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 […]

Sharpening Our Wildest Dreams

by Elaina Marshalek, Director of Programs & SVARA Fellow The tension between rigor and affirmation is at the heart of our learning. In the bet midrash, we’re always navigating a holy, complex, fine line between these two ways of being, which seem opposed at times. We sharpen each others’ translations with so much clapping up […]

Breathing into the Rubble

by Laynie Soloman, Associate Rosh Yeshiva *This piece and the Torah behind it has been informed by almost a decade of friendship, chevruta-ship, and learning from & with SVARA Fellow Jess Belasco (b”H, thank G!d!). Over the past 16 months, I have felt over and over and over as though I am entering a new […]

Between the Suns

by R’ Hayley Goldstein, SVARA Fellow It seems that no matter what time the sun sets on Friday evening, there is never enough time. It’s a complete mystery how it happens but even at the summer solstice, when Shabbat comes in around 9pm, my partner and I are running around the house scrambling to set […]

Toward a Co-Created Liberatory Jewish Future

by Ayana Morse, Executive Director “When we honor our commitment to each other then our communities will flourish with rain at its proper time, grain, wine, oil, and grass in our fields. When we do not fully commit, we risk the future of our very community. So we call in our community to re-imagine our […]

And Then They’ll Just Call It Judaism

by R’ Benay Lappe, Rosh Yeshiva Many years ago, my brother Murray gave me a beautiful pewter paperweight with the words “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” etched into the top. It sits on my desk, encouraging me every day to go for it, whatever the “it” might […]

Blessing This Moment

by Julie Batz, SVARA Fellow One of the most powerful moments in a SVARA Bet Midrash happens at the first session of class, just as we are about to begin to study Talmud for the first time. If we’re in person, the facilitator and fairies present a masechet/volume of Talmud to each learner, connecting with […]

Hot Off the Shtender: A Letter to Our Students

A Note from Team SVARA: The past few weeks have been fraught and tumultuous–in the world, and in the Jewish community. SVARA, as a yeshiva, is a home for queer and radical Torah where all are learners and teachers. We welcome and hold many different voices and perspectives in our community, on a range of […]

Hot Off the Shtender: The Rest of the Blessing

by R’ Mónica Gomery, SVARA Faculty Last week, Elaina bookended her Hot Off the Shtender with the blessing for the study of Torah, la’asok b’divrei Torah, which ritually opens all of our learning at SVARA. In a siddur, when you look up the blessing for Torah study, you’ll actually often find three blessings, all derived […]