LIMMUD 2010 @ Berlin: Learning to appreciate


LIMMUD – Learning to appreciate, appreciating to learn
Another Limmud festival took place in Berlin at the Lake of Werbellin from May 13 to May 16, 2010, in a peaceful and inspirational, yet not quiet atmosphere. How can it be quiet when hundreds of Jews are hoarded together and supposed to try their argumentational talents, learning and teaching skills on other Jews?…
It’s a small tradition for Germany’s Jewry which has started a couple of years ago. The first festival took place in 2006 and since then it has spread over Germany’s metropoles  -Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich. Limmud’s home for major events is and remains Berlin.
Let’s talk tacheles. Besides the nature, the bright green leaves of the high trees all around the camp, the big windy lake of Werbellin and the hundreds of Jewish participants from all four corners of Germany (are there such?…):
What were you supposed to receive from this festival of Jewish Learning and Jewish thought?
Definitely a taste of diversity. Religious streams of all kinds were represented my workshop leaders and participants. Languages being spoken and switched in a naturally beautiful manner from workshop to person every day anew. Meetings with people from all kind of origins, social fields of profession and education. The director of Simon Wiesenthal  Center Efraim Zuroff was seen in a number of workshops and prayer services; Barbara Spectre of Paideia (Sweden) switched from participant to teacher roles within a couple of hours; rabbis could be found at each possible corner; writers and musicians mixed with worried “Yiddishe mamas”, grandmas and a number of children were waiting impatiently in front of the dining room…
What else: enough room for activity and new things to learn: A literature discussion on Yehuda Amichai’s poetry, on Thomas Mann’s attitude towards Jews, John Lennon and Jewish liturgy, Israeli culture and Iranian Jews, spiritual and down-to-earth exercises, rabbis, philosophers and – why not – donkeys – all this and much more musicality, creativity and visuality had its place at Limmud.
Strengthening of identity. Obviously. The spirit of modern Jewishness was hovering over the camp. To say it more simply, I believe that each Jew could really. find his/her place in Limmud. You don’t need to demand for high challenges or Talmudic-Yeshivish upgrade of knowledge to experience Jewishness.

And as a conclusion from that all:
You were made to appreciate the subjects around you and your own way of learning and understanding. This time I had to share this experience with people being mostly older than me by a cuple of decades. Next time I wish to experience it with more younger people, simply because they have a whole life of learning in front of them and I believe  we need more security in ourselves and what we learn and understand. This is what Limmud gives to its participants as well.
This all wouldn’t be possible without organisatory and logistical help.

Thank you, Limmud team, for the variety of workshops: You’ve provided the food for our souls and haven’t let us run dry.
For your service, catering etc.: I felt as if in a hotel. I believe you were spoiling us who we came to Limmud.
For your organisation: You’ve proven to me that not all hope is lost when it comes to Jews organising mass events. Everything well-planned so that one culd really relax and enoy.
Thank you for spending your time and power on this great event.
Much gratitude and wishes of strength and inspiration to Toby Axelrod, the initiator of Limmud. May your creativity be like a “ma’ayan hamitgaber” to you and us now and in future.

Perhaps I’m only an optimist, but I’m sure not to be the only one:
I believe that our job, the Jewish and the human one, is to find the blessing in each event we take part in.
Limmud in my eyes is about to learn to appreciate.





  1. Sophie Mahlo said,

    May 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Dear Isralike,

    Thank you for this beautiful article – I just wanted to correct two things that you´re writing: exists since 5 years now. The concept of Limmud actually exists for 30 years and was invented by a group of people around Clive Lawton. In 2005 someone in Germany decided to build up Limmud in Germany, invited Clive to Berlin and started to gather a group of people to build it up together. The first conference took place in Berlin in 2006, the second in Munich in 2007, the third at Werbellinsee in 2008, than two in 2009 (Munich and Werbellinsee), the sixth in Cologne in 2010 and now the seventh again in Werbellinsee, at which you took place. See you at Limmud Day Frankfurt on August 29th? Best, Sophie

  2. Majid said,

    May 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I was worried when I noticed that you didn’t sign in to your youtube account for more than three weeks. I was relieved to read about your active learning and experience of the world. Kudos to you!!

    • isralike said,

      May 24, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      Hey old Majid,

      you’re still checking my youtube logins regularily? I am rarely there, my IT capacities do not give me a possiblity to have some video updates there, means I am not really connected to my video work, so what should I do there?….
      How are you? Thanks for reading.

      • old Majid said,

        May 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

        Just keep the good work!! Don’t worry too much about youtube: to be honest, it’s a place for old, retired ppl like me to spend some time 🙂
        We (old ppl) tend to look back because life is behind. You, school children, however, look ahead. Here is a piece of advice as you go forward: when I was fifty-seven, I met a very strange woman in a cemetery. It was a dark and snowy night, and I was staring at one of those little angels placed on one of the graves. She said that she is the one buried in that grave. OMG!! You have no idea how it felt like meeting a “dead” person. She said that she liked me and that’s why she wanted to give me a piece of advice (which I’m passing to you now): She said, “do not worry too much a bout finding “the truth” because simply there is no such a thing. It’s a game and we (the living) are all stones. The players are those whom we consider dead. And they are making a lot of fun out of us.”

        Be well

  3. Zev said,

    June 9, 2010 at 8:42 am

    “Definitely a taste of diversity. Religious streams of all kinds were represented my workshop leaders and participants.”

    Let’s be honest:
    the diversity was definitely only a “taste”, which means – very limited.
    The majority of the participants had a strong reform/ secular leaning, the “streams” liberal ones – conservative, reform, renewal. Orthodoxy was nearly not represented.
    The reasons for this might be that Orthodoxy is learning in depth on a regular basis anyway and doesn’t have to meet once a year in the wilderness of the east (to then proudly announce this undertaking in all the media available 😉 ).

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