These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Limmud Hungary

Posted on March 12, 2012 by Reka Eszter

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Long after Rose’s article about Limmud UK, here is mine about Limmud Hungary.

After the huge success of Limmud in England, a lot of people around the planet thought a Limmud or Limmud-style event would contribute a lot to their communities and countries. In Western countries where Jewish communities tend to have greater resources and traditions of giving, Limmud programs were usually born of their own initiatives. In Hungary (and most of Eastern European countries) where the Jewish communities are not wealthy enough to establish such organizations on their own, the American Joint Distribution Committee was a great help and an initiator.

When Limmud was founded in these countries it didn’t always follow all the Limmud core values (for example, it sometimes had to pay staff instead of being entirely volunteer-operated), so it was called Keshet or Limmud-Keshet. In 2009, after 3 years of Limmud-Keshet in Hungary, the paid staff decided that they no longer wanted to work for pay… they wanted to be volunteers and run a fully volunteer-based Limmud. Since then, we have had 3 conferences and several Limmud-days and Limmud-afternoons. Limmud Hungary is much smaller (around 200 participants), but we still have 5 sessions running in parallel all the time (one of which is always in English); and it is no less effective 🙂

Limmud was, without question, a life-changing experience for me. This was probably the first Jewish organization that I became involved with, and because the Hungarian Limmud is small (around 25 people), I was quickly assigned real responsibilities. I met a lot of important people, and then I had the opportunity to go to Limmud UK, which, in turn, led me to Jerusalem to study Torah. Limmud gave me the opportunity to explore may different Jewish texts; and realize how much I enjoyed this sort of study. As Rose has said: Any Limmud in the world is a chance to make the decision or meet the one who will change your life.