Leading figures in the Jewish and Christian communities will be heading to Manchester next month as the city holds its annual Limmud conference.
Jewish Leadership Council CEO Simon Johnson and the Board of Deputies’ Jonathan Arkush and Laura Marks are among a strong line-up of presenters, according to the programme which was released this week.
The Church of England’s Manchester dean, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender is to take part in a session on interfaith joined by Jewish and Muslim panelists.
Israeli journalists Oren Kessler and Elon Perry will tackle whether Anglo-Jewry is relevant to Israel, while locally-based participants will include Bury MP Ivan Lewis.
The one-day cross-communal event will take place on February 2 at Manchester College’s Fielden Campus in the south of city. Previous years have seen the numbers of participant range from 250 to 300, but organisers hope to exceed the 400 who attended in 2013.
Rebecca Lewis, who co-chairs the event with Kathy Knowles, said: “Our really big news is that we will be sold out in the next week or so. We have over 350 people already and we expect to outstrip last year.
“The interfaith event is a highlight and the Israel discussion is going to be very lively.
“The day is jam-packed and, if anything, we’ve overcooked the programme. Something new is a special-needs panel, which will shed light on what is still a taboo topic within our community, with panelists from educational and medical backgrounds.”
Presenters will include Dinah Brawer, the UK ambassador for the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, and former Lord Mayor of Manchester Afzal Khan.
Manchester Limmud follows the main Limmud conference which took place last month in Warwick and attracted over 2,600 people. It was notable for the participation of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and nine other United Synagogue rabbis, who attended despite criticism from some elements of the Orthodox establishment.
The Orthodox contingent at Manchester will include Rabbi Dovid Lewis of South Manchester Synagogue in Bowdon and Rabbi Dan Lieberman of Allerton Hebrew Congregation in Liverpool.