Secular and religious scholars came together at the end of last month for Oxford University Chabad Society’s first Yom Limmud.
A diverse group of speakers lectured to an audience of community members, students and academic staff on a wide range of subjects including Jewish law, mysticism, women in Judaism, the philosophy of religion, literature and philosophy.
Rabbi Chaim Rapoport – who holds the Jewish medical ethics portfolio in the UK Chief Rabbi’s cabinet – spoke on the dynamics of decision making in Jewish law discussing the issue of cosmetic surgery.
The subjects of Jewish mysticism and philosophy were discussed by Dr. Naftali Loewenthal, Dr. Israel Sandman – both academics at University College London – and Dani Rabinowitz – a PhD student at Oxford.
Prof Ritchie Robertson – a specialist in German literature – spoke about German Jewish literature between the world wars.
Participants attended from the local area and as far afield as London.
In addition to the lectures and a full children’s programme, attendees were offered the opportunity to take a tour of medieval Jewish sites in Oxford as well as view a special Hebraica collection at St. John’s College library which included the works of the Zohar, Maimonides and Abrabranel.
“The conference was a real success and I heard several people asking whether there will be another one and when,” said Philippe Petrov, a DPhil candidate in neurosciences at Oxford.
Local resident, David Hearn, also complimented the lectures.
“They were energizing, passionate and the structure and illustration were excellent. Overall, a great day! We would like more of such programmes in the future.”
Rabbi Eli Brackman, director of Oxford University Chabad Society, predicts that with the success of this conference and the planning more in the future.
“We look forward to the beginning of a new era of Jewish study for Oxford Jewry and students and for the UK Jewish community as a whole.”