Philadelphia will soon join the more than 40 communities across the globe that host Limmud learning festivals. More than 70 top-ranked, nationally recognized Jewish authors, artists, educators, philosophers, journalists, rabbis and scientists will share their knowledge with new and seasoned Jewish learners on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 at the Gershman Y and University of the Arts. LimmudPhilly, which is sponsored locally by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Gershman Y, welcomes participants of all ages and denominations who seek a connection with Judaism and one another.
"Providing engaging, dynamic Jewish educational experiences is one of Federation's highest priorities," said Federation President Leonard Barrack, who expressed enthusiasm in partnering with the Gershman Y to bring the Limmud experience here. Barrack stated that Limmud and Federation share "a common commitment to creating collective and communal experiences through which individuals strengthen and develop their Jewish identity."
Limmud strives to create collective and communal experiences for Jewish men and women to help strengthen and develop their Jewish identity.
Participants will explore Jewish history, text, art, culture and life through lectures, workshops, group study, films, meditation and yoga. The festival begins on Saturday, Feb. 21, with registration beginning at 6 p.m., and Havdalah at 7:15 p.m., followed by classes until 11 p.m. Following the classes will be a late-night party for all participants. The learning marathon continues on Sunday, Feb. 22, with registration at 7 a.m., followed by sessions from 7:30 a.m. through 6 p.m.
Children ages 3 to 10 will have their own opportunity for Jewish learning adventures.
Young Limmud programming, including art, music, dancing and even a clown, will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Gershman Y from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The price is $54 per adult, $36 per person for young adults ages 19 to 30, and $18 for children and teens 18 and younger. Kosher snacks and lunch on Sunday are included in the registration fee.
Limmud — the Hebrew word for "learning" — is a grass-roots, global Jewish experience that has its roots in the United Kingdom. Twenty-seven years ago, a group of British Jewish educators put together a weeklong program on a university campus originally designed for Jewish professionals.
This program has now become an annual event, engaging some 2,500 Jews of all ages, denominations and backgrounds in discussion and celebration of their shared Jewish heritage. Last year's Jewish festival featured more than 350 presenters, with more than 900 sessions on a broad spectrum of topics.
In 1999, Limmud was exported to Australia. In rapid succession, Jewish communities in Holland, Toronto, Paris, Lithuania and Hungary hosted such programs.
Over the past three years, the number has skyrocketed.
Limmud has reached more than 30 communities around the world, including Ashkelon, Israel; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Yalta, Ukraine; and Khabarovsk, Russia. Within the United States, Philadelphia joins New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Denver as a host city for the Limmud experience.
One of the key principles behind Limmud is that everyone is a student, and everyone can become a teacher. Presenters do not receive honorarium; instead, they are rewarded for their contributions by the opportunity to learn from others.
If you would like to become a LimmudPhilly Jewish learner, call 267-235-4083 or register online at: www. limmudphilly.org.