The Torah of Care

by Ayana Morse, Executive Director It’s not uncommon in meetings on Team SVARA for someone to say at some point, “There are no Talmud emergencies.” Usually, it’s in reference to shifting timelines for a project or to ease away from imagined urgency. It tends to bring about a good chuckle. But just as underneath that […]

Retraining Our Guts

a conversation with Scholar-in-Residence Devin Samuels & Associate Rosh Yeshiva Laynie Soloman This fall, SVARA welcomed Devin Samuels as our Scholar-in-Residence, who taught “Svara Off the Page: A Toolkit for Refining Our Guts.” The class utilized Devin’s expertise as a writer and creative to explore the concept of svara and encouraged participants to develop their […]

Call Me By Your Baraita

by R’ Bronwen Mullin, SVARA Faculty Who knew that reciting a baraita—one of the bits of text in the Talmud from the Tannaim, the Rabbis of the Mishnah—from memory could be so radically transformative. First off, it’s just a baraita—a teaching conceived by our rabbinic ancestors that didn’t even make it into the Mishnah. Second, […]

Turn In It

by Maggid Jhos Singer, SVARA Fellow בֶּן בַּג בַּג אוֹמֵר, הֲפֹךְ בָּהּ וַהֲפֹךְ בָּהּ, דְּכֹלָּא בָהּ. וּבָהּ תֶּחֱזֵי, וְסִיב וּבְלֵה בָהּ, וּמִנַּהּ לֹא תָזוּעַ, שֶׁאֵין לְךָ מִדָּה טוֹבָה הֵימֶנָּה  בֶּן הֵא הֵא אוֹמֵר, לְפוּם צַעֲרָא אַגְרָא This is one of my favorite Mishnaic sound bites. Ben Bag Bag, a slightly mysterious Talmudic character, says regarding […]

The Talmudic Craft of Shaping Ourselves

by R’ Benay Lappe, Rosh Yeshiva & Laynie Soloman, Associate Rosh Yeshiva Chanukah is one of our faves here at SVARA. And that’s, at least in part, because of the way the Rabbis so explicitly show us their work as they’re creating this newfangled holiday. They make sure we see, at every step, how they […]

Torah for Sleepless Nights

by R’ Hayley Goldstein, SVARA Fellow   Sometimes, I have sleepless nights. Not because I am out partying (I wish) or because I’m up writing papers or studying Torah, but because my mind can’t settle, can’t allow my eyelids to be heavy, and my body to joyfully yield to the earth. It doesn’t happen too […]

Part II: The Lost Talmud

by R’ Benay Lappe, Rosh Yeshiva I was born at the tail end of the generation that can tell you exactly where they were when they heard that Kennedy was shot. And there’s the generation that can tell you exactly where they were when they heard that a plane had flown into the World Trade […]

Hadran Alakh, Indeed!

by Ren Finkel, Mishnah Collective & Emergent Programs Coordinator Mishnah Collective will be making a triumphant return to Mishnah Avot Chapter 6 in just a couple of weeks. This magical chapter of ancient wisdom is where the Mishnah Collective first began, an experiment hoping to bring a little light during the darkness of the first […]

Revealing and Transforming Torah

by Laynie Soloman, Associate Rosh Yeshiva *This Torah has been shaped & uncovered in chevruta with R’ Mónica, and grows out of a piece we wrote about this text a few years back. Earlier this week the Trans Halakha Project Steering Committee met for the first time. I was truly giddy, and for the weeks […]

The Secrets of Friendship and Torah

by R’ Mónica Gomery, SVARA Faculty I sat down to learn in chevruta last week, on a day when everything was irking me. I was in a terrible, salty, grumbling mood. My chevruta and I opened with our usual check-in, during which I complained about anything I could think of. I was a fountain of […]