Limmud NY: The power of an idea

I just got back from Limmud NY. It was my third Limmud NY, fifth Limmud overall (I did Philly and Colorado in 2009 as well), and my second Limmud NY as a member of Limmud NY’s very small paid staff, though my days of getting paid to go to Limmud are now over (by my own choice).
This was by far the best Limmud I’ve yet attended. I have so many feelings and thoughts about Limmud that they get in the way of my ability to say anything useful or insightful about the Limmud phenomenon. So instead, I’ll go to Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt. Gary joined us at Limmud NY 2010 for the day on Sunday. He had this to say:

A visit to the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson this weekend for the sixth annual Limmud NY conference found 700 people of all ages, religious backgrounds and interests, participating in some of the 300 programs offered, from Bible study to chocolate tasting, and from comedy and concerts to kabbalistic healing and lectures by Talmud scholar Adin Steinsaltz.
An antidote to our thinking that money is the answer to all problems in Jewish life, Limmud NY is a shining example of the power of an idea, underscoring how much can be accomplished through the passionate commitment of even a small group of people.What’s more, Limmud is multi-generational, post-denominational, diverse and inclusive, welcoming and attracting all types of Jews and making them feel comfortable — no easy feat. Just about everyone I spoke with during my visit made mention of how refreshing it was to be with such a wide assortment of Jews under one roof, and lamented that the feeling doesn’t seem to be transferable “back in the real world,” as one woman told me. [Emphasis mine.]

And Tamar Fox, friend of Jewschool and writer for My Jewish Learning had this to say:

In any normal weekend (or week, for that matter) how many times do you hear or see something that leaves you awe-inspired? I don’t mean in a particularly religious way, I just mean, in the way where you learn something that is so smart that you’re left gobsmacked. In my regular life, I’d say that happens, at most, twice a month. At Limmud, it happens at least once a day, and if you choose your sessions well, it can happen five or six times a day.
Also, I got to hold a few cute babies, flirt with a neurologist, watch a movie, sing zemirot, listen to stand up Jewish comedy, and oh yeah—learn some stuff.
Moral of the story: Limmud 2011 is just a year away. Start preparing now. [Emphasis mine.]

So people like Limmud. And I like Limmud. And Tamar is right. Start getting ready for the next one. Now.

8 thoughts on “Limmud NY: The power of an idea

  1. as far as i can tell, the maximum that the retreat center can hold is not much more than 700. do you know of other places outside the city that can hold more than that for a conference?

  2. The types of sites we use are a limiting factor in the number of people and publicity may also be something. Last year, we had 900 people register, but we were at a larger hotel. This year’s hotel’s capacity was 700. Partially, we intentionally went down from 900, feeling that we wanted to maintain a slightly more manageable atmosphere.

  3. Both my and Chicago’s first Limmud is just a few weeks from now, and I haven’t the slightest idea how many people are registered. Hopefully there will be enough to provide critical mass for meaningful discussion with the impressive faculty, and probably the number will be nowhere near the 700 that attended the NY event.
    So what? As a disinterested (but not uninterested) party, I am taken aback by Dave’s implication that the New York event was less than a success because its attendance did not hit some arbitrary number. To those who brought 700 people together for talmud Torah, I can only say Kol Hakavod.

  4. Thanks, Larry and please tell me what you think of Limmud Chicago. This is an exciting year for Limmud in North America because three North American Limmuds will have their first conference this year (Chicago, Boston, New Orleans)!
    Dave, what’s the obsession with 1000? Also, it has to be a place that has regular keys for all the rooms, to accommodate those who won’t use key cards in Shabbat, and it has to be a place with a kitchen we can kasher. The point is that if you’ve never been to Limmud NY yourself, you don’t know all the factors.

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