The Mini Limmud conference is a large educational and entertainment event for Jewish families. The three-day program with overnight stays and entertainment at a hotel was instituted so that everyone might find something of interest and importance in learning about Jewish history, traditions, religion, Yiddish culture and current events. This year the organizer was Žana Skudovičienė. Responses by participants were positive and they expressed their thanks as well as a preference for more interesting speakers next year. Organizer Skudovičienė said they hadn’t been able to invite all the speakers they wanted this year.
“It’s hard for me to evaluate my success because this was the first year I was the organizer,” Skudovičienė said. “Junona Berznitski organized all the earlier Limmuds and I just participated as an MC, and I just had to worry about my clothes and appearance, create some scenes and write a text. But now it was a great challenge for me. I met all the potential speakers and selected only the most interesting people. These all agreed to participate, but there were others who wanted to participate but couldn’t because of plans made earlier. People requested we get reporter Viktor Topaller but everything was limited by funding. We were in touch with Viktoras Šenderovičius who wanted to come but couldn’t, but plans to next time. I wanted to find more Judaism and Jewish history experts, not necessarily from outside the country. Giedrius Jakubauskis delivered an extremely interesting presentation. Attendees were happy with the presentation of Saulius Šaltenis’s new book “Žydų Karalaitės dienoraštis” [“Diary of a Jewish Princess”]. They bought up all the copies of the book brought to Limmud, and we might have brought more from the publisher.”
Conference participants enjoyed meeting Israel’s ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon and were eager to learn about Israeli current events. There was a real discussion and people were concerned with why Israel always seems to be at the losing end of the propaganda war in the media. There wasn’t enough time for a comprehensive answer from the ambassador, but we hope to continue this discussion at the Community.
Žana Skudovičienė spoke about the other encounters at the conference as well: “Daumantas Todesas presented a memorable project called ‘Last Known Address and the Shtetls.’ I would call the meeting with Kama Ginkas truly moving. He was rescued from the Kaunas ghetto in a bag of potatoes. The Binkis family hid him. This was the occasion for presenting the book “Smuggled in Potato Sacks” edited by Solomon Abramovich and Yakov Zilberg. The conference became a venue for a moving reunion of Kama Ginkas and Sofija Iga Makutėnienė, the granddaughter of Kazys and Sofija Binkis, who hadn’t seen one another in many decades. They lit Hanukkah candles together and the entire assembly stood and applauded.
Many children of various ages also attended Limmud and there were lessons and games held especially for them. Forty children from Lithuanian Jewish Community member families attended the first day and 60 the second day.
Limmud has always been more than just an interesting conference. It’s always been about Jewish families making meaningful contact. The children play, draw, dance and get to know people their own ages while the parents spend time with old and good friends. Four hundred people attended the Hanukkah dinner on the second day of the conference.
The Joint Distribution Committee has supported the Limmud conference since its inception and this year the Good Will Foundation also contributed.