Tag: limmud

Every Limmud panel discussion that you missed

In this year’s Limmud sketch, we comfort those of you who missed out on a much-desired panel discussion with this summary of what happened.

Chair: How should we deal with that incredibly complex thing that everybody wants solved but all the possible solutions of which make some people very angry? Let me start with Anna Lovelace, from the Campaign for Total Peace.

Anna: I believe in a harmonious solution to the problem, reliant on Jewish values of sh’lom bayit [interrupted by cries of “traitor” from the floor] and co-operation between Jews and non-Jews in the region [drowned out by yells of “collaborator” and bits of fruit peel and fish bones being thrown]

Chair: Now let’s hear the case from Stuart Cossey from the Truth and Fairness Alliance.

Stuart: We have to start from the position that the Jews are not at fault here, or anywhere. What is at fault is a global determination to be biased and share falsehoods akin to the classic blood libel [brief scratching sound as everyone in the audience under the age of 30 crosses “blood libel” off their Bullshit Bingo sheets], most likely fuelled by Islamist Labour Party members [subtle tapping sound as everyone in the audience under the age of 30 takes the mickey on Twitter or, for the more discreet, WhatsApp]

Chair: Let me bring Anthony Linter in here, Emeritus Professor of Topics at Ramphal University.

Anthony: Well, my team and I have been researching this issue for a number of years, and we’ve established some clear facts to guide the conversation. These are [loud snoring noise as the 95% of the audience who only got out of bed at 9:15 because they thought they’d get to hear a broiges realise that this is a good chance to sleep off the exertions of the night before]

Chair: Let’s open it up to questions from the floor [collective jump as the words “who would like to make a short speech” wake everyone up – these words were not actually said but hey, it’s Limmud] It would be great if we could keep all the questions brief and specific [everyone present was mentally speechwriting so didn’t hear this instruction] Yes, you sir, in the IDF kippah [extended disputation over which IDF-kippah-wearing man is allowed to speak]

A man in an IDF kippah: Wagamama is an institutionally anti-Semitic organisation.

Chair: Do you want to rephrase that as a question relevant to this session?

Man in an IDF kippah: Not really.

Chair: OK. Well… we’ll take questions in groups. So, you madam, with the glasses [extended disputation etc ad nauseam]

A woman with glasses who wasn’t the one the chair intended to speak: This isn’t a question as such [chair balks] but I just want to share a fascinating episode from my family history. My great-aunt Jemima was the Vilna Ga’on, and while she was imprisoned in Treblinka by the Irgun, she once shared a kiddish cup with [the 70% of the audience who are not genealogists nod off again]

Chair: [speaking over her because no force on this earth can interrupt the story] Can you bring your question to a conclusion please?

Woman with glasses: [who was speaking the whole time] …about how Hamas killed Queen Victoria?

Chair: Erm… Anthony?

Anthony: Actually, a project my team at Ramphal University carried out in 2009 found conclusively that the current time is 10:22 so it’s now time to finish this session.

Chair: [almost incandescent with relief] Well, thank you very much to our panellists, thank you to [slight shudder] the audience, and we hope you enjoy the rest of the day!

No queues please, we’re Jewish: a Limmud sketch

Limmud has a meat dining room. It opens at 6pm each evening and, being much smaller than the regular dining room, participants are only allowed to eat there on one of the four nights of Conference (a token must be handed in for the privilege). On other occasions we’re sentenced to the cavernous main dining room and a tragic life un-meated.

Last night I went for my meat dinner. This is the story of what happened.

5:45pm – join queue, about five metres long.

5.46pm – elderly couple from Manchester casually stroll down the corridor, get into a chat with the family in front of me. Overhear a conversation, “Will the pork be glatt kosher?”

5.48pm – elderly couple from Manchester begin drifting forward in the queue, keeping up with the family in front.

5.51pm – elderly couple from Manchester are now basically fully ensconced ahead of me in the queue. Classic chat-and-cut manoeuvre and very artfully executed (as, no doubt, the animals being served inside were).

5.55pm – queue reaches far end of corridor. Overhear a conversation: “We don’t use the term ‘annexation’. We use the term ‘extending civilian control’.”

5.56pm – queue begins bending back on itself in an Escher-like spiral, so those who have been waiting for 10 minutes begin to rub shoulders with those who only just turned up.

5.58pm – queue-jumpers turn out in droves.

5.59pm – all distinctions between the two columns of the doubled-up queue totally break down. Family members who had had ‘places saved for them’ begin arriving; queue officially begins growing in width rather than length.

6pm – meat dining room opens bang on time in orderly fashion. Oh no wait, that’s what would happen if we were an orderly people. Just my little joke. Overhear a conversation, “I was listening in and I was just astonished at how fascist she was!”

6.04pm – people at the back of the queue(s) assume that the dining room must be open by now so start pressing forward.

6.05pm – doors of dining room buckle dangerously inwards.

6.06pm – dining room opens. People who had been at the front leaning on the doors fall into the room in comical style.

6.07pm – people file in.

6.08pm – proceedings grind to a halt as it transpires that 20-30% of those in the queue don’t have their meat meal tokens but want their extenuating circumstances to be considered in depth by the bemused teenage volunteers desperately trying to maintain order and a monopoly on the legitimate use of force.

6.16pm – admitted to dining room. Enter clever one-way system around the self-service food counters.

6.19pm – successfully compile meal. Wait patiently to leave one-way system.

6.20pm – wait patiently to leave one-way system.

6.21pm – wait patiently to leave one-way system.

6.22pm – wait patiently to leave one-way system.

6.23pm – wait to leave one-way system.

6.25pm – realise that both ends of one-way system converge on one narrow thoroughfare.

6.26pm – violate the Highway Code’s rules on box junctions and force my way out of the labyrinth. Take a seat near the entrance.

6.31pm – realise that sitting near the entrance is like living in a show-flat and everyone walking in peers closely at my plate for a sneak preview of the meal (it was Chinese themed as it happens, as people discovered by Peking at my plate).

6.32pm – FOOD!

PS: I do love Limmud though.