It took the combined efforts and support of the American Jewish Joint Jewish Distribution Committee (JDC) along with Limmud International and Kehillat Beijing to provide the framework for China’s first Limmud.
The event brought together nearly 100 participants, most of whom were from Beijing, but there were also delegates from Shanghai, the Philippines, Tokyo, Australia, Hong Kong and India.
The actual planning of Limmud China was a joint effort by members of Beijing and Shanghai Jewish communities, but in a very Limmud way, many others were swept up in the fervour and transformed into volunteers themselves.
For most people, this was their first Limmud experience and the bar has been set rather high by this “taster” mini-Limmud. The backdrop of the Great Wall of China near the retreat site will also be a tough one to top.
Clive Lawton, one of the founders of Limmud and now its senior consultant, said: “Limmud China pulled off the double challenge brilliantly. It was not only utterly Limmud-y, but also wonderfully Chinese. The American Joint has proved a wonderful partner in this and I look forward to more Limmud developments in Asia with great optimism and expectation.”
Next week, more than 400 young Jews from Moldova and the southern region of Ukraine will come together in the city of Chisinau, for the first Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) conference in Moldova. More than 22,000 Jews live in Moldova, 15,000 of whom in the capital, formerly known as Kishinev.
In the best Limmud tradition, among the presenters will be prominent historians, scientists, artists, politicians, businessmen, educators and musicians from Israel, USA and the FSU. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister of Moldova, Vlad Filat.
Matthew Bronfman, chair of the International Steering Committee for Limmud FSU, will visit Ataki in Moldova, where the Bronfman family lived before his grandfather, Samuel Bronfman, left for Canada at the end of the 19th century.