SVARA is a traditionally radical yeshiva dedicated to the serious study of Talmud through the lens of queer experiences. SVARA’s unique pedagogy makes Talmud study in the original accessible—for the first time in Jewish history—to all who want to learn. At SVARA, everyone—queer, straight, trans, alef-bet beginners, experienced talmudists, secular, religious, Jews, non-Jews—everyone learns together in a mixed-level bet midrash that recognizes as crucial the insights of all those on the margins.
Our yeshiva is named for a 2,000-year-old talmudic term, meaning “moral intuition.” Svara is the only source of law that can overturn even the Torah itself. SVARA’s work follows the direction of Chazal, the Rabbis of the Talmud, who were willing to make radical moves—sometimes uprooting the Torah itself—to make Judaism more meaningful, compassionate, and responsive to the human condition. When you have svara (moral intuition) and gemara (learning), you are qualified to be a player, changemaker, and radical innovator in the Jewish project and the world at large.
SVARA’s mission is to empower queer and trans people to expand Torah and tradition through the spiritual practice of Talmud study.
SVARA envisions a future in which liberatory expressions of Judaism equip individuals and communities to realize a just and healed world.
We believe that the spiritual practice of Talmud study, particularly as it’s done at SVARA, shapes learners into the kind of people who are moved to, equipped to, and courageous enough to, bring about a more just and equitable world. Through our strategic focus areas, we support a growing base of people for whom Talmud study is a transformative spiritual practice, a roadmap for making radical change rooted in tradition, and the grounding force behind a bet midrash-centered movement made up of leaders of the Jewish future.