Limmud NZ – 2010 – Sessions




Sunday 9am

Jeffrey Cohen

Is Spirituality Medicine’s 4th Dimension?
Albert Einstein observed “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” And yet, for the past 150 years science in general and medicine in particular have been at loggerheads with faith, often dismissing it as not much more than

‘hocus-pocus’. Freud went so far as to describe religious belief as a neurosis.  More recently, in Mayo Clinic stated “appropriate spiritual support must be available to all patients who desire it, the same way we provide them with a meal and a warm blanket”.


Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen examines the role of spirituality in medicine, particularly from a Jewish perspective. Will physicians end up saying “say two prayers and call me in the morning”; when and should medicine ask about spiritual beliefs just as we ask about lifestyle choices?


Scott Copeland

Yehuda Amihai – “Why is Jerusalem always two?”

No other Israeli poet sanctified the day-to-day and captured the twists and turns of Jewish memory and Israeli realities like Yehuda Amihai. Through visiting Amihai’s Jerusalem, we shall discuss the power of the holy city – with all of its passions and jealousies and consider Amihai as a guide for Israel engagement.


Chris Milton

An Approach to Child Development – Jewish & other Cultural Influences

Children’s psychological development unfolds naturally, but how this occurs is determined partly by their environment, especially their parental and cultural influences.  The Jewish cultural environment tends to support a particular pattern of development (both positive and negative!). Come and find out whether this holds true for your family.


Gary Samowitz

Changing the world – where do we start?

We have heard the words “Tikkum Olam” (Redeeming the World) but many of us think the task is too big and to hard. Gary Samowitz of Jewish Aid Australia will talk about starting small but making a big difference.


Carvin Knowles

The Man Who Saved Klezmer

Ukranian musicologist Moshe Beregovski made over 1000 wax-cylinder recordings of Klezmer in the 1920s and 30s of Klez in Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Bellarus, transcribing over 250 melodies and doing the first detailed analysis Jewish music, that included a cataloging of scales not used in other parts of “Western” music. Discover this gem of Jewish culture with renowned musician Carvin Knowles. (note: Carvin will be playing Klezmer on Saturday evening from 7.30pm at Café Shesh Besh).



Dov Bing & Normann Simms

Anti-Semitism in Academic Institutions – Past, Present and Future

This Panel will analyse the presence of Anti-Semitism in Universities and  the connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.



Sunday 10.15 – 11.15

Tony Stroobant

Did the Jews kill Jesus? Removing Anti-Semitism from Christian Texts

While there has been huge progress in Jewish-Christian relations since the end of WWII, many- both Christian and Jewish- wonder why this seems to have plateaued over recent years. There are many possible explanations. Tony Stroobant’s recent research suggests one reason is that, year after year, contemporary Christian worship unconsciously reinforces two millennia of Christian anti-Jewishness. While his overall message is aimed at Christians and the church, some in the Jewish community may be interested to know why, while things may appear to change, Christian anti-Jewishness continues to remain much the same….


Beth Shalom Winter Book Club

The People of the Book – Geraldine Brooks

Come and join in with the Beth Shalom Winter Book club to discuss The People of the Book. Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, has turned the intriguing history of the Sarajevo Haggadah into an emotionally rich book.

“A complex love story, thrilling mystery, vivid history lesson, and celebration of the enduring power of ideas, People of the Book will surely be hailed as one of the best of 2008”. –Mari Malcolm (Amazon review)


Lesley Max

The Great Potential of Tikkun Olam

What makes the Jewish approach to education special is not simply that Jews provide education for their children, but that education is a process you undertake with your children. Dame Lesley Max encompasses this approach. Through the Great Potentials Foundation she established she brought the Israeli-developed Home International Programme for Parents and Youngsters (Hippy) to New Zealand and later the Mentoring and Tutoring Education Scheme (Mates). These programmes and Lesley’s other work, including chairing the Parenting Council, demonstrate how education can be a powerful tool for “Repairing the World” (Tikkun Olam).

Dame Lesley Max will talk about how her professional and personal lives have intersected through the Jewish values of education and Tikkun Olam – and how yours can too.

JoEllen Duckor

Workshop for Educators

(Closed session for educators) 

Ittay Flescher

42 Shules, 6 streams of Judaism, 1 God

In the modern state of Israel, synagogues are as plentiful as felafel stands.  Curious about why Israelis need so many different houses of prayer, Ittay Flechser decided to visit as many as possible in one year. He shares with us the fascinating and challenging process of joining these communities in prayer: including the shule with no rabbi, the shule that still sacrifices animals and the shule where every congregant takes part in delivering the dvar Torah.  Join Ittay as he shares his experiences and his insights he gained about God, Jews and the nature of pluralism.


Colin Bulka

More Important than the Peace Process – The Jewishness of the Jewish State

For many, the really crucial issue needing resolution in order to secure the long term future of the Jewish state is not that of peace with the Palestinians, but rather the issue of the relationship of religion and state in Israel. This session will explore, via case studies, discussion and input, different models and visions of the relationship and will ask participants to formulate their own visions.




11.30 – 12.30


Moshe Naor

Studying Together: Parents & Children

The Session will be around the Mitzvah (commandment) of sending away the mother bird (before taking its eggs). Parents & children will learn together through guided questions examining different aspects and implications of this Mitzvah, including how the Mitzvah relates to animal rights. We will start from the text in the Torah and continue to the Mishnah and Talmud as well as touching on some modern thinkers.

Grandparent/child and other combinations welcomed! No prior experience required of either participant!


Limit 20 people.


Jeffrey Cohen

10 Things your Neighbour Should Know about Judaism


Ever wondered what to say when someone asks you what being Jewish means? Join Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen for this quick highlights package about Jews and Judaism – including “who is a Jew?”, different Jewish streams, Jewish vocab and key Jewish concepts. Great for everyone dealing with the non-Jewish/secular world, including teenagers, older kids and those of us who just need a refresher!


Meir Alfassi


What’s Cooking? A Sephardi Rosh HaShanah Delight

This is a hands-on cooking session with Meir Alfassi – you will be preparing (and eating!) a delicious date almond roll suitable for Rosh Hashanah.

Places strictly limited to 10  – sign up when you arrive or email us at EMAIL ADDRESS



Marti Friedlander with Len Bell

A Life in Photos

A conversation between Marti, widely recognized as one of New Zealand’s most celebrated photographers , and Associate Professor Leonard (Len) Bell, whose book, ‘Marti Friedlander’ (Auckland University Press, 2009) has been shortlisted for this year’s New Zealand Post Book Awards. A selection of Marti’s photographs will be shown. Marti and Len will talk about how her Jewish and immigrant background  informed her New Zealand work, as well as discussing photographs she took in Israel. 

Linda Kaye

Psalms as a Path to Personal Prayer

In the Jewish tradition, Psalms are a bridge between Torah and Siddur.

Through the centuries, Jews have read and recited Psalms as both poetry

and prayer, to invoke Divine intervention and comfort in troubled times,

and to express awe, gratitude and joy when our own words feel inadequate.

This session offers an opportunity to explore ways in which each of us can

make Psalms a meaningful part of our personal Jewish spiritual life and

practice. (Some knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet is helpful but not

essential. Texts will be available in English)



Scott Copeland

Zionism: A Fiery Collection of Arguments
Although Zionism has been derided by many, it has been the most influential revolution in modern Jewish life. Our discussion will focus on competing interpretations of Zionism and the outstanding challenges still facing modern Israel.


1.15 – 2.15


Linda Kaye and JoEllen Duckor

Developing Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is a contemplative practice in which a person reflects on the inner life – the unique soul’s journey – through conversation, study, and response, in the company of a trusted guide (“mashpia”). Jewish spiritual direction is grounded in the wisdom of both traditional and contemporary sources. Experience a taste of Jewish Spiritual Direction at an interactive session with Linda Kaye and JoEllen Duckor.



Melanie Landau

An Irresistible Force meets a Movable Object – how feminism transformed Judaism

From changing theological language to women learning Talmud, the last 30 years has seen a blossoming of Jewish feminism impacting on the lives of thousands. This session will give you a taste of this wonderful transformation and a sample of some of its key thinkers.



Dean Shapiro

We Were as Dreamers:  Reading the Jewish Unconscious in Torah

The Torah invites interpretation, but the primary method of literary interpretation of our times—the psychological—has rarely been applied to Jewish sacred texts.  In this session, and using particularly the story of Joseph (the Torah’s own interpreter), Rabbi Dean will offer a new way to read Torah: through a psycho-symbolic lens.  How is the Torah a map of our own psyches?  A journey through text and dream.



Tal Zmiri

You & Me, We Change the World – a Study of Israeli Film

Tal Zmiri examines Israeli cinema over the years of the State, focusing on trends and narratives, and what they say about the state, the people and its culture.



Daniel Pipes

The Threat to Israel’s Existence – Why It’s Back, How to Deal with It

Israel has dealt successfully with many threats, including conventional warfare, terrorism, economic boycotts, and demographics. Other than Iranian nuclear weapons, the main challenge today consists of delegitimation; led by Islamists, Palestinians, and far-leftists, from U.N. resolutions to professors of Middle East studies and flotillas, voices far and near are coming out against the continued existence of a Jewish state. Why, after not hearing such voices for years, are they back and with such intensity? What do these new dangers mean for Israel? How should Israel and Western states respond?



2.30 – 3.30


Bronwen Klippel & Philip Gluckman

Through My Grandmother’s Eyes: Ann Gluckman’s Postcards from Tukums (Latvia)

Ann Gluckman’s new book Postcards from Tukums: A Family Detective Story tells the story of her grandparents Adolf and Yetta Manoy and their three young daughters who came from Tukums, Latvia   in the first years of the 20th century and settled in Stratford ,Taranaki. It is  based on letters Augusta Klippel, Ann’s mother,  wrote while studying medicine at Otago Medical School , travelling in Europe,  and the early years of her marriage,  and an oral history recorded by Shirley Ross shortly before Augusta  died in 1989. The postcards in the title refers to 90 recently-discovered postcards sent from Latvia to Ann’s grandparents and aunts in Taranaki between 1908 and 1916. These cards which are fully reproduced in the book, and were translated from German, Russian and Hebrew, enabled Ann to reconstruct the previously unknown story of a family from Kurland.


Join two of Augusta’s grandchildren, Bronwen Klippel and Philip Gluckman, to explore their family history and the fascinating world of Latvian Jewry in the early part of last century as revealed in Ann’s book.



Justine Hitchcock and Meital Asher – Naor

1.5 Million Buttons: Talking to your Kids About the Holocaust

We know we have to talk to our kids about the Holocaust – but for many of us it is a difficult, and painful, subject to deal with ourselves, let alone discuss with our kids. Justine Hitchcock, as Principal of Moriah, drove the school’s successful project to collect 1.5 million buttons in memory of the children who died in the Holocaust. Meital Asher-Naor has a specialist interest in Holocaust education, including working at Yad Vashem.  Come and join the discussion on when and how to talk to kids about the Holocaust.



Paul Turner

Why We Should Worship Idols – A Jewish Approach to Religious Education?

How should we teach Judaism? Can texts be taught in isolation without practice? Is the best model one that involves experiencing Yiddishkeit without needing to understand the literary tradition behind it? When the Israelites accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai, they said Na’aseh Venishma – we will do and then we will listen. Was this a mistake? Using a variety of sources, we will discuss the truth behind the Mount Sinai events.



Jo Goldstein, Daniel Meyrowitz and Gavin Beinart-Smollan

Confronting Modernity: Four Historical Perspectives

Today, when most people think modern Jewish history, they think ‘Holocaust’ and ‘Israel’. But our identity as ‘modern’ Jews can be traced back further than that – to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when Jewish traditions that had existed for thousands of years were confronted by the overwhelming forces of modernity. It was this clash between the forces of tradition and modernity that continues to define our Jewish identities today. Come and hear four different perspectives on the world-changing social, political, religious and cultural changes that young Jews were experiencing during this exciting time, and find out why you do what you do today.



Ittay Flescher

Turning baseless hatred into mutual respect: Lessons from the Rabin Assassination

When sentencing Yigal Amir for the murder of Yitzchak Rabin, Judge Edmund Levi said “The fact that such a wild growth could sprout from within our midst, requires us to examine which parts of Israel’s educational system failed in not successfully imparting and establishing the foundations of democracy into elements of the younger generation.” The session aims to explore what type of education would be required to prevent further bloodshed between Jews in the State of Israel.



Donna Jacobs Sife

Moses & the Burning Bush – a text/drama Experience

What kind of man was Moses and what does he have to say to us about our own lives and psyches?  This workshop dabbles in the psychological , the

mystical, and the symbolism of our greatest leader, through Torah, stories,

creative writing, personal reflection, and inspiration.


3.35 – 4.45


Melanie Landau

Bruria – The first woman Talmudic Scholar: What the Rabbis Thought

As the only women attributed to a legal opinion in rabbinic sources, Bruria deserves attention. This session will explore rabbinic representation of her, how she is represented as challenging dominant paradigms of gender hierarchy, and how she is represented as reinforcing those same paradigms.



JoEllen Duckor with Deb Levy

Looking Back, Looking Forward

JoEllen Duckor have spent many years, both professionally and as volunteers, involved in issues affecting the New Zealand Jewish community. They will discuss issues affecting the future of the community and share with us their insights and vision. Moderated by Deb Levy.

Ronit Netzer

Gefilte Fish for Dummies

Never thought you could make gefilte fish – or not sure you wanted to try? In this hands-on cooking session with Ronit Netzer you’ll learn to make fabulous gefilte fish in just an hour!

Places strictly limited to 10  – sign up when you arrive or email us at EMAIL ADDRESS



Gary Samowitz

Engaging Gen Y: Challenges & Opportunities

Why are we struggling to excite the next generation about being committed and proud Jews? In an era of individualism, secularism and materialism, it seems that religious and nationalist identities are difficult to nurture and cultivate. Gary Samowitz will explore the issues and possible solutions.



The Shechita Debate

Rabbi Boruch Zaichyk, Sam Bookman, Leon Goldwater and Linda Kaye.

An Orthodox Rabbi, an Orthodox vegetarian, a Progressive vet and an eco-kashrut activist debate the Shechita issue.




5.00 – 6.00


Dean Shapiro & Shmuel Kopel

Two Rabbis: Sharing & Comparing Inspirational Jewish texts

Rabbis Kopel and Shapiro come from wildly different Jewish backgrounds—Kopel from a Chabad community in Brooklyn, New York, and Shapiro from a secular family in Los Angeles.  Yet they share a passion for Judaism, and have come to New Zealand to serve the Jewish people.

Text is central to the Jewish experience.  Eavesdrop on two rabbis from very different ideologies and backgrounds as they share, compare and discuss the Jewish texts that inspire them most.  What sources do they draw upon?  How do they understand the words, and integrate them into their lives and rabbinates?


Cafe Dilemma

Come and join a selection of our international and local speakers, each of whom will facilitate a round-table discussion on a Jewish dilemma.




Monday August 23


9.00- 10.00


Luca Quaglia

Secrets & Mysteries: The Jewish Calendar

The Jewish Calendar controls affects our religious lives but very few people understand its intricacies. Find out about the concept of Jewish time (yes really!), about the origin of the calendar in the Torah and its astronomical bases, its mathematical principles and consequences. Plus the 4 gates, the 14 types of year and the distribution of Torah readings through the year.



Ittay Flescher

Music as Midrash: Jacob’s Ladder meets Bob Dylan

Using the well-known text from Genesis recounting Jacob’s ladder to the heavens as a starting point, this session provides an opportunity for a new experience of Torah learning. Participants will explore one biblical text in detail, working to uncover the many gaps in the story that are crying out, “Darsheini” – “Interpret me”. Through the use of live acoustic music and the poetry of the great Bob Dylan, midrash will be created.[1]



Marti Friedlander – A Passionate Eye

Screening of Shirley Horrock’s documentary


10.15 – 11.15


Evelyn Jaffe with Sue Berman

No Way to Say Goodbye – the Jewish Community of Bolivia

This session will explore the story of Evelyn Jaffe’s personal family history and the connection with the changing Jewish community of Cochabamba, Bolivia.

At the dawn of the Holocaust Bolivia was one of the only countries in the world to allow Jews into its doors. Since the community’s heyday in the forties and fifties many people have moved away seeking better educational and economic opportunities and larger Jewish communities abroad. The short film No Way to Say Goodbye tells how there were once 10,000 Jews in Bolivia and today there are less than 500. Through a mix of dialogue, film and archival materials Evelyn Jaffe will share with Sue Berman and the audience her family’s journey to Bolivia in 1939 ,the experience of growing up in Bolivia and the complexities of Jewish identity.


Chris Milton

Spiritual Development of the Child

The development of spirituality is both a personal and interpersonal trajectory towards expansiveness of mind – mochin gadlut. There is now neuroscientific research to show that mochin gadlut is reflected in brain activity. Studies of children have established that children from different religious backgrounds talk about, and experience, spirituality in different ways. How do children generally, and Jewish children specifically, begin this journey to mochin gadlut?


Moshe Naor

4 things I learnt from Luke (Skywalker)

In this session we will learn about the good and bad, about the G-d and the devil, we will experience a true journey of self-discovery. We will deal with theological issues and philosophical issues from different sources and fields.



11.30 – 12.30


Debbie Miller

The Tikkun Olam Imperative:  What do Jewish Texts and Thinkers Say?

Lets look at Deeds of Loving Kindness (chesed) with the biblical example of Ruth, the 8 levels of tzedakah as laid down by the Rambam and the Musar movement as put forth by Rabbi Israel Salanter and Reb Nahum of Bratslav ways of fixing the world. What do they say to us and how can we translate them into our lives?


Meital Asher-Naor

What’s love got to do with it?

Join Meital Asher-Naor on a journey through Jewish sources from our forefathers’ stories to modern poetry,  in order to seek a definition of love,  its place in relationships and the family, and see how it is reflected in the Jewish world.


Paul Turner

One God: A Limmud Chavruta experience

The ultimate interactive Jewish experience and a highlight at Limmud events across the globe. Study, with a partner, a variety of sources on the theme of Echad – One God. If God created everything, did God create idolatry? How do Jewish mystics view the oneness of God? Can Judaism tolerate other religions? Bring a partner or find one when you come. There will be facilitators to help you on your journey with the texts.




1.15 – 2.15


Melanie Landau

Returning to Your True Self:  Rav Kook on Teshuvah

Every human has the capacity to change, we can even change our history through -teshuvah- returning to the truth of who we are and the magnitude of our potential for creativity and love. This session will explore these ideas through the deep teachings of Rav Kook (1865-1935). A wonderful way to prepare yourself for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the High Holy Days.


Scott Copeland

Priests, Prophets, & the IPad:  What makes a Visionary Leader?

We live in complex, dynamic times. What kinds of challenges face the Jewish world and what kinds of leaders are needed to face those challenges? Through a number of current examples and texts – both ancient and modern, Jewish and non-Jewish, we will discuss the role of vision in modern Jewish life


Donna Jacobs Sife

Text Drama: The Story of Jacob & the Angel

Donna Jacobs Sife brings the story of Jacob & the Angel to life with a mixture of storytelling, performance art and audience participation.


2.30 – 3.30


Carvin Knowles

How Jews Invented Movie Music

Join us on a journey through music by Jewish composers: From Max Steiner’s 1932 score for King Kong, to Bernard Herrman’s suspenseful music for Hitchcock to Jerry Goldsmith’s avant garde score for Planet of the Apes, Jews have been, and remain, on the cutting edge of inventing and reinventing the music of the movies. (note: Carvin will be playing Klezmer on Saturday evening from 7.30pm at Café Shesh Besh).



Taghi Derhamy, Bruce Keeley & Melanie Landau

Exploring Identity:  One Muslim, One Christian, One Jew, One Room

Join Seyyed Taghi Derhamy, Reverend Bruce Keeley and Dr Melanie Landau – each leaders in aspects of their religious communities – in discussion on how their religious identity developed and continues to manifest itself. In this session we will explore both the differences and similarities in religious identity and expression.



Boruch Zaichyk

The Here and the Hereafter

An  analysis of the Halachic and Kabbalistic view of the Hereafter in view of the High Holida An  analysis of the Halachic and Kabbalistic view of the Hereafter in view of the High Holidays of introspection and retrospectionys of introspection and retrospection




3.45 – 4.45


Shmuel Kopel

Love your Fellow as Yourself: is it Possible?

Is it really possible to love others as we love ourselves? What does the Jewish mystical tradition have to say about this struggle? Join Rabbi Shmuel Kopel on a psychological journey based on mystical teachings.


Scott Copeland

Zionism: A Fiery Collection of Arguments

Although Zionism has been derided by many, it has been the most influential revolution in modern Jewish life. Our discussion will focus on competing interpretations of Zionism and the outstanding challenges still facing modern Israel.


No Way to Say Goodbye – the Jewish Community of Bolivia

Screening of the documentary introduced by Evelyn Jaffe



[1] Session excerpt from Limmud Oz 2007: