WINNIPEG — Torah and Israel, Jewish life in modern day Africa, music, dance and exercise are among the topics and activities to be featured at Limmud Winnipeg’s second annual event Feb. 25 and 26 at the Asper Jewish Community Campus.
Limmud is a grassroots movement that promotes Jewish learning in a variety of ways. Started in London, England 30 years ago, it has spread all over the world in the last 10 years. There are now Limmud programs in Toronto; several American cities; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Buenos Aries; Cape Town, Johannesberg and Durban in South Africa, as well as throughout Europe and Israel.
“We have an incredibly exciting and amazing lineup of speakers,” says Faye Rosenberg Cohen, planning director at Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and one of the Limmud Winnipeg organizers.
Confirmed speakers from out of town include a trio of prominent rabbis. Rabbi Barbara Aiello is Italy’s first woman rabbi and first non-Orthodox rabbi. Although American-born and trained, she traces her ancestry on her father’s side to southern Italy. She has a particular interest in working with children and adults with special needs.
Rabbi Saul Berman is a longtime associate professor of Jewish studies at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. He also teaches Jewish law at Columbia University and he was the first fellow (2009-2010) of the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization at the New York University law school.
Rabbi Moshe Edelman has been the director of leadership development for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism since 1992 and is in great demand as a teacher and lecturer.
Benyamin Cohen is a journalist and author – and the son of a rabbi – who spent 52 weeks attending a variety of American churches, an experience he described in a book called My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of his Own Faith. He will be talking about how the spiritual journey deepened his appreciation for Judaism.
David Epstein is a teacher who has taught all over the world. For the past 10 years, he has been working with the Abayudaya, Ugandans who practice Judaism.
Eli Rubinstein is a Jewish storyteller from Toronto, national director of March of the Living, and the spiritual leader of Congregation Habonim. Michael Soberman, Rubinstein’s fellow speaker from Toronto, is UIA Federations Canada’s director of national initiatives for the next generation.
Shlomo Weinish, a former shaliach to the Minneapolis area, will speak about entrepreneurship in northern Israel and Arab-Jewish business partnerships in northern Galilee.
Jackie Stromer is an American emergency medical technician who will speak about his volunteer work with Hatzala, volunteer Jewish emergency teams in New York.
The arts will be represented by dancer and choreographer Moy Covalin, the former artistic director of the Fetsival Aviv in Mexico City; Argentine-born Sephardi Cantor Ramon Tasat, who is active in the Washington, Maryland area, and the chassidic Moroccan-born Israeli-American rapper, Brody.
The event will also include a number of local speakers. For a complete list of presenters, go to limmudwinnipeg.org.
Rosenberg-Cohen reports that about 350 Winnipeggers registered for the inaugural Limmud Winnipeg last year. “We are hoping to have at least as many, if not more, in attendance this year,” she says.
Among the communal sponsors for Limmud Winnipeg are the federation, the Chesed Shel Emes, Congregation Etz Chayim, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, Herzlia Adas Yeshurun Synagogue, Rady JCC, Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education and the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University.