Limmud-Oz Report Card
With Sydney and Melbourne gearing up for another exciting year of Limmud-Oz events, a recent study conducted by Limmud International shows that Limmud has a significant and very positive impact on the Jewish identity and involvement of participants.
As Raphael Ahren reported in Haaretz, the study showed that past Limmud attendees reported “unusually high participation rates in…Jewish life, scoring far above levels reported in studies of the general Jewish population”, according to the study’s authors, researchers Steven Cohen and Ezra Kopelowitz. Limmud “clearly serves both as an expression of and impetus to Jewish involvement, impacting positively on participants’ Jewish identity and leadership.”
“This is a landmark study which underlines the significance of the fact that over 1200 people participated in a Limmud event in Australia last year,” said Michala Lander, Chairperson of Limmud-Oz in Sydney. “The results may not be surprising but they reinforce how valuable, powerful and fantastic Limmud is.”
In Sydney, Limmud-Oz attracted over 1100 participants over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, and Melbourne held its inaugural Limmud Oz Fest in November with over 160 in attendance.
“2011 was a remarkable year for the vibrancy and growth of Limmud in Australia,” commented Michael Misrachi, Coordinator of Limmud-Oz in Sydney, “and that pace is set to continue with at least three exciting events next year. We encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved to contact us.”
In 2012, Melbourne will host the major Limmud-Oz festival over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend with an impressive line-up of international and local presenters. Many of those international presenters will then go to Sydney for Yom Limmud on Sunday 17 June. Sydney will also hold Limmud Fest from 23-25 November. Limmud Fest is a weekend retreat set it beautiful natural surrounds combining Limmud-style learning with a festival atmosphere and unique Shabbat experience.
The ‘Limmud International Study: Jewish Learning Communities on a Global Scale’ was conducted in October 2011 and is the first comprehensive survey to evaluate the impact of Limmud around the world.
Limmud has grown over the past 30 years to an international movement reaching over 30,000 individuals annually around the world. The Shalom Institute in Sydney organised the first Limmud ever outside of the UK in June, 1999. In 2011, 60 Jewish communities in 24 countries held Limmud events, including Brazil, Poland, Turkey, South Africa and New Zealand.
More than 3,000 respondents from 49 Limmud locations around the world answered the online survey, including over 270 from Australia.
Some of the key findings of the study are:
• Australians, along with Europeans, Israelis, and the UK, show a consistent pattern: a majority are both “very satisfied” and “very likely” to recommend Limmud. Further, Australian participants are among the most likely to return to Limmud year after year, with 40% of people attending 4 or more Limmud events.
• Participation in Limmud spurs significant ongoing Jewish involvement. Attending a Limmud event led almost 10% of Australian respondents to establish a new Jewish initiative, group or organisation and over three quarters to attend other enrichment related events in the Jewish community.
• Limmud successfully appeals and caters to people from across the entire Jewish community and beyond, particularly in Australia. Every stream of Judaism, including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Renewal, Secular and even ‘Other’ – as well as non-Jews – was represented.
Verbatim comments from the survey reflect how Limmud “deepened my interest in and enthusiasm for all things Jewish” and revealed “just how diverse Jews and Judaism is.” Respondents credit Limmud as being “truly the most transformational Jewish experience I’ve ever had” and “a vital component in my identity development.”
Limmud International’s London-based co-chairwoman Helena Miller said: “Limmud’s success at reaching Jews wherever they are in their Jewish journey and taking them further is thanks to Limmud offering a meeting ground that transcends religious and communal differences. It also serves as a networking hub across Jewish communities.”