By Eileen Levinson, founder of Haggadot.com. Last year Eileen got to attend the UK Limmud Conference, thanks to her ROI Micro Grant. In this blog she lists the top reasons why YOU should attend Limmud.
If you've never been to Limmud, you're missing out. And if you have been to Limmud, you're still missing out if you have yet to experience the mothership of them all - Limmud in the UK. Although each conference around the world has it own unique flavor, none can match the colossal energy of the original Limmud Conference (or just "Conference" as the locals say), held every December at University of Warwick.
Last year I was fortunate to receive an ROI Micro Grant to attend. This year's conference is December 23-27 and there's still time to sign up. You should go. Here's why:
1) Connect with ROIers from across Europe (and across the globe). Let's face it, everyone in ROI is awesome, but you couldn't come close to meeting all of the awesomeness at the conference in Israel. With about a couple dozen ROIers in attendance, this is your chance for extended facetime with amazing members of the community.
2) Make surprise connections. There's a dining room at Limmud where you file into long tables, filling each seat consecutively - sometimes having meal partners assigned at random. One night I shared a meal with ROI's own PR guru Sara Averick, Eliot Cowan (with whom I had a total design & branding brain jam), and serendipitously, President and CEO of Hillel, Wayne Firestone. Wayne & I talked about our mutual heritage in South Florida and how we can enrich the Jewish engagement programs through mentorship. My advice, talk to everyone - you never know what you'll have in common.
3) Experience Jewish Art. (Or stage an impromptu event on your own) With a slew of artists & musicians performing, there's plenty to satisfy your creative spirit. And if you too are a creator of art, go ahead and share some of your own work. I did. Here's ROIer Caylee Talpert filling in one of my Commandment Scorecards with a bingo marker.
4) Lose a few pounds on the Limmud Diet. And by "pounds" I mean currency, and by "diet" I mean beer. Although the food in England may be controversial, the beer is definitely legit. Every night, a Limmud pub opens up in the central building where Limmudniks young and old frollick the night away.
5) Boogie. There's a disco. There's Israel dancing. Enough said.
6) Fall in love… with Jewish learning. While it is rumored that a courtship or two may have emerged from Limmud, the sessions are the real attraction and will absolutely blow your mind - over and over again. Some of my favorite moments included a discussion of the Occupy Movement in London (and whether "Occupy" itself is effective naming); Alicia Jo Rabins's studies of women in the Torah, follow by her own midrashic melodies; the provocative feminist art of Jacqueline Nichols; and JDOV talks, a TED-inspired series of short lectures hosted by the ever-compelling Shoshana Boyd Gelfand.
So, if you're craving the ROI-energy of intense learning, forging meaningful connections, and having an overall great time - this conference is for you. And if you're not craving any of this, well, then I have no suggestions at this time.