Merseyside’s first Limmud day was a sell-out success, with 500 people attending the event at Liverpool’s Hope University on Bank Holiday Monday. Almost 40 sessions covered topics from genealogy to Yiddish swing and Rabbi Zvi Solomons of Princes Road Synagogue complimented organisers on “the amazing mix of superb speakers”.
A major attraction was the appearance of Gottfried Wagner, great-grandson of composer and Nazi favourite Richard Wagner, who talked about his family’s antisemitic legacy. Other Limmud highlights included Jonny Geller on Jewish humour; Michael Swerdlow — director/producer of the Chicken Soup and Scouse documentary — on “From bimah to Broadway”; and singer Neshama Carlebach on the life and music of her father Shlomo. Local Labour MP Louise Ellman, Limmud founder Clive Lawton, Eric Moonman and Rabbi Norman Zalud were also among the speakers. For the youngest participants, a creative-writing session for children was led by award-winning author Alan Gibbons, who helped them pen their own Jewish horror story. Books, Israeli jewellery and Dead Sea products were on sale at the “shuk”. With many popular sessions happening simultaneously, Mr Lawton observed: “You missed far more than you heard.” Liverpool Limmud chair Malcolm Turner praised the “brilliant” organising committee, “who will serve this community so well in the future”. In a Sunday night curtain-raiser at St George’s Concert Hall, “Music and Maloney” featured Yiddish song, Ms Carlebach and Peter Maloney, TV presenter, “Scouseologist” and popular after-dinner speaker.