Limmud program debuts in Chile

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Some 500 people participated in the first Limmud educational experience in Chile.

Limud Chile was held in the capital of Santiago on Sunday at the Chaim Weizmann Hebrew Institute with more than 30 sessions, panels and workshops. Some 60 children also participated in programs designed for them at the daylong Jewish learning festival.

“The core volunteer team succeeded in creating a pluralistic framework which included even Jews who until now were only tenuously affiliated,” said Viviana Kremer, a Limud Buenos Aires volunteer who imported the Limmud model when she moved with her family to Santiago two years ago.

Some 85 percent of Chile’s 15,000 Jews live in Santiago. The community can trace its roots to Conversos, Jews forcibly converted to Catholicism who secretly continued to practice Judaism who accompanied the earliest explorers from Spain. The persecution of Conversos ceased when the country gained formal independence from Spain in 1818, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.

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Limmud, which means learning in Hebrew, has held events in over 40 countries on six continents since its founding in Britain in 1980.

The last year has seen inaugural Limmud events in Haifa and Tel Aviv, Israel; Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Uruguay; Mar del Plata in Argentina; and Phoenix, Arizona.

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