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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Limmud’

Sharon to be Commemorated in Belarus, Birthplace of his Parents

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The Limmud FSU (Former Soviet Union) announced Monday that the upcoming Limmud FSU conference in Belarus this summer will feature a special event in memory of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whose parents were born in Belarus. The event will take place in Sharon’s father’s hometown city of Brest, and Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad, are expected to be invited.

Officials from the Belarus and Israeli governments will attend, and approximately 700 Russian-speaking young adults from across Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states are expected to attend.

Sharon’s parents were Shmuel Scheinerman (1896–1956) from Brest-Litovsk and Vera Scheinerman (1900–1988) from Mogilev; both towns are in what was then Belorussia and is now Belarus. The family immigrated to mandatory Palestine in 1922 in the wake of the growing persecution of Jews in the region by the local Communist authorities.

Montreal Limmud Conference Cancels Sessions Led by Pro-Palestinian

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

A Montreal Jewish learning festival has canceled two sessions that would have been led by a pro-Palestinian activist who calls for Birthright Israel’s abolition.

Le Mood, a Limmud conference to be held this Sunday and funded by the local Jewish federation, pulled the panel titled “Where are all the radical Jews?” and another on the history of Montreal’s Jewish garment workers, both to have been facilitated by Sarah Woolf.

Woolf this spring helped launch and promote a website called Renounce Birthright that seeks to “educate young Jews about the connections between Birthright [Israel] trips, and the ongoing colonization and occupation of Palestine.”

Woolf and her co-facilitator on the “radical Jews” panel, Aaron Lakoff, wrote on Lakoff’s blog: “Ultimately, we’ve been banned from speaking at Le Mood because of our personal politics (or whatever Le Mood and Federation CJA perceive our respective politics to be), not based on the content of our panels, which were reviewed, accepted, and scheduled months ago.”

The two added that they are “deeply disheartened to learn that Le Mood has fallen victim to the very behaviours and attitudes it had promised to avoid: stifling, censorial, top-down and centralized notions of what Jewishness can and should be.”

Federation CJA’s president and CEO issued an Oct. 31 statement in which they said the session was canceled “because it involved speakers who challenge, actively and publicly, the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”

Noting that Le Mood includes “those that are critical of Israel’s politics, decisions and actions,” the Federation CJA leaders said they had “exercised our right, as any organization would be expected to do, to draw the line at funding and providing a platform, whether directly or indirectly, to those who deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.”

Pushing the Boundaries of Outreach

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

One of the most difficult challenges of the 21st century was made very clear by the recent Pew study on American Jews. The fact is that except for Orthodoxy – Jewry is shrinking. I need not go into the statistics. They have been discussed ad infinitum by just about everyone. The shrinkage is due to a combination of factors mostly having to do with the lack of any significant meaning attributed to Judaism by those devoid of a religious education. Young Jews even with the highest of ethical values see no value in the religion of their forefathers. They see themselves as ethical human beings – same as anyone else with ethical values. They see all religious ritual adding nothing to their sense of ethics.

The question arises – what do we do about that? As Orthodox Jews who understand the value of the Torah and the importance of following Halacha – how can we change this new secular Jewish paradigm?

There are those who would answer: Nothing! There is nothing we can do to significantly change the attrition away from Judaism the masses are undergoing… that there has been attrition one way or another in every generation. Although they might wish things were different, they say it is virtually impossible to influence the minds of the vast majority of Jews whose secular – even ethical values were formed by a society devoid of Torah.

They will therefore say that we Orthodox should instead turn inward and work on ourselves and that the future of Judaism rests with us. While I understand that mentality and would certainly agree that we all need to work on our ourselves – I strongly disagree that we ought to ignore the rest of Jewry. We are not talking about a few Jewish souls here. We are talking about the vast majority of them. Fully 90% of all American Jewry is not Orthodox. Are we simply to just write them off? I don’t think so.

Thankfully neither do all the outreach organizations. They have had much success in reaching out to our secular brethren. But it is still a drop in the bucket. We Orthodox remain only 10% of the total. We may be growing, but a lot of that is internal because of our higher birth rate. The amount of successful outreach is still relatively small.

One way to reach more people is by interdenominational interaction. The problem with that is that some of the greatest religious leaders of the 20th century – including Rav Soloveitchik – have forbidden doing that. They forbade religious interaction of any kind because it would grant them tacit recognition. We cannot be seen to recognize movements that legitimize heretical thought. I understand and appreciate that.

Which is why the actions of the well intentioned Yeshiva Chovevei Torah are so problematic. Outreach is what motivated them to host leaders of Reform and Conservative Judaism at a round table discussion during the installation of their new president, Rabbi Asher Lopatin. That certainly does seem to legitimize them. Both in the eyes of the leaders themselves and in the eyes of those who attended the session. While I support YCT’s intentions, I believe they have crossed a line here. As much as I would love to see cooperation between the denominations towards the goal of outreach that we all share – it cannot be at the expense of undermining our theology.

I know that YCT argues that such interactions do not validate heterodox movements. But it is impossible for those who attend to not see it that way – watching them all discuss their religious views as equals at the same table.So even though I agree with their motives, I disagree with what they did. That leaves the problem unsolved.

But there are other ways that we can participate with them and at the same time not be seen to recognize them. One way was when Yosef Reinman, a right wing Orthodox Rabbi from Lakewood, co-wrote a book with Amiel Hirsch, a Reform rabbi he had befriended… and then went on a book tour with him.

He was immediately – roundly criticized by the Agudah Moetzes for violating the ban on interacting with heterodox rabbis. They asked him to stop the tour and withdraw his book. He acceded to their requests but lamented the fact that he was now impeded from making the inroads he had started making with Reform Jews he would have otherwise never met.

Peru Limmud Debut Draws Hundreds

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

More than 600 participants attended the first Limmud educational experience in Peru.

Limud Peru on Sunday in Lima featured40 sessions for the 450 adults and 160 children and teens on hand. The children took part in workshops on Judaism and the environment, soccer and dancing.

The Jewish Association of Peru, Leon Pinelo College, Hebraica and Hanoar Hatzioni partnered to produce Limud Peru under the sponsorship of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Limmud International. More than 15 Jewish-owned companies and businesses underwrote the daylong event.

Limmud Jewish learning events have now been held in more than 65 communities and 29 countries worldwide.

Among the sessions offered in the Peruvian capital were “Superman, Federman, Spiderman: the Jewish influence on Comics” and Argentine-Israeli Gabriel ben Tasgal’s “Connecting with Israel through its Humor.”

Peru’s Jewish community of 2,500, which is centered in Lima, features three synagogues and a Jewish day school with nearly 400 students.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/peru-limmud-debut-draws-hundreds/2013/10/16/

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