Limmud opened its first-ever Jewish identity conference in Macedonia, drawing participants from other former Yugoslavian countries.
The Nov. 1 opening brought together a crowd of 500 Jews, twice Macedonia’s estimated Jewish population of 250, according to Dina Sosberger, who organized the four-day conference for Limmud Keshet-XU, which holds conferences in the former Yugoslavia as part of Limmud International.
“Limmud conferences are an opportunity for the Jewish communities of the former Yugoslavia to stay connected,” she told JTA.
Croatia and Serbia have a combined Jewish population of about 5,000, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Slovenia, like Macedonia, have a few hundred Jews each.
The conference featured 30 speakers, most from the former Yugoslavia.
“It was important for us to include as many local speakers as possible, to encourage local leadership,” said Sosberger, who organized Limmud Macedonia in cooperation with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
“In small and relatively isolated communities like ours, Limmud has a huge impact,” she said.
The Macedonia Limmud conference does not have a specific theme, she added, but tries to cover “all elements of what it means to have a Jewish identity.”
Limmud was launched in Britain some 30 years ago.
Limmud International is now active in approximately 60 Jewish communities in 26 countries, including where it takes the form of annual conferences and other Jewish educational programs ranging from Jewish cooking to Jewish communities’ relationships with Israel.