Limmud and the ‘Broad Tent’ Philosophy

This year’s Limmud festival has just concluded, with well-attended programmes in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. As in previous years, Board members, both professional staff and lay leaders, featured on the programmes at all three centres, either as speakers or panellists. The Board’s Communications Department was also once again responsible for publicising the event and obtaining wider media coverage for some of its distinguished international speakers.

An annual festival of Jewish learning, culture and debate Limmud has injected an added dimension of vibrancy into our communal life since its introduction in South Africa some ten years ago. The SAJBD has been an enthusiastic supporter of the initiative from the outset. Being ourselves an organisation that seeks to be representative of as wide a spectrum as possible of Jewish opinion, we fully endorse Limmud’s stated aims of providing ‘safe spaces’ allowing for the full range of opinion on the issues of the day to be expressed and respectfully debated. We may disagree, but must always be prepared to speak, and listen to, one another. Limmud’s goals are admirable ones. In order for them to be fully achieved, every participant must be afforded due courtesy and consideration, both by the audience and by those speaking on the same panel. Those responsible for organising Limmud’s programmes have a particular duty in this regard, and should lead by example. If they do this, Limmud will continue to be a valued and keenly anticipated aspect of Jewish communal life in this country.  

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