“What is Limmud”


Limmud (coming from the Hebrew word meaning “to learn”) is a conference, a festival, and a gathering of community learners interested in unfiltered or unaffiliated Jewish learning. Attendees come from all walks of life representing a broad spectrum of Jewish identities, backgrounds and perspectives. All are welcome – young adults, families, singles, couples and seniors.

           Video from Limmud Bay Area Festival 2018

Traditionally, a host of Bay Area volunteers work over the course of 12 to 18 months to produce a festival that takes place over two+ days. The planning of this festival is the heart of what we do, as Limmud is produced entirely by its volunteers and participants. Each of the lectures, workshops, art exhibitions, discussions, meals and performances are carefully curated by what we colloquially call “Volunticipators”.

We believe that everyone can be a teacher and everyone must be a learner. We hope that you choose to join us. Come to volunteer. Attend by yourself, with a friend, with a group or with your family. Participate in the Limmud tradition that has proven itself for over four decades in 90 communities worldwide.


Limmud Mission & Values

Wherever you find yourself, Limmud Bay Area will take you one step further along your Jewish journey. Our mission is informed by principles and values shared with the over 80 Limmud groups across the world:

  • Learning: Everyone should be a student and anyone can be a teacher; learning embraces personal development, knowledge and skills; learning changes people, inspires action and opens new worlds; we encourage the creation of a learning environment in which people are able to reflect and grow; there are many inspirations that can offer opportunities for learning.
  • Expanding Jewish Horizons: We strive to create individual, collective and communal experiences, through which we strengthen and develop our Jewish identity.
  • Enabling Connections: We aim to create opportunities for communities and individuals to connect; we recognize the strength of providing a space where spiritual, emotional and intellectual connections are made.
  • Participation: Volunteerism is a key feature of almost everything we do; we are all responsible for each other and for the communities we create – everyone has an important contribution to make; we encourage participants to take an active in creating a Limmud.
  • Empowerment: We inspire people to be ambitious about their contribution; we challenge people, and trust them to rise to that challenge; we see the potential of individuals and communities, and support their development; we empower people to make choices and provide the information they need to inform those choices (including biographies we ask presenters to provide).
  • Diversity: We value the rich diversity among Jews, and so we seek to create cross-communal and inter-generational experiences; we value accessibility, and aim to be accessible to all; we value choice in form, content and style in our programs; we encourage people not to stereotype others.
  • Community and Mutual Responsibility: Limmud is a community of learning; we can achieve more together than we can individually; we gain from, and should give something back to, the Jewish and wider community.
  • Respect: No one is more important than anyone else; we expect all participants to be respectful of one another, recognizing that all volunteers are also participants; personal attacks are not acceptable in any Limmud context.
  • Arguments for the Sake of Heaven: We recognize and appreciate that arguments for the sake of heaven can make a positive contribution to furthering our education and understanding; we do not participate in legitimizing or de-legitimizing any religious or political position found in the worldwide Jewish community. Anyone coming to Limmud seeking opportunities for this will not find them. We have no part to play in the debates between/across denominations. Sessions which encourage vigorous debate are entirely acceptable, while we will seek to avoid religious or political conflict. Sessions should be educational, not polemical.
  • Religious Observance: Shabbat (from the Hebrew word meaning “Sabbath”) and kashrut (a set of Jewish dietary laws) are observed in public areas whenever possible; we recognize that in private areas, people will behave as they wish. Should participants wish to hold a prayer group, they may do so, providing they supply all resources and are responsible for the session or prayer group in its entirety.
  • Sustainability: We strive to invest in our community, achieve financial stability and minimize environmental impact.