Limmud NY Notes: An excuse to get four smart Jews to talk to each other

I went to Limmud NY 2011 and wrote a lot of posts about it. Here’s a guide to them.

Every year at Limmud NY, there is a panel discussion or two with an irrelevant topic. The panel is just an excuse to get a group of interesting Jews who wouldn’t otherwise talk to each other to talk to each other.

This year’s was ostensibly about Shabbat. Moderated by writer and JLife Consulting founder Dasee Berkowitz, it included:

The content of the panel was great. Better than that were the reactions. Pinson spent a lot of time making great faces at what everyone else was saying–one of his best reactions was the bizarre facial contortion was provoked by Marc’s assertion that he has stopped checking email on Shabbat.

There was a pretty big crowd for the panel. It included:

In the case of the various family members I could spot, watching for their reactions and the occasional eye contact with the panelist they were related to as they were inevitably mentioned in the course of the discussion of their Shabbat observances was endlessly entertaining.

Yoni’s presence was somewhat surprising. Over the last four Limmud NYs, he’s become one of the unique friends that I wouldn’t otherwise know and that I look forward to seeing every year. When I first met him in 2008, he seemed rather suspicious of the entire Limmud enterprise. This year, he proudly told me he was going to try to go to at least one session every day, once his duties in the kitchen end after dinner each day. He asked what I thought he should go to on Friday night and I told him I was going to this panel. Yoni said he’d come because he wanted the full Limmud experience and that this panel, with its diverse voices, would help facilitate that.

He later told me he was glad the he went to the panel, but that he liked Pinson and Ingber the best.

I found all of them very interesting, but I actually found Malya and Marc the more interesting voices on the panel because they were both talking from the point of view of having recently gotten married. Both talked about how their experience of Shabbat has been altered by having to completely share it with another person.

Malya said that she and William have both noticed a bizarre trend in themselves–they’ve been “making fun of Shabbat” since they got married. For instance, one of them will say something like, “Oh, I’m gonna go turn on the oven and cook something. Oh wait… NOT! Because it’s Shabbat!”

Marc noted that it’s been very difficult for he and Julia to have a shared Shabbat experience because both of them work on Shabbat, Marc at a shul in Brooklyn and Julia at a shul out in Sag Harbor.

Good job, team. Good panel.

By the way, two years ago, it was a panel on differing denominational views of Halachah, moderated by Leon, including:

  • David Ellenson (the head of the Reform seminary)
  • David Hoffman (a member of the Conservative Committee on Jewish Law and Standards)
  • J.J. Schacter (Professor of Jewish History and Jewish Thought and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University)
  • Dan Ehrenkrantz (the head of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College)

Last year’s, which included Morris, Ingber and Rabba Sara Hurwitz, was about something else. Again, the topic ended up being irrelevant to the fact that these people are having a conversation in front of an audience. I wrote more about that panel here.

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4 responses to “Limmud NY Notes: An excuse to get four smart Jews to talk to each other

  1. Pingback: Index to the 13 Limmud NY Notes posts | The Reform Shuckle

  2. Why the contortion? Does Pinson check email on Shabbat?

  3. Pingback: Limmud NY Notes: An excuse to get four smart Jews to talk to eachother | Jewschool

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Limmud NY Notes: An excuse to get four smart Jews to talk to each other | The Reform Shuckle -- Topsy.com

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