We are constantly striving to make learning at SVARA empowering and comfortable for everyone.

All of our learning spaces follow SVARA’s accessibility protocols and aspire to our community norms. If there are ways we can improve your experience in our bet midrash, please let us know!

Access Information for Online Shiurim

We learn for 1.5-2 hours at a time on Zoom. There is a break scheduled for all learners during 2-hour shiurim. At all times, you are welcome to sit, stand, lay down, stretch, get a snack, drink some water, and take breaks according to your own needs. Please do what you need to do to take care of your body and yourself!
Feel free to turn your video on/off as needed throughout the session. While you are encouraged to have your video on during shiur, we honor that at times learners may need to have their cameras off. You always have the option of declining to read when you’re called on, and teachers will not call on you if you have your video off unless you have previously notified the teacher otherwise.
Please avoid using virtual backgrounds or blurred backgrounds, as these types of backgrounds can trigger migraines. If you need to make specific plans to be in a place where your background can be visible, please do so.
All full-group learning will be live-captioned by our captioning team, and all Zoom rooms support automatic integrated live-captioning. At various moments throughout our sessions, we may make use of breakout groups for chevruta (one-on-one learning) and smaller group discussion spaces of 3-6 people. Upon registration, you will be asked if you would like your chevruta and breakout groups to be captioned by one of the members of our captioning team.
All shiurim provide instructions for using Zoom, as well as options for increasing contrast and font size on your screen.

Accessible Materials

We have large-print copies of materials available to send along with printed materials. Enlarged SVARA materials use a 20-point font size. Materials that come from Hebrew texts or reference books are enlarged to 11×17”. If you would like enlarged printed materials, please indicate this on your registration form and we will send them to you. Many students also choose to use a magnifying glass to read small print texts—we recommend the Magnabrite Magnifier.
Each shiur session will have an online learning portal with all bet midrash materials available digitally. Materials will be available in 13-point font, 20-point font, and in Word Doc formats compatible with screen reader technology and other formatting options.
After each session, we will upload recordings of the session, along with the Hebrew/Aramaic pronunciation of the text covered and inside/outside translations of the text onto the Class Portal.

Recommended Dictionaries

There are two dictionaries that you will use when learning Talmud in the original at SVARA (or anywhere else!): a “Jastrow,” and a “Frank.” Below you will find descriptions of how to access these dictionaries.
A “Jastrow”—Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature, by Marcus Jastrow

You can access this dictionary in hard copy or online. Only you know what you need in order to learn best! Hard copies are available through online retailers, including Judaica Press. If you prefer the free online format, we recommend the following two options:

  • Option #1 is the Tyndale Archive Jastrow Dictionary. This is a complete scan of the printed dictionary with built-in font enlargement tools. Some benefits of using this option include that it feels more like the book – if your chevruta is using a printed dictionary, you will be looking at the exact same thing and can share page numbers, and you will reinforce learning the order of the alef bet.
  • Option #2 is the Jastrow Dictionary on Sefaria. With this option you can type the root or word you are looking for into a search box (via the onscreen Hebrew keyboard) and jump directly to an entry. Some benefits of using this option are that the digitized text is clearer than the Tyndale Archive’s scans and Sefaria is compatible with screen reader technology. Some challenges are that it is harder to get on the “same page” as your chevruta (there are no page numbers).
A “Frank”—Practical Talmud Dictionary, by Yitzhak Frank

The “Frank” is back in print, and you can order it here!

If purchasing dictionaries or a magnifying glass is beyond your means, please be in touch with Nat.

Someone is seated in the bet midrash and points to a page of Talmud beneath them. They are wearing a blue shirt and glasses.

Financial Accessibility

All of our classes are “pay what you can,” and no one will ever be turned away for lack of funds. When registering, you can indicate the amount you would like to contribute for tuition, which can be below, on, or above the suggested scale.