Start a Limmud; save the world. That is the strongly held view of Steffi Aronson Karp, founder of LimmudBoston, the annual celebration of Jewish culture and lifelong learning. Limmud means “study” in Hebrew. The 10th annual LimmudBoston festival will take place all day on Sunday, November 17 at Brookline’s new 384 Harvard Street Campus, comprising Congregations Kehillath Israel (KI), Mishkan Tefila, and 6 other congregations and organizations. This 10th annual LimmudBoston offers more than 94 separate learning sessions for the entire Jewish community: beginner to scholar, young to young-at-heart.
Exhilarated by attendance at the first Limmud Atlanta in 2008, Karp contacted the organizers of the volunteer-driven, worldwide Limmud community, based in the U.K. A year later, the first LimmudBoston was held in Boston’s Temple Israel. LimmudBoston welcomes everyone who is interested in Jewish learning and culture, and encourages everyone to propose sessions they would like to present, which are evaluated by the Program Team. There are no titles at Limmud, and everyone is on a first name basis. Everyone is a volunticipant (volunteer plus participant), which encourages all who attend to share in the energy and success of each program.
Raised in Swampscott, Karp was inspired by her years in SMARTY, the youth group of Marblehead’s Temple Emanuel. She fondly remembers learning while doing “Jewish” together. “Those youth group programs had a profound impact on my adult Jewish choices,” she states. “LimmudBoston succeeds because we provide a youth, group-like experience for everyone.” Each hour LimmudBoston offers more than a dozen learning opportunities on everything from food and craft demonstrations to Torah, Talmud, social justice, wellness, climate change and the arts.
Several years ago, Karp received the Synagogue Council K’lal Yisrael Award for uniting the greater New England Jewish Community with LimmudBoston. Now, after 10 years of running LimmudBoston from her Waban home, she is passing the reins to the board, and to Alan Teperow, former Executive Director of Synagogue Council, and to the many volunticipants of LimmudBoston. “With no titles and hundreds of volunticipants, Limmud is a grand lowerarchy – where everyone is on a first name basis and volunteer culture is key.”
Karp sees it as a great honor to have created such a wonderful showcase of everything Jewish.
Highlights for this 10th year include presenters from Pardes and Hartman Institutes, drama therapist and Covenant, Scholar Sally Grazi-Shatzkes, who will speak about bringing Holocaust studies to a new generations through interactive drama, and Yael Kanarek, who is re-gendering the Torah as an artist/scholar-in-residence at a NY congregation.
LimmudBoston plays well with others. Over the last decade, nearly every area congregation and organization have offered their talents and support. Limmud is fun. The Silent Auction is a great way to support Limmud while finding local talent to bring home. According to Karp, “I could not have done my part without a legion of terrific and devoted and generous donors and volunteers. LimmudBoston enjoys support from all of the major Jewish organizations and congregations in this area.”
She adds, “The world would, indeed, be a better place if all people adopted Limmud values and principles. If we all aspired to learn together, discern together, to create together, we would have a culture of volunticipation.”
At LimmudBoston #10 on November 17th, there will be a celebration of 10 years of LimmudBoston, including a panel on the values of Jewish lifelong learning presented by Hebrew College’s Art Green and Margie Klein Ronkin, rabbis who represent different generations of Jewish learning.
As part of LimmudFest 2019, we will pay tribute to LimmudBoston founder, Steffi Aronson Karp, whose love of Jewish learning and culture has enriched the fabric of Jewish life in our area. Everyone will gather at the festival to share in an uplifting 10-year anniversary celebration with music, learning, and a tribute to Karp, who has brought us all the shared joy of the LimmudFest experience. There will be some special surprises as well as words of gratitude and appreciation by Rabbi Robert Goldstein (Temple Emanuel of Andover), Rabbi Toba Spitzer, and by Steffi’s son, Adam Karp.
More information, and registration, and Silent Auction offerings, can be found at LimmudBoston.org