Last weekend, I had the pleasure of filming The G-d Project and hosting two learning sessions as Limmudfest Atlanta + Southeast, a weekend-long retreat that brings together Jewish folks from around the country (primarily the South) at Camp Ramah Darom for learning, celebration, friendship and outdoor fun. Diverse types of people including LGBT activists, comics, young families, seniors, filmmakers and musicians, Jewish non-profit executives and business people, hippies and non-Jewish family are included in this camp havurah. It was this sense of diversity that really impacted me the most. From the Chabad rabbi kashering the camp kitchen to the tai chi teacher, everyone had their place at Limmud. Including me.
This week’s Torah portion has more commandments than any other portion, including rules on how to fight, what to wear and how to farm. Different mitzvot cover different, practical parts of Jewish life. Some of them, like the laws of battle, don’t apply to some of us. And that’s OK. Because someone, somewhere, needs to know the right way to fight in a Jewish way. The Torah understands that. The great thing about Torah is that it is diverse. It covers a lot of ground. At different places in our life, we will need different things.
Limmud gets that as well. While some of us studied text, others were hiking. If Kabbalistic self-help isn’t your thing, then take the challah baking class. Perhaps you’d rather drink and dance to Israeli hip hop, or watch a Jewish-themed movie or lead a session on interfaith and conversion issues. Either way, at Limmud, there is something for everyone.
Torah gives us the opportunity, no matter where we are in life, to come home to the heart of the Jewish experience. And the staff and volunteers or Limmud are doing that exact same thing. Limmudfest therefore, is a living Torah value. Yasher koach to those who have brought this experience to the world and may it be God’s will that there be a Limmudfest in every town, on every weekend, forever and all time. Y’hi ratzon.