April 14, 2024 |

Grade K – Michelle Nelson – My Day at Limmud Boston

Posted on December 7, 2015

Hi there families!

I hope you took advantage of the wonderful weather to do something great today!

I just wanted to check in and let you know about my experience at Limmud Boston this morning.  I have attended Limmud for the previous four years with the faculty of Temple Israel’s Religious School and find each time that I am exposed to amazing presenters, am surrounded by eager learners and have the opportunity to connect with people (some old friends and some new ones) from the larger Jewish community in Boston.

My morning began with Rebecca Kornblatt, a clinical psychologist, who helped the group to explore the role that Judaism plays in your mental well-being.  It was standing room only and people were even turned away from this popular topic.  Through case studies, we identified the Jewish values that help guide us through difficult situations and how the practices and Jewish rituals can be therapeutic.

Do you like the Beatles?  If so, you may have been interested in the second session I attended.  Titled “John Lenon and the Jews”, this seminar used a book of the same title to highlight ideas about Judaism meant to give clarity to what is important about your personal Jewish observances and beliefs.  Led by Jocelyn Robinson, a young professional at CJP, this session was an opportunity to engage with fellow learners and gain information and ideas from others in the group.

By far the most intriguing session that I attended was lead by Adam Chalom, a Humanistic Rabbi from Chicago. He was incredibly engaging, adding humor to what would otherwise be a serious topic.  His focus was “Why Bother Being Jewish in the 21st Century?” To explore this, we first had to go through about 150 years of history(in like 20 minutes) to understand that in previous millenniums there were plenty of reasons to be Jewish.  Common language, close proximity, and common immigration experiences created community.  Other significant factors included, the large amount of choices available to people in the Unites States, solidarity for the creation of Israel as a country and a response after the Holocaust.  At the end of all this history, he identified two aspects that influence us; justification and marketing.  The big take home here was that in previous generations, there were many reasons to be Jewish and everyone was able to identify with a set of  reasons but this doesn’t work for people in my peer group…we want that information at the bottom of the website when you order something from Amazon that is labeled “Things you might also like”, we want to feel as though someone has personally thought about what we specifically want from our religious observances and has given us choices just for us.  Very interesting….

Thank you for allowing me to grow today!

See you in class soon. Happy Hanukkah!