Highlights of LimmudBoston's eFest 2020

Question: (discussed by the LimmudBoston Board in June 2020)
Can we hold our Festival in November?

Answer: We don't think it would be prudent to meet in person,
but let's REZOOM online.

LimmudBoston Zoom 2021

"Limmud is amazing online. Loving this modality!"

"This was absolutely fantastic. I'm so glad Limmud was able to go forward this year even under the circumstances."

"What a terrific way to start the day!"

"Thank you WONDERFUL Limmudniks! You are truly a special group."

"I used to say LimmudBoston is one of the best days in Jewish Boston.
Today you can experience this from anywhere on Earth!"

"Applause, from around the world!"

"Aloha/Shalom from Honolulu."

"The plethora of choices was amazing and the quality of the presentations was excellent. It was such an inspiring, entertaining, and enjoyable day.
Well done to all the presenters and volunteers for creating such a fabulous and successful online festival!"

More than 350 individuals "gather" for eFestival 2020!

Rachel Korazim2020 will be remembered as the year we came together in those Zoomrooms, waiting and ready for the best program LimmudBoston could offer. There were sessions on almost every topic, from Sephardic cooking to Ethiopian Jews in Israel today, to photography, poetry, plays, music, humor, Broadway, SNL, post-election healing, racial diversity, raising transgender children and much, much more. We at LimmudBoston are thrilled with the many accolades and wonderful reviews we have received since November 15th.

Menachem performingTo bring everyone "together" in one space, this year's Welcome Gathering gave us the wonderful opportunity to learn from our scholar extraordinaire, Rachel Korazim, and enjoy the beautiful, uplifting music of Menachem Creditor.

Rachel Korazim concluded her teaching with a critical question for us all:

"Why can we not speak to each other?
My invitation for us today is to honor and respect people who are courageous enough
to raise their voices who have been hushed."

35+ Sessions Engage, Educate, and Inspire

A Session Sampling . . .

Jordan Schuster

In "From the Fair: Stories of Humor, Grace and Spirit," Jordan Schuster dazzled with his story of a day in NYC with his mom's Chabad rabbi. Was that actually the Rebbe's voice at Reb Schneerson's grave? Did that day's experience catapult Jordan to greater Jewish involvement and to ultimately becoming a rabbi? Great questions!

*  *  *  *  *

"All of us have to unpack the meaning of Torah.
We can’t do it in one hour, or even in an entire lifetime."

~ Menachem Creditor

Daphne Lazar Price

Addressing "Jewish Legal Approaches in the Midst of a Global Pandemic," Daphne Lazar Price provided a detailed overview of how the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County, NJ was the first to come out with a statement and protocols guiding activities of Orthodox Jews in their communities. From closing synagogues to advising against shiva minyans, from canceling simcha celebrations to keeping the mikveh open on an individualized basis, the rabbis employed halacha (Jewish law) as the basis for their decisions and in finding creative solutions. Daphne ended the session by posing this question: "After the Jewish community has made so many shifts, what will happen in terms of openness and creativity once the pandemic ends?"

*  *  *  *  *

Mimi Lemay and JacobWhat does a parent do when her two year old daughter tells her that she is a boy? Mimi's account of this journey beautifully detailed and celebrated her son's transition from assigned female to affirmed male at the age of four.

*  *  *  *  *

Harvey Bock"They Sure Used to Speak Hebrew Funny." Thank you Harvey Bock for helping us understand why Moses would be puzzled, at best, to understand today's Hebrew. From consonants that were combined and collapsed into today's Hebrew oral and written alphabet, to vowels that were meant to be spoken one way and only centuries later did they boomerang back from Yiddish to today's pronunciation. Harvey talked us through the "telephone chain" across time and space that connects our Hebrew of today with Moses' language of years past.

*  *  *  *  *

Miriam Diamond AncestorsMiriam Diamond's interesting exploration of "The Poems of Leah Goldberg and Yehuda Amichai in Dialogue" brought both poets alive through their poetry, in contrast and comparison. Let's listen to the reactions from a couple of the session's attendees:

"There's so much in these four little poems. They are beautifully written, containing wonderful messages."

"Thank you so much for introducing me to Leah Goldberg's poems
and more of Amichai's. A wonderful session!"

*  *  *  *  *

Isaiah RothsteinIn several sessions devoted to Racial Justice/Jews of color,  Isaiah Rothstein (left), MaNishtana (right) and others spoke about their experiences being misidentified, labeled, or isolated because of the multiple identities they hold. They shared many cringe-worthy anecdotes about the ways in which they have been treated by white people, MaNishtanawho assume they are visitors or employees or impostors. They also issued powerful reminders that white Ashkenazic is not the definition of normative Judaism but rather a stereotype that has built up over time, erasing or threatening to erase the richness of Jewish identity. When the conversation turned to how to move forward, MaNishtana offered a touching rule of thumb:

"Remember how it was to be in 7th grade and feel isolated or different? Imagine yourself in that space and treat others with the empathy it engenders."

*  *  *  *  *

LimmudBoston eFestival Featured Music, Poetry and Social Justice.
By Judy Bolton-Fasman for JewishBoston

"LimmudBoston 2020 more than made up for any virtual challenges it may have encountered—the conference was brimming with ideas and fascinating subjects to explore. There was definitely something for everyone in this rich atmosphere."

View the full article at JewishBoston.com

*  *  *  *  *


Did you know that registration fees only cover about 1/2 the costs of keeping LimmudBoston in business?

From consultants' costs to insurance, from website/technology fees to subsriptions and so much more, it is a challenge to run a non-profit nowadays, especially in these unprecedented times.

Help us offer great learning and engagement by making a donation here.

Poets as Prophets
October Sneak Preview Kicks Off 5781

An enthusiastic and appreciative audience attended “Windows to Israeli Society through Literature and Life,” a lively online conversation between Rachel Korazim and Laura Mandel, JArtsBoston Executive Director.

A maven of Israeli poetry and literature, and a delightfully engaging teacher, Rachel Korazim is LimmudBoston’s special guest at its November 15th eFestival. The October gathering was a special preview, a chance to learn more about Rachel’s own story, and hear about her experiences teaching during the time of coronavirus.

As part of the conversation, Rachel Korazim shared several slides to highlight her teachings on November 15th, including the image posted here entitled “Poets as Prophets.” Also pictured are Laura Mandel, who adeptly interviewed Korazim; Alan Teperow, former Director and LimmudBoston board chair, and Terri Swartz Russell, the event’s moderator and a LimmudBoston past board chair.

Whether or not you were in attendance, we are pleased to share some resources based on the October 18th conversation. Rachel Korazim has been very gracious in offering to respond to any and all questions, so please feel free to reach her at korazim@gmail.com.

For more information about classes she is offering, or has taught in the past, check out her Facebook page or website.

Finally, in response to requests for her sister's poetry, her mother's recipe for baked almas pite, and the poetry of Nathan Alterman, see links below.

Poems by Sister - http://tiny.cc/KORAZIM-PoemsBySister

Apple Pie Recipe - http://tiny.cc/KORAZIM-ApplePieRecipe

Poetry of Nathan Alterman - http://tiny.cc/KORAZIM-AltermanPoems

What people had to say about eFestival May 3, 2020

"Thanks, Naomi (Gurt Lind), for a beautiful session. I understand why this is your calling!"

"Thank you Marcia (Plumb)! Lovely session. Seder/order is a more complicated topic than meets the eye."

"Terrific, informative presentation, Julie (Wolkoff). Thank you!"

"I am a physician and have had experience taking care of patients at the end of life but, until today, I had no education about the Jewish viewpoint! This was helpful and gave me a lot to think about."

"Joining from London, UK - thanks for making this happen! So far today, I’ve been at Limmuds in China, UK, Bulgaria, Mallorca and now Boston - amazing!"

"Thank you for today LimmudBoston! Greetings from Ukraine"

"So good to be together! Thank you, everyone!"

Special thanks to LimmudBoston's business and organizational partners:

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LimmudFest is a happening, a volunteer-driven celebration of Jewish culture and identity. From storytelling, music and meditation to Torah and Talmud, LimmudBoston offers inspiration and education – engaging beginners and scholars alike.

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