At SVARA we seek to raise up queer and radical players—bold and courageous teachers, transformers, and transmitters of Jewish tradition. SVARA-trained teachers emerge with a new lens through which to view the Talmud. They understand that Judaism’s approach to creating fully realized human beings requires them to be flexible in the face of rapid change. They question and challenge the status quo. They recognize the centrality of moral intuition (svara) in the past and future development of the Jewish tradition, see themselves and their students as active “players” in the evolution of the Jewish tradition, and embrace the potential of upending the traditional educational power dynamic, shifting the focal point from teacher, to learner.
There are many kinds of people who teach using the SVARA method, ranging from students who are seeking to share their learning practice to faculty members who broadly represent the SVARA yeshiva community in their teaching. Below is a description of the kinds of teachers you might find facilitating a SVARA-method bet midrash!
Grassroots Bet Midrash Leaders & Teachers are SVARA learners who are passionate about sharing their learning practice with their communities. These folks typically have at least three years of experience as Talmud learners, have spent time in the SVARA bet midrash—on retreats or in ongoing community learning spaces)—and want to share their learning by establishing a SVARA-method learning space. Many Grassroots Bet Midrash Leaders have participated in short-or-longer-term facilitation programs (like SVARA’s Pedagogy Intensive, or our Pedagogy Chaburah for Rabbis and Educators). You’ll sometimes find these folks teaching workshops in our community through SVARA-nik-Led Workshops. We encourage aspiring Grassroots Bet Midrash Leaders to find a chevruta who is also an experienced SVARA learner to learn, prepare, collaborate, and plan with.
If you’re a SVARA-nik who is passionate about incorporating SVARA’s method into your teaching in some way, check out this guide!
SVARA Fellows are queer and trans teachers, rabbis, and leaders who are current members of or who have completed SVARA’s Teaching Kollel, and are invested in creating regular bet midrash communities that bring traditionally radical learning to life. In addition to convening their own learning spaces, SVARA Fellows also anchor and support the learning in our yeshiva. They serve as Fairies in SVARA’s batei midrash and classes (and as such, offer Fairy Hours), are teachers in our daily Mishnah Collective, and offer workshops throughout the year in our online and in-person immersive programs.
Scholars-in-Residence are experienced Jewish educators, facilitators, and/or rabbis who bring their unique experiences to SVARA’s learning spaces, offering new perspectives and insights based on the specific lens through which they view the world. Scholars-in-Residence understand that experiences of marginalization can lead to powerful insights and strive to center these insights, both their own and those of their students, in their teaching.
SVARA’s Yeshiva Faculty teach for, and represent, the yeshiva, teaching and facilitating bet midrash learning, online and in-person. Training to become part of the SVARA Yeshiva Faculty is a long-term relational apprenticeship that includes extensive experience as a SVARA learner, the completion of the SVARA Teaching Kollel, and individualized mentorship from the SVARA Yeshiva Faculty.