Over the 25th/26th of August, around 310 people attend LIMMUD 2018, the annual Jewish Festival of Learning! And what a Festival it was! A range of engaging speakers, great food and coffee, schmoozing everywhere, and a Saturday evening concert were the ingredients for a memorable and magical weekend.

If you attended, LIMMUD would love your feedback. Please fill in an online survey form here.

If you missed out on what is a highlight in NZ’s Jewish Calendar, start organising now for next year! Put in place a savings plan to save for ticket, and for any travel/accommodation you might need. Remember, tickets are half-price for people living in the South Island.

LIMMUD would love to see 400 people come next year, so please consider coming! They’d love to see more Israeli’s, young people and people from small Jewish Kiwi Communities attending.

(Saturday Havdalah gathering)

This event couldn’t happen without the support of a large group of volunteers, with a core group of Steering Committee volunteers. If you are keen to see this event happen, please consider supporting this event by donating some time. There are a range of roles, from overall organisation, to specifically assisting with cooking for example, so send LIMMUD an email detailing your interest.


Recently reading an online BBC article about new Israeli cuisine, I discovered that cheese was made in ancient Israel using the sap from a fig leaf or tree. The sap acts as a rennet. This makes sense – making food from what you have around you, and fig trees were plentiful in ancient times.

Trying to find kosher rennet in NZ is impossible; there are supplies from Australia, but it’s expensive. So using fig sap is easier, is kosher, and is more readily available here in NZ. Of course, being the foodie I am I naturally had to try this, so we got some raw milk in, and tried it out!

It worked! The cheese above had a ricotta like texture but was more dense than ricotta. Now that Spring is here and milk supply is better (cows dry off over winter), we’ll be looking to experiment more with doing this. If you are interested in working with the Library to develop this idea, let me know and let’s see if we can get a small kosher cheese industry off the ground here in NZ.

Old Jerusalem

Recently a RFL Library Trustee returned from Israel with reproduction photos from the early 1920s, and 1930s of scenes from Old Jerusalem, including a famous photograph of laying the foundation stone for the Hebrew University. We framed these and hung them up in the Library – they look fantastic, and give you a wee glimpse of life in Israel pre-WWII. Take the time to study them and think about the history seen in each photo, and if you want to know more, we have lots of BOOKS on the subject in the Library, for example;

Rosh Hashannah

As part of the High Holidays the shofar is blown. The photo below shows a particular breed of sheep with horns, living on a hobby farm in the north.

It was from this farm that we gathered a small supply of horns to be used to create shofar here at the Library, as part of the High Holidays activities.
And it’s this small farm that made us think of creating a domestic shofar making industry. What do you think?

New Books

“From the 1930s through the 1950s, a substantial number of forced migrants – refugees from Nazism, displaced people after World War II and escapees from Communist countries – arrived in New Zealand from Europe. Among them were an extraordinary group of artists and writers, photographers and architects whose European modernism radically reshaped the arts in this country.”


Our annual Whiskey tasting was a successful affair, with a range of whiskey’s available for tasting, and around 20 people attending.

If you are interested in attending next winter’s Whiskey Tasting, be sure to keep an eye on the Raye Freedman Library and Community Centre Facebook page where we announce the date of the event.Dunedin

If you live in Dunedin, or know someone Jewish who does, check out this opportunity! From the organiser:

We will gather together fortnightly on Sundays at a designated location for a picnic lunch and a hike or other outdoors activity. Whenever possible, we will endeavour to select a location that provides multiple options suitable for various levels of fitness.

To confirm that the event is going ahead and to find out location, please call 021 038 5311 or check the facebook page for update.

Please feel free to make suggestions for activities and areas to explore. We can also consider mountain bike rides, water sports in the summer etc.


Over the winter we had our Winter Film Nights. Four films were shown over Sunday nights – we turned our hall into a mini-movie theatre. All were Israeli films, dealing with a variety of subjects; music, inter-generational conflict or coping with growing old. But it was the film about the death of a young man that easily was the best of the lot.

“A Week and a Day” focuses on a day immediately after Shiva, where the parents seek to re-enter the world. This is a beautifully modulated film, where the plot and character’s developments are exquisitely timed and shot, sometimes with minimal dialogue. This is a film to seek out, and is available to rent at the link above.

We will have Spring Movie series after the High Holidays, details to be announced on our Facebook Page.

Of course, if you are in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane or Perth anytime between  23 Oct – 21 Nov, then consider checking out the Jewish International Film Festival 2018 Festival.


A review of the Children’s section resulted in a pile of withdrawn books. Over the past few months I’ve been mailing these out in response to Facebook posts. I’ve mailed out quite a few now (there were a lot of withdrawn books), as well as mailing out PJ Library books that I have.

So you can imagine my surprise to receive this beautifully hand made card, with some chocolates, from young Ester who appreciated the books! Thank you Ester, it’s my privilege to support your development and growth!
Wishing you and your family, and friends, Shanah Tovah Umetukah!Christopher
Raye Freedman Library