COVID-19 caution leads to postponement of LimmudFest New Orleans

With increasing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, “out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of the New Orleans community,” LimmudFest New Orleans is being postponed.

Held every two years, the “big tent” of Jewish learning was scheduled for the weekend of March 20 to 22 at Gates of Prayer in Metairie and the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans. In past years, about 400 have attended the weekend, with around 90 presenters from the local community and around the country teaching sessions on a range of topics.

Dana Keren, chair of LimmudFest 2020, said the committee is working on picking a date in March 2021 to reschedule.

“This decision was not easy,” Keren said in a note to presenters today. “LimmudFest is an important Big Tent Jewish festival of learning, community and culture in New Orleans, and we have spent the last year planning and preparing for it.”

Thanking those who had worked to plan the weekend, she added, “We are deeply disappointed to not have the opportunity to come together as a community at this time.” The New Orleans festival includes all of the community’s congregations having Shabbat services of different styles under one roof, then uniting for Shabbat meals.

In recent days, numerous congregations in the region have sent out guidelines about public events and interacting with each other, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.

A death from COVID-19 was reported in Pensacola, but thus far there have been no confirmed cases in Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama. The Louisiana Department of Health announced this morning that there have been 11 individuals tested in Louisiana; all came back negative.

Earlier today, the AT&T building in downtown Nashville, known unofficially as the Batman Building, was closing for cleaning after a confirmed case of COVID-19 by an occupant.