Last weekend,  the first Limmud Chicago took place on the wooded campus of Oakton Community College in suburban Des Plaines.  I’m on the ‘Steering Wheel’ (there are no committees in Limmud) so I’m biased, but thought I’d provide a report.
From 8am to 11pm, nearly 400 participants gorged on 80 sessions ranging from Hasidut to Queer Torah and from Text to Crafts. Check out the program here.
limmudchicagologoMy most memorable sessions were led by Arthur Waskow’s Can Jewish Festivals Save the World, Shai Held’s sessions, Menachem Cohen’s How Not to Study Torah, Aaron Frankel’s Songs of Yehuda Halevi, Marc Belgrad’s Getting to God, and Mark Rothschild’s fascinating Prophets and Profits.  I would have had more were I not ‘on duty’ in the prime mid-day hours.  I heard raves about Asher Lopatin’s session on the Quran’s portrayal of the Akedah, the obligatory drum circle, Ruthie Gelfarb’s Introduction to Mussar, and many more.
The conference  drew participants from Metro Chicago, Toronto, Colorado, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and someplace called New York.  There was a good mix of age ranges and backgrounds.  Upon entry, everyone, whether presenter or participant, was assigned a volunteer role.  And a considerable amount of leftover food was donated to the Night Ministry, serving homeless youth.
By now we’re all familiar with the Limmud concept, and this was, if I may say so, a very ‘limmud-y’ first Limmud in the Midwest.  And if it can happen Chicago… it can happen anywhere.
It was a fantastic day and a smashing success.  If you want to participate next year,  check out the website.