Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky will participate for the first time this year in Limmud, the five-day festival of Jewish learning and culture that takes place in Britain during the week of Christmas.
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Sharansky is the highest-ranking Israeli dignitary to participate in the international event.
Several weeks ago, it was announced that Ephraim Mirvis, the newly inaugurated chief rabbi of the UK, would also be attending.
His predecessor, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, had never attended during his 22-year tenure as chief rabbi.
The ultra-Orthodox oppose the participation of Orthodox rabbis at the conference because it promotes Jewish pluralism.
The annual conference is expected to attract 2,500 participants this year from all Jewish affiliations.
In a press statement, Sharansky said: “Limmud makes a major contribution to inspirational Jewish learning around the globe. I look forward to experiencing the Limmud magic where it all began, at Limmud Conference, and meeting the thousands of Jews from the UK and communities all over the world who transcend communal, age, gender and international boundaries to learn and teach together.”
The conference will take place December 22-26 at the University of Warwick in Coventry.
Since the first Limmud conference was held in the UK in 1980, it has branched out into 30 countries and more than 65 communities. This week, the first Limmud India drew Jews from across the subcontinent, and in mid-October more than a quarter of Peru’s Jewish community attended the first Limmud Peru.