What Does “Big Tent” Mean?

This year, we are billing LimmudFest as “a weekend festival of Big Tent Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality”. As we’ve brought this message around the New Orleans community as well as to congregations across the Gulf South, it has been greeted with excitement and enthusiasm. But some have asked “What does “Big Tent’ mean?” It’s a great question, and one we enjoy answering.

The term “Big Tent” has its origins in politics, as it is formally defined as a party’s strategy to “encourage a range of beliefs, opinions and views among its members”. But the idea itself is much larger than that, and perfectly aligns with many of Limmud’s values and principles such as diversity, respect, religious observance, and enabling connections.

The modern practice of Judiasm is commonly divided into reform, conservative and orthodox traditions, but the formal and informal divisions of the faith do not stop there. This has created a wonderful array of vibrant communities across the country and the world, each with their own ideas, customs and practices. By being aware and considerate of all levels of religious observance, and respectfully celebrating both those things we have in common as well as those which make us unique, LimmudFest New Orleans seeks to offer a weekend of engaging programming that is, above all things, inclusive.

Great care is being taken to create a collective and communal event that is accessible and enriching for all participants no matter how they do (or do not) identify. We offer choice in the form, content and style of the learning sessions offered and believe in the power of a diverse community to create rich cross-cultural and cross-generational experiences.

We strive to open the doors to LimmudFest as wide as possible, help us make this year’s LimmudFest Tent as big as ever.. Register today!

Featured Presenters Announced!

In the first of what are sure to be a string of exciting updates, we are proud to officially announce our first three featured presenters for LimmudFest 2018: Rabbi Dayna Ruttenberg and Joel Dinerstein.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is a lecturer and author who has been named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” and one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis. Her most recent book, Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (Flatiron Books), was a finalist for the 2016 National Jewish Book Award.  She is Rabbi-in-Residence at Avodah and a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and has been featured on Upworthy.

Joel Dinerstein is the author of four books on race, cool, music, and American culture, including The Origins of Cool in Postwar America (2017), Coach: A Study of NY Cool (Rizzoli 2016), and a cultural history of big-band jazz, Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African-American Culture (2003). He was the curator of American Cool (2014), an acclaimed exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, and the author of its exhibit catalogue. He has served as a consultant for jazz and popular music for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities), and Putumayo Records. He is Professor of English and American Studies at Tulane University.

A Family Experience

Wherever you find yourself – and whatever age you are – Limmud will take you one step further on your Jewish journey. With this in mind, we are putting together an excellent line-up of quality children’s programming so there is something for the entire family. Parents can go learn in their own sessions, confident that their children will also be experiencing the magic of Limmud.

Multi-denominational Shabbat services will be held for children on Shabbat morning, and babysitting will be available throughout the weekend. A full roster of fun and educational activities designed specifically with young children in mind will allow attendees of all ages to learn and grow along with the adults. The entire weekend of learning and teaching is designed with the entire family in mind.

LimmudFest New Orleans is a celebration of Jewish culture, thought, the arts, learning, and teaching, and so much more — all planned by volunteers. It is part of a global movement inspired by the idea that when Jews from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate and learn about everything Jewish, the entire community is enriched.

Save The Date: Limmud at Gates of Prayer and the Uptown JCC!

Limmud Fest New Orleans returns on March 16 – 18, 2018. Like last year, it will be held at Congregation Gates of Prayer on Friday and Saturday. But new for 2018, sessions on Sunday, March 18 will be held at the newly expanded Uptown JCC!

During Shabbat, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and alternative services will be held, followed by communal meals and learning sessions. On Sunday, there will be an entire day of lectures, workshops and discussions. Altogether, there will be more than 90 sessions on everything Jewish, ranging from art and music to text study and history. Save the date, it’s a Big Tent Weekend Festival of Jewish Arts, Culture, Learning and Spirituality not to be missed.

Limmud is an international charity dedicated to making some of the world’s most dynamic Jewish educators, performers and teachers, working in a variety of educational styles – lectures, workshops, text-study sessions, film, meditation, discussions, exhibits and performance – accessible to everyone, no matter what their level of Jewish knowledge or commitment to Jewish life.

LimmudFest New Orleans is part of a global movement inspired by the idea that when Jews from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate and learn about everything Jewish, the entire community is enriched.

Be sure to check out some of the featured presenters, or get involved by volunteering, donating, or hosting out of town guests! We’ll see you at Congregation Gates of Prayer and the Uptown JCC.