Thank you for partnering with Limmud during our 40th year. In a year which paralysed so much, we did not waiver in our mission to transform Jewish communities around the UK and the world. Limmud continues to bring diverse groups of people together to learn, entertain, collaborate and connect, broadening the horizons of Jewish people across the globe. Limmud Festival 2020, our largest ever event, was the culmination of 40 years of the power of volunteerism, innovation, and cross-communalism.
We have stopped second-guessing what will happen in 2021, but one thing we do know, is that many in our community will face greater financial hardship. The ‘Zoom revolution’ of 2020 has given us new tools to remove barriers to participation. As Limmud redoubles its efforts to bring people together in the coming year, your ongoing support is critical to our commitment to create accessible and inclusive communal gatherings.
We are proud to share these highlights of Festival 2020 with you.
Festival was fabulous – making me feel so much less isolated during the pandemic and truly part of the Jewish community. I was so sad when it ended! L, UK
Festival was powered by a core volunteer group of some 20 students and young professionals from around the UK, who, despite never meeting in person, gave up months of their time to produce our ground-breaking, virtual event. During Festival, a cross-generational volunteer force of 50 participants, supported by Limmud bursaries, encapsulated the empowering culture at the heart of Limmud. An incredible 2,000+ hours of event-volunteering ensured Festival was a seamless, joy-filled gathering.
A record-breaking 5,000 people joined Limmud Festival 2020, making it one of the largest Jewish gatherings in Europe. 528 presenters made us laugh, cry and think, and participants joined the event from 46 countries, including hundreds from the US and Israel, and one from the United Arab Emirates.
From our oldest participant (101 years old) to our youngest (10 weeks old), and even a participant born on the last day of Festival, Festival catered to, and united, people of all ages. Care home residents were able to join us for the first time due to our accessible format.
Without physical constraints, the team dreamt big and brought in wish-list presenters from across the globe, and big names who came to Limmud for the first time.
2,500 participants tuned in to hear Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer – the most senior political leader ever to join Festival, tackle the thorny issues confronting Jews and Israel in a welcoming, non-judgmental, respectful environment.
Other highlights included; Mick Davis and Maajid Nawaz on the Uyghur crisis; Sara Wolkenfeld, of the Sefaria online archive of Jewish texts, exploring the challenges and opportunities of unlocking ancient Jewish texts via new media; and Kenneth Brander sharing rabbinic insight into Jewish law and artificial insemination.
Many sessions explored the social, spiritual, communal, historic, and religious impact of Covid-19.
“Limmud 2020 was one of the best virtual events I have attended in 2020. The sessions were interactive and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.” C, Mumbai, India
13 sessions were devoted to Limmud@40; looking back at the 40 years of Limmud so far, envisioning the next 40 years, and brainstorming forthcoming Limmud innovation.
Beyond Bible, Talmud and Chavruta, presenters looked at global climate change, interfaith initiatives, and LGBTQ+ issues. Live walking tours of Spanish Jewish heritage sites appeared alongside an open mic night and workshops on cooking, dancing, singing and creative writing.
“Limmud being online lowered the barriers to my attendance, and an added bonus was that it became a shared experience with non-Jewish family members. After this year’s experience I would certainly consider attending in person”. A, UK
YOUNG AND TEEN LIMMUD
Our young and teen participants received resource kits featuring books, activity sheets and music. Houses were festooned with bunting to bring festival spirit into families’ homes. Maureen Lipman entranced children and charmed parents with her reading of an old Yiddish folk tale, and Shira Kline’s concert raised the roof, with our youngest participants singing and dancing in their living rooms.
“The kids sessions meant we had several hours of the day when they were ‘taken care of’ so we could watch some of the great talks. Limmud gave us a brilliant structure for three days when all other structures have been cancelled!” L, London, UK
AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
750 of this year’s Limmudniks joined us from 46 other countries. Our International Hub featured 32 outstanding educators representing 13 Limmud communities from around the globe. The 19-session programme offered insights into a wide array of subjects, including Jewish Argentine film, Russian Facebook, and the issues faced by Jewish communities in East Asia.
“We really appreciated being involved and connected despite the distance. We certainly would not have been able to come to Festival under normal circumstances this time around. Zoom is indeed one of the silver-linings of these crazy times.” B, Cambridge MA, USA
Our online Welfare Hub provided support for our participants’ wellbeing during the event. In partnership with Jewish mental health charity JAMI, Jewish Women’s Aid, Jewish Care and the Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service, we hosted popular drop-in sessions where participants could chat and connect with each other, while professionals from these critical communal services were on-hand to signpost confidential sources of further support.
“In the midst of the challenge of everything this year has thrown at us, Limmud has brought people together, shared stories, experiences, skills, ideas and hope for the future.” M, London, UK
“When I made aliya in 2002 my yearly Limmud attendance ceased. Thank you for this incredible, affordable programme. The excitement that I remember of Limmuds past was as real this year as it ever was.” J, Jerusalem, Israel
SAVE THE DATE
Limmud Festival will be back in 2021, from Friday 24 December to Thursday 30 December. We hope to see you there!
In this most challenging year you, together with every one of our supporters and volunteers, made it possible for thousands of Limmudnikim, old and new, to connect and learn; to enjoy so much of what our wonderful Jewish world has to offer and to continue to take one more step on their Jewish journey.