Photo: Janette Silverman, Laura Geller, LaNitra Berger and David Singer will all be speakers at Limmud AZ Virtual Day of Jewish Learning.
“Just because we can’t gather in person doesn’t mean we can’t learn together!” is the opening line on Limmud AZ’s event information page. The annual day-long event of Jewish learning usually attracts hundreds of attendees with presenters from all walks of Jewish life who speak on a wide range of topics. This year’s event will be held online on Feb. 21 from 9:45 am to 2 pm, instead of at Arizona State University as it has in the past.
“Because it’s virtual, we have more speakers from out of town,” explains Sandy Adler, Limmud AZ team leader. “It’s a really cool opportunity to learn from people who we don’t necessarily get here.”
The list of speakers include Janette Silverman, professional genealogist at Ancestry.com; Laura Geller, rabbi and Wise Aging expert; LaNitra Berger, scholar, educator and social justice advocate and David Singer, rabbi and national director of Limmud North America, along with authors from the Jewish Book Council, ASU Jewish Studies professors, and local clergy and thought leaders.
Limmud means “to learn” and is an international movement that began in Great Britain in 1980. Today, there are Limmud communities in 40 countries, including Israel, and more than 20 cities in North America.
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New this year is the creation of Limmud North America. Until now, Limmud groups in the United States and Canada had to rely on Limmud.org out of London to start their chapters and for support.
“When we started Arizona, Suzanne (Swift) and I went to New Orleans, and we met with the British people who were there from Limmud.org and they helped get us started,” says Sandy. “Although we are still a part of the international organization, there is somebody who’s there to help support us in North America. It’s much more convenient than having to deal with someone internationally.”
Suzanne is the director of the Jewish Book Council Networks and former program director at the Valley of the Sun JCC. She is also currently serving on the board of directors for Limmud North America.
Limmud AZ is using a professional who manages conferences and breakout sessions virtually for this event. This format has already been used successfully for various virtual events by Limmud North America.
The sessions will be scheduled as they have in the past, with people picking the sessions they want to attend. “We’re starting at 9:45 am for kind of an introduction, and then there are four sessions after at 10 am, 11 am, noon and 1 pm,” explains Sandy.
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When held in person, Limmud AZ always supplied a kosher lunch. “Needless to say, if you want a kosher lunch, you’re going to have to make it yourself at home,” jokes Sandy.
Limmud AZ also utilized a crew of volunteers to handle the registration desk and direct people on the day of the event, but this year, it’s just been Sandy, Suzanne and Meghan Dorn Jalowiec handling the online traffic. Sandy says that they have put a call out for volunteers to monitor or host the individual presentations.
“If you’ve never been to Limmud or if you’ve always wanted to try it, here’s a great way to do it,” says Sandy. “It’s very reasonably priced, and if you have friends in other places who might want to hear some of these presenters, they can join you.”
Limmud AZ Virtual Day of Jewish Learning
When: Feb. 21, 2021 from 9:45 am-2 pm
Cost: $18 through Jan. 31; $25 from Feb. 1-20; $36 on Feb. 21