By Simon Rocker
December 23, 2013
A leading Jewish philanthropist asked me what the value of Limmud was: it could hardly compete with the sustained,in-depth study, say, of a university course.
Firstly, Limmud is a gateway for many people, opening areas of Jewish interest which they might never have thought of exploring before.
Secondly, some serious thinking goes on here: it might be sparked off by a particular lecture, or a chance remark made in a follow-up discussion, it may go on in formal classes, or outside in the bar. Partly, it is the result of the concentration of so many people from different walks of Jewish life in one place, but it is also due to the free-thinking atmosphere that is an integral part of the experience here.
Limmud is a celebration of diversity, but what happens outside the conference bubble? At what point does diversity lead to such fragmentation that the sense of common interest that binds communities together disintegrates altogether? That is one of the questions that Jewish Europe is wrestling with today.