Having been active in the Jewish community for several years, I’ve known about Limmud for some time but have never had the opportunity to participate in it. One day, through the grapevine, I heard about Mexico’s “Dia Limud” and with ROI’s GO LEARN Micro Grant, I was able to attend Mexico’s 2nd Limmud conference.
I was excited to attend my first Limmud conference as I imagined a judgement-free setting, where I wouldn’t feel guilty for not having enough Jewish knowledge, where I wouldn’t feel compelled to casually mention that I was Jewish by birth and not through conversion or adoption (and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not my story). Most of all, I was excited for Jewish learning outside of Torah study.
The first thing I learned on my way to the conference was that despite the fact that I speak Spanish fluently, I was still unable to pass for a local. I learned this lesson when I realized that I got ripped off by the taxi driver - he charged me twice the normal rate (I suppose I was also lacking in street smarts)! Arriving at the conference, I realized that the venue was a Jewish day school, and I thought “how appropriate!” I imagined most Limmud conferences taking place at hotels or convention centers catering to corporate events. However, the great thing about having Limmud at a Jewish school was that Judaism was everywhere. Each classroom had a map of Israel, writings in Hebrew, etc.
The first session I attended was “Dare to Turn Your Dreams into Reality.” I don’t recall how Judaism was tied into the session but the speaker, Jose Sevilla, began with some thought-provoking comments such as “What do you do; for whom do you do it?” and “Fear does not exist in the present.” After having us look deep within ourselves to evaluate our fears, Jose provided us with resources that could enable us to succeed: life hacks, several books, and links to free online universities. Jose provided us with so much material and resources that it seemed as if there wasn’t enough time to cover everything in one session. Nonetheless, my first Limmud session was informative, inspiring, and motivating - off to a great start!
After a few more sessions, we broke for lunch. During lunch there was a live latin-gypsy-cumbia musical performance of Simja Dujov, a fellow ROIer and apparently, as always, Simja knew how to get the party started and had nearly everyone busting a move on the dance floor before sessions resumed again. This was really one of the highlights of my day.
To reflect on my day at Limud Mexico - I felt that although sessions were certainly educational, I also benefited in other ways. For example, I had the opportunity to meet and engage with other Jews, in Spanish - something I rarely get to do in New York. It was also interesting and a lot of fun trying to decipher Hebrew written phonetically in Spanish: “Hannukkah” is “januka” and “L’Chaim” is “Lejayim.”
Thanks to an ROI Micro Grant, I was able to attend my first Limmud conference and learn about the fascinating Jewish community of Mexico City.
Last but not least, I would be remiss if I did not mention my thanks to ROIer Isidoro Hamui for being an excellent host!