This fall, the Valley hosts its first Taste of Limmud on Nov. 16, an evening of learning designed to give attendees a sample of Limmud AZ, a full day of educational programming organized by volunteers as part of an international movement.
Taste of Limmud is divided into two parts. The first hour allows participants to select between three sessions taught by local rabbis. The second brings everyone together for keynote speaker Rabbi Daniel Cohen, senior rabbi at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut. Cohen will discuss topics related to his book, “What Will They Say About You When You’re Gone: Creating a Life of Legacy.”
“The premise of the book is a person is at a funeral, and as you walk into the funeral, you have a moment where you say to yourself, ‘I hope they speak about me the way they speak about that person,’ ” Cohen said.
Limmud, a Hebrew word meaning “learning,” started in the United Kingdom in the 1980s as a movement to bring all segments of the Jewish community together for a day of learning, explained Suzanne Swift, director of the Jewish Book Council Network in New York City and a volunteer organizer for Limmud AZ. From 2010 to 2013, Swift served as program director at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center. Swift noted there are 80 active Limmud groups spread across the U.S. and other countries.
Hosting its fourth year of programming this coming February, Swift explained that the idea for Limmud AZ occurred
several years ago when a speaker at a Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix event, sociologist Stephen Kohn, mentioned the international movement as a great way to bring together Jewish communities.
The first Limmud AZ occurred in 2014. This year, more than 350 people attended the event in February.
Swift said Taste of Limmud was organized in response to participants who were interested in extending the learning of Limmud AZ from more than just one day.
The first hour of Taste of Limmud offers participants the choice of three sessions: “Changing the World from the Inside Out!” taught by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash; “Who’s in Your
Circle? Exploring the Talmudic Stories of Honi Ha-Maagal,” taught by Rabbi Tracee Rosen of Beth Emeth Congregation in Sun City West; and “Judaism and Gratitude,” taught by Rabbi Emily Langowitz, assistant rabbi at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley.
“I believe that intellectually rigorous adult Jewish learning is the most important contribution the Jewish community can offer,” Yanklowitz said. “After all, we are a values-driven people and we must constantly re-commit to a life of grappling with the most sublime ethical questions of our tradition to ensure we live a reflective and meaningful life.” JN
Taste of Limmud takes place from 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 16, at Temple Solel. Tickets are $18. Limmud AZ takes place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 11, at the conference center at the Memorial Union on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.