Changes ahead for Limmud AZ

For the second year in a row, Limmud AZ will offer “Taste of Limmud.” This evening event will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 7 to 9 pm at Temple Solel at 6805 E. McDonald Dr. in Paradise Valley. The event offers learning sessions featuring Rabbis Pinchas Allouche, Bonnie Koppell and Jeremy Schneider.

This event gives you a “taste” for what you will experience at their annual Limmud AZ event held on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 9 am to 4 pm at Arizona State University in the Conference Center at the Memorial Union in Tempe. Limmud AZ is a full day of Jewish education featuring workshops, discussions, arts, music, performances, text-study sessions and more.

“We wanted people to see what Limmud was all about because not everyone knew about it,” says Suzanne Swift, director of Jewish Book Council Networks and Limmud team chairperson. “It’s only a two-hour commitment versus a whole day, so that’s why we started it.”

This year they added Food for Our Soul as a fundraiser to support the 2019 Limmud AZ – Day of Jewish Learning. The pre-tasting event will feature heavy appetizers, wine and a meet-and-greet with author and keynote presenter Aaron Edelheit. Guests will also receive a copy of his book, The Hard Break: The Case for the 24/6 Lifestyle. Tickets to this pre-event are $100 per person.

“Every dime we raise goes into running the next Limmud,” says Suzanne. There are no paid staff people. Even the presenters are not paid for their time.

Suzanne has been very involved with Limmud both in Arizona and nationally. Before she started working with Limmud, she was the program director at the Valley of the Sun JCC.

Sandy Adler who is another team chairperson at Limmud AZ, was also the chairperson when Suzanne ran the JCC book festival. “When I was leaving the JCC, Sandy said, ‘I have our next project.’ That was Limmud,” says Suzanne. “I was out of the JCC for five years and this is our fifth Limmud.”

Every Limmud event around the world is different. Some are only one day like Arizona, some are over a weekend and some are multiple days. You could go to a Limmud in Mumbai and have a completely different experience than a Limmud in Germany.

Limmud is growing in the United States and Canada, but it is far more recognized in Europe.

The center of Limmud and the “mothership” as Suzanne refers to it, is the United Kingdom. “They hold it over Christmas and 3,000 people attend,” she says. “For four days, there are more than 1,000 sessions. It’s the most amazing, incredible event.” Suzanne also has attended Limmuds in New Orleans and Israel.

Limmud AZ usually has between 40 and 50 presenters, with 10 sessions per hour. “It’s a fun day filled with however one wants to design it, from yoga, mindfulness and Israeli dancing to current topics facing Israel and Jews,” says Amanda Walker, fifth-year volunteer. “There is a huge variety taught by local and national speakers.”

This year the group has added a new element to Limmud AZ. “This year, I’m looking forward to our first keynote speaker, Ed Asner,” says Amanda.

Actor, activist and author, Ed Asner and his son and daughter-in-law, Matt Asner and Navah Paskowitz-Asner, will be on hand to share their knowledge, personal life experiences and information on their new project, The Ed Asner Family Center. This special presentation will be presented as a keynote event, partially funded by a NowGen grant.

The Ed Asner Family Center is a one-stop shop for those with special needs and their families seeking wholeness in all attitudes of life. The Center will act as an oasis of balance and thought, of interaction and education. Most importantly, The Center will give children and adults of all levels of ability a chance at dignity, confidence and self-respect.

Having him and his family share their vision for the Center, further corresponds with Limmud’s motto that “Everybody’s a teacher, and everybody’s a learner.”

Gesher Disability Resources and Limmud AZ are excited to partner for a second year and bring such an incredible educational opportunity to attendees.

Suzanne has a way to judge if the day has been a success. “We want people to leave saying, ‘I couldn’t go to all the things I wanted to go to,’ that’s the best thing that happens to us,” says Suzanne. “I know people get frustrated but as a Jewish educator and Jewish professional, that the best thing that could ever happen.”

Taste of Limmud

When: Nov. 15, 7-9 pm

Where: Temple Solel, 6805 E McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley

Tickets: $18; $100 pre-tasting event

Limmud AZ

When: Feb. 10, 2019, 9 am-4 pm

Where: ASU, Conference Center at the Memorial Union, 301 E. Orange Mall, Tempe

Tickets: $36-$50 adults (discounts if registered by Dec. 31); teens/college students $18; $15 Kidz Camp

For more information on both events, visit


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