Hardcore, Queer, & Radically Inclusive

by Maggid Jhos Singer, SVARA Fellow (I’m dedicating my HOTS teaching to my beloved Julie Batz, on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of our kiddushin, and to our mesader kiddushin, R. Margaret Holub for being such an incredible teacher, guide, and friend.) Deep in the folds of the SVARA website, tucked away (under a […]

A Sampler of Samplers, Part 1

by R’ Benay Lappe, Rosh Yeshiva As I was preparing to start rabbinical school, my mother took me to our local Jewish bookstore and bought me my first tallis. She then sewed me a beautiful bag to carry it in. She constructed it of a luxurious powder blue velvet, lined it in silk, and on […]

Crash-Cycling from Simchat Torah into 5782

by R’ Bronwen Mullin, SVARA faculty In song and dance we round up the High Holy Days with Simchat Torah, the day in which we honor the completion of the yearly cycle of reading the Torah (the Five Books of Moses, that is) in our communities, and then we start it all over again from […]

Learning K’Neged Kulam

by Laynie Soloman, Associate Rosh Yeshiva Earlier this week, we siyum-ed, celebrating the 150 SVARA-niks who dug in deep this Elul as we moved into this season of repair, restoration, and renewal. A siyum is a celebration that marks the completion—for now!—of learning a set of Jewish… something, usually a text. In our case, maybe […]

The Resilience of Crying Out

by R’ Hayley Goldstein, SVARA Fellow I don’t have a single relationship that wasn’t changed, or at least challenged, by the pandemic. Discussions around podding, practices, and mask materials almost always devolved into bitterness and resentment for all parties. Don’t you trust me? We all asked. What, do you think I’m an idiot? You think […]

The Heart Knows the Bitterness of Its Soul

by R’ Lauren Tuchman, SVARA Fellow With the marking of Rosh Chodesh Elul this week, the Jewish tradition invites us into the holiest months of the year. It’s a time for personal introspection and stock-taking, a time to ask ourselves about the people we want to be in the new year. This Elul is particularly […]

Trans Bodies and Talmud

by Maggid Jhos Singer, SVARA Fellow I’ve been studying with SVARA for a long time—25.806% of my life, to be precise—and for much of that time I was a stalwart grammarphobe. Until one day, in 2016, my face buried in a masechet under the oaks at Queer Talmud Camp, I finally grokked that diacritical dots, […]

Transformative World-Building Through Halakha

by Laynie Soloman, Associate Rosh Yeshiva Y’all know I love Talmud, and there are few things beyond it that captivate me the way that learning does; grabbing my attention and energy for hours on end, helping me enjoy a sense of ‘flow,’ joy, and simultaneous presence and transcendence. Another thing that makes me feel this […]

Allowing for Comfort in Cycles of Crash

by R’ Becky Silverstein, SVARA Fellow & Board Chair Somewhere along the way, I internalized the story that to seek comfort, or to be comforted, is both a weakness and a betrayal of the work I try to do to build a more just and equitable world. I came to understand the reality of my […]

Holding Limitless Potential Amidst Crash

by R’ Bronwen Mullin, SVARA faculty Though it’s not the most glittery holiday in the Jewish calendar, Tisha b’Av is an important day for our lineage as SVARA-niks. Tisha b’Av was the day when, for our Option 3-fairy-queen-rabbi- ancestors, the crash was undeniable (remember the crash theory?). In some ways, Tisha b’Av is like the […]