MILLER – OSAMA AND THE BAGEL
Why is a bagel called a bagel? What’s wrong with supermarket bagels? What is the connection between bagels and the future of Christianity, the king of Poland, the Ottoman Empire, New York’s Twin Towers and Osama bin Laden? This fascinating talk will reveal all.
Frank has worked in commerce and academia, from major engineering projects to tutoring in science, technology and maths. He has a particular interest in Middle Eastern and European history, including that of Israel, plus interest in Jewish life and Judaism. He is a member of Nottingham Hebrew Congregation.
IZZY POSEN – “FOR THEY HAVE NOT CHANGED THEIR GARB”: 21st CENTURY MALE CHASSIDIC ATTIRE
From furry shtraymls to stark black/white contrasts, Chassidic males are highly distinguished in their garb. In this session we’ll explore in intimate detail the meaning, history and dynastic particularities of male Chassidic attire.
Izzy is a native of the Chassidic community. He researches and presents about the Chassidic community, its culture, language and history.
JAKOB DE JONGE – FROM GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS TO THE DUTCH RESISTANCE
Jakob was a small businessman in Weener, North-East Germany whose life turned upside down in early 1933 when he entered his first two concentration camps in 1933-34, KZ Borgermoor and KZ Lichtenburg, on trumped up charges. His mistreatment was featured in the first books describing the first KZ’s in 1935. He was again arrested in 1938 after Kristallnacht and sent to KZ Sachsenhausen. After his release he escaped with his family to The Netherlands and went into hiding, supporting the resistance.
Jakob is the son of two holocaust survivors who survived in hiding in The Netherlands. His mother has not said much about her experiences, but his grandfather was the subject of a book, written by a German historian. Jakob was born in the Netherlands and lived in Israel and Turkey, before settling in Solihull with his family. He runs a small business supplying products to artisan cheese makers.
JENNIFER LANGER – THE SEARCH
Jennifer will be sharing readings from her newly published poetry collection The Search, with commentary and discussion about Jewish refugees escaping the Nazis and contemporary refugees. The Search is an exploration of the poet’s complex sense of identity as the daughter of German Jewish refugees and her sense of otherness which is dialogically engaged with contemporary refugees. Born of the history of loss, she snatches at fragments to create a narrative, yet confronts current tensions arising from the diverse facets of her identity. Engaged in the attempt to resist negative representations projected onto herself, she struggles to define herself.
Jennifer is founding director of Exiled Writers Ink which develops and promotes the creative literary expression of refugees and migrants and advocates human rights through literary activism. She is editor of five anthologies of exiled literature including If Salt has Memory: Contemporary Jewish Exiled Writing. She has a doctorate in cultural memory and exiled literature by Iranian Jewish women and is a SOAS Research Associate. She regularly writes and speaks about migration, exile, memory and identity. Jennifer’s parents were refugees from Nazi Germany; the sole survivors of their families.
JOHN MANN – TACKLING ANTI-SEMITISM TODAY
This session will cover antisemitism online, in football, and at universities, and will explore how we can spread best practice.
John was appointed to the House of Lords in 2019 after being an MP for almost 20 years. He has continued to fight against Antisemitism and discrimination. Last year, he become Ambassador for Kick It Out, an organisation tackling discrimination in football and is chairing their Antisemitism working group.
JOSHUA COHEN – JEWISH ANTI-FASCISM AND THE HOLOCAUST 1945-79
Fascism was resurgent in Britain even as news of the Holocaust emerged. In 1944, the openly fascist British League of Ex-Servicemen and Women held a rally in London’s Hyde Park. How did Jewish antifascists respond to fascism after the Holocaust? When have they felt able – or been allowed – to invoke the genocide against their fascist adversaries? Taking in organisations such as the 43 Group, 62 Group and Board of Deputies, this talk considers the extent to which the genocide has shaped postwar Jewish antifascism.
Joshua’s PhD was entitled ‘British Antifascism and the Holocaust’ and he is now working on turning his thesis into a book, for publication with Routledge’s Fascism and the Far Right series.
KEITH KAHN-HARRIS – CHOOSE YOUR JEW: THE RISE OF SELECTIVE ‘ANTI/SEMITISM’
How did antisemitism get so strange? Today, we are witnessing the birth of a new kind of antisemitism – what I call in my new book ‘selective anti/semitism’ – in which philosemitic love for ‘good Jews’ combines with antisemitic hate for ‘bad Jews’. Come and learn how to fight back against selective love and hate.
KEITH KAHN-HARRIS – WHAT DOES A JEW LOOK LIKE? PHOTOGRAPHING BRITISH JEWS
Since 2019, Keith Kahn-Harris has been collaborating with Rob Stothard – the photographer who took the most widely-used stock photo of British Jews – to produce a photographic portrait of our community. In this session Keith will discuss the challenges of the project and reveal some exclusive extracts from the forthcoming book.
Keith is a senior lecturer at Leo Baeck College and runs the European Jewish Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. The author of seven books, his eighth, ‘What does a Jew look like?’, a collaboration with the photographer Rob Stothard, will be published in April 2022.
MARGARET JACOBI – ESAU, AMALEK, JOB AND US – THE POWER AND PITFALLS OF MEMORY.
We are told to ‘Remember what Amalek did to you.’ But when did the conflict with Amalek begin and when will it end? What has Job got to do with it? And what are its resonances today? We will look for answers in biblical, rabbinic and contemporary sources.
Margaret is the rabbi of Birmingham Progressive Synagogue and studied Medicine in Birmingham and worked as a medical researcher before studying for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She has a PhD in Talmud and is active in interfaith dialogue. She is also a magistrate. Her father was a refugee from Nazi Germany and she is inspired by his legacy to work for refugees and social justice.
MARION KINSHUCK, RUTH JACOBS, SANDRA LIPKIN – WOMEN AND KADDISH – PERSONAL REFLECTIONS
In this session three women from the Orthodox tradition will share the reasons why they decided to say kaddish – the prayer recited by a person in mourning – and how the process affected them spiritually and emotionally. Participants will be invited to share their own experience of kaddish. Both women and men are welcome to attend this session.
Marion lives in Birmingham and is part of the Limmud Midlands team. This is her first time presenting in person at Limmud and she is hoping it won’t be her last!
Ruth has been involved in Birmingham’s Jewish Community life for more than 35 years. A committed Zionist, she founded the West Midlands Friends of Israel, and is also a keen advocate for interfaith work having served on the committees of the Birmingham Council of Faiths, Council of Christians and Jews, the Highgate Interfaith Forum and Nisa Nashim West Midlands.
Sandra lives in Birmingham. She has attended several Limmud conferences and this is her first time presenting in person.
MIKE LEVY – GET THE CHILDREN OUT! UNSUNG HEROES OF THE KINDERTRANSPORT
The grocer, the teacher, the soldier, the Quaker… Mike Levy shines a light on the courageous deeds of twenty-two women and men who transformed the lives of the Kindertransport and other refugees. In 1938, when the Government refused to act and those around them turned a blind eye, these heroic individuals took it upon themselves to orchestrate one of the greatest lifesaving missions the world has ever seen.
Mike is a professional researcher for the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, educator, critic, playwright and journalist. He holds a fellowship in Holocaust education from the Imperial War Museum and is a frequent educator on the ‘Lessons from Auschwitz’ programme. In 2012 Mike was awarded the In Memoria medal by the Polish government for his history play ‘The Invisible Army’. In January 2022, Mike’s book ‘Get the children out! Unsung heroes of the Kindertransport’ was published by Lemon Soul, in aid of the charity Safe Passage.
NAOMI ROWE, HELENA DE REYBEKILL, MIMEY REI, GIDEON SASOON & AC BAKER – LGBTQ+ JEWS AND THE COMMUNITY
This will be a panel discussion where a group of LGBTQ+ Jews explore their intersecting identities through the lens of community. We will be searching for commonality as well as exploring our unique relationships with the wider Jewish community and our personal connections to Judaism.
Naomi (she/they) is an active member of the local Jewish community and Midlands Limmud co-chair. Professionally they are a HCPC registered Music Therapist, Head of Access for Birmingham Pride, a social activist, and performer. Naomi is a published author on the subject of intersectionality, with a focus on the disabled LGBTQ+ community.
Gideon (any pronouns) is an Autistic ADHD, LGBTQ+ individual who is based in North London. They are a regular shul goer, have attended bi community events such as bicon for many years and are a passionate gamer with connections to the LGBT+ gaming scene.
Helena De Reybekill (she/they), Mimey Rei (they/them), AC Baker (they/them)
NATHAN ABRAMS – STANLEY KUBRICK: NEW YORK JEWISH INTELLECTUAL
In this illustrated session, we’ll explore the legendary director’s New York Jewish background and how it influenced such classic films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. No experience necessary!
Nathan is a regular and popular Limmud presenter. He is professor of film at Bangor University in north Wales where he lives with his two kids and two dogs.
NORU TSALIC – RUSSIA AND UKRAINE: AN ISRAELI VIEW
On the face of it, it would seem that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has nothing to do with Israel. But my presentation will dig a bit deeper, reveal some original analysis and, hopefully, give you fresh food for thought… As usual, I will also leave time for questions and comments.
Noru is Jewish by identity, Israeli by nationality, Romanian by birth, British by current residence, ardent Zionist. A former IDF soldier, serves as UK envoy for the Israeli org Reservists On Duty. Writes for Times of Israel and Politically-incorrect Politics and spoken regularly at Limmud and internationally.
SIMON PRAIS – GEMATRIART® – CHROMATIC ART OF THE TORAH
“Perceive the whole Torah in a single glance and discover the inspiration behind a select range from my works of Gematriart. A visual presentation interwoven with an explanation of the Gematriart process.” Gematriart is an inspiring new art genre and an innovative approach to Torah communication – the fusion of Torah and colour science. Simon’s project to analytically translate every word of the Torah into the universal language of colour resulted in the creation of a range of intriguing artworks, inspired by a succession of fascinating coincidences.
Simon is Technical Director of LUMESCA Group Ltd, through which he has a diverse professional experience in colour communication and graphics manipulation solutions for creatives and industry. He has an art college training with master’s degree in visual communication. This, combined with his Jewish biblical knowledge and interest in the development of the Hebrew alphabet, is evident in such works as his 2013 redesign of Birmingham Central United Synagogue’s internal furnishings and artwork. Gematriart® – Chromatic art of the Torah, blends Simon’s diverse areas of expertise through a unique mix of creative and technical approaches.
STEPHAN COLLISHAW – SAVING THE LOST SHTETL: THE WRITING OF GRIGORY KANOVICH
In 1941, at the age of 8, Grigory Kanovich was forced to flee his childhood home following the German invasion. When he returned, five years later, his shtetl, and indeed all the shtetls of Lithuania had been destroyed. In his writing, Kanovich took on the task of recreating these lost shtetls, immortalising the lost world of his childhood. Despite the antisemitism of the post-Stalin Soviet Union, Kanovich’s novels were a big success and to this day they continue to enchant readers and theatre audiences.
Stephan is a British author who spent a year living in Lithuania, that country consequently serves as the backdrop for his first novel The Last Girl. The Guardian offered an enthusiastic assessment of Collishaw’s work, calling The Last Girl ‘astoundingly complex for a first novel’. He has published four novels. In 2016 he set up a small press to publish novels from Lithuania. Devilspel, by Grigory Kanovich, published by Noir Press won the 2020 EBRD Literature Prize.