Limmud Colorado began as an idea in 2006, with the goal of fostering cross-communal conversation, Jewish engagement, and Jewish learning. In so many ways, Limmud Colorado succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. From our first weekend conference at Keystone in May 2008, to our last full conference in 2013, every year Limmud Colorado brought together hundreds of Jews, their families, and friends from throughout Colorado and throughout the world. Many participants and volunteers in our programs would never have studied together, eaten together, prayed together, or socialized together had it not been for Limmud Colorado. Our families and our communities are all richer for those connections.
Through our annual conferences, we contributed to a more vibrant and more integrated fabric of Jewish life in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. In addition to the community created around the annual conferences, and through the other year-round programs, events and planning meetings, Limmud Colorado also inspired so many of you to start your own projects, to volunteer, and to bring some of the core values of Limmud into your daily lives and your communities.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to inspire a large enough and stable enough core community of volunteers to plan and run our annual conference, and each year we ended up with a small, passionate group of individuals doing the work of many. That model was not sustainable, and more important, it didn’t fit with the vision of Limmud as a community-led experience with content inspired by the entire community. We know so many of you have loved participating in Limmud and learning at Limmud events. But without the year-round commitment of a solid group of dedicated volunteers, the annual conferences were becoming too stressful for those intimately involved in planning them and were not reflecting the Limmud commitment to grassroots leadership.
After having many conversations with key Limmud Colorado leaders, funders, supporters, and friends, we came to the decision to close the organization. We make this announcement with sadness, but also with joy at all we have accomplished together. We began sharing this news with key stakeholders in late summer 2014 and did not want to end the year without sending this news to all of our past participants and friends.
When we made this difficult decision, Limmud Colorado was in the fortunate position of having funds remaining in its accounts and, with the blessing of our major funders, we have distributed Limmud Colorado’s assets to a small group of selected organizations who have previously received Limmud-inspired Jewish learning grants (via Rose Community Foundation) and/or have shown their ability to transform Jewish life in the region, and to foster volunteerism and community engagement. In addition, once we settle all the final logistical details required to close down the organization, we will be giving the remainder of our funds to Limmud International as a thank you for all of their support over the years.
To all of you who have been part of the Limmud Colorado community, thank you for your contributions to our successes and for being a part of this wonderful journey. A special thank you to our generous funders, including the foundations and the many individual donors who believed in the Limmud vision. And thank you to all those who gave their time and energy as volunteers to make Limmud Colorado such a success.
We look forward to continuing to engage with a Colorado Jewish community that remains passionate about learning, dedicated to dialogue, and open to learning with and from each other.
Gregg Drinkwater, David Shneer, Ed Sitver, and Cynthia Weinger