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Get texting - Limmud style

    War and peace may shortly be starting on BBC but Limmud has got there first.

    After all the recent debate over military intervention in Syria, there could hardly be more apposite theme for the chavruta - one to one - study programme at Limmud conference than that of war and peace.

    For an hour each day of the conference you can explore the subject with a study partner, looking it at through the prism of classic Jewish texts.

    Judaism is not a pacifist religion – all that biblical smiting, for instance. But the prophetic vision of peace transcends any martial heroics. Can ancient texts still have anything useful to say to us today?

    Chavruta sessions will revolve around a 100-page collection of extracts, mainly from the Torah and Talmud, which has been complied by two of the organisation’s volunteers Hannah Skolnick and Joe Grabiner.

    You can spend an entire conference, of course, without going anywhere near a Jewish text, and simply concentrate on film, music, politics or food or dance.

    But one of the features of Limmud over the years is the way it has opened text study up to a wider audience. You can revisit Bible stories you may not have looked at since childhood – this time with a sophisticated literary or philosophical approach.

    The chavruta model also illustrates something else, that Jewish learning is not a solitary pursuit but part of a shared social and cultural experience.

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