Organisers of the 2020 Bereishit Conference at the end of December have labelled it a success after final viewing figures showed “phenomenal” interest in the online sessions.
Among the keynote speakers were South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, UK Government advisor Lord John Mann, and Danny Limor, the Mossad agent whose elaborate undercover operation helped bring thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
Participants, including many in care homes, were able to choose sessions of interest from four “tracks”, including Jewish horizons, text, Jewish practice, and relationships.
Aptly for the forthcoming national coronavirus lockdown, there was also an evening course for young families offering “tools for developing genuine happiness”.
Other sessions featured leading lawyer James Libson, refusenik Yosef Mendelewitz, Hatzalah’s Eli Beer, nurse and cancer survivor Libbie Goldstein, and the United Synagogue’s Rabbi Nicky Liss addressing shul changes in light of the pandemic.
There was also a special session to remember the life and contribution of former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who died late last year.
“Developing an online conference in the Covid era was not a simple task,” said Rabbi Daniel Fine, “but with the help of amazing partners we managed to create a programme that left people with concrete inspiration and positive tools to put into practice.
“To navigate people watching it live, some preferring catch-up, breakout rooms and the like was not easy, but the positive feedback was overwhelming.”
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