Five-day Limmud festival gets underway in Birmingham

Thousands of participants from 23 countries will attend talks, dance sessions, concerts and more


The Limmud festival has officially begun today, with over 2,500 participants from 23 countries due to attend the five-day event in Birmingham.

Festival-goers will be able to choose from more than 1,000 sessions covering a wide variety of issues within Judaism, including feminism, LGBT rights, the relationship between the Orthodox and Progressive movements, Israel, the Holocaust and antisemitism.

Other choices for attendees include dance sessions, concerts, a Beit Midrash programme and talks on Jewish history and geography.

In an interview with the JC, Anna Lawton and Abigail Jacobi, the co-chairs of the team organising this year’s event, said: “There is definitely an academic conference element to it, and the learning is world-class and central to the programme, but there are some people who attend who won’t go to any sessions that could be called academic.

“The learning is still learning, but the learning may come from food sessions, dance sessions, spoken-word poetry, social experience, the conversations they have around the dinner table.”

Up until this year, the event had been described as a “conference”, with the shift to describing it as a “festival” taking place this year.

“For us, ‘conference’ was starting to feel a little but stuffy”, the co-chairs said.

“We felt we needed something to represent that we’re talking about street food, bar experiences, drag queens, poetry, theatre, a kids’ programme, a family programme.

“We’re talking about something that’s so much bigger.”

Three journalists from the JC will be covering the festival, posting features and news stories on the JC’s website and providing updates on social media on all that’s going on.

The full Limmud programme can be viewed here.

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