Hot Off the Shtender: A Kiss from the Sages

by Laynie Soloman  There is no feeling like being in a full bet midrash. In the bet midrash I hear and feel the low hum of folks studying around me, and time is punctuated by the sound of chevruta high-fives and dictionary pages flipping. Surrounded by fellow seekers, tables of books, and unending snacks, pouring […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Sheltering in Mishnah

by Rabbi Mónica Gomery A couple of weeks ago, I attended a poetry reading called Shelter in Poems, hosted by the Academy of American Poets. About 15,000 people were in attendance over an online streaming platform, as 25 writers and public figures each read aloud a favorite poem that has accompanied them throughout this time […]

Hot Off the Shtender: We Are The Talmud’s Fantasy

by Rabbi Benay Lappe in chevruta with Rabbi Mónica Gomery Each daf of Talmud presents us with a fantasy.  The fantasy is the record of an impossible intergenerational conversation across time and space, between queer folk (OK, ok, sages, but you know what I mean) who lived in different centuries from one another–some a millennium […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Learning Myself & the Text Inside/Outside

by Maggid Jhos Singer, SVARA Fellow Fifteen years and four months ago, on an inside tip from a friend, I squiggled, crawled, climbed, and connived my way into a weeklong intensive on Rabbinic Literature at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. The friend told me the teacher was a lesbian rabbi and that she […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Bread & Talmud, Diaspora & Homeland

by Rabbi Mónica Gomery On Wednesday morning I opened my front door, admittedly still wearing pajamas, with a rainbow alef-bet strip in hand. I was headed two doors down, to deliver the alef-bet strip to my neighbor’s front porch. Pulling open the door, I was startled and then delighted to find myself greeted by a […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Increasing Our Days through Learning

by Laynie Soloman For me, each day feels like an eternity. The daily movement through weekday mornings that begin like weekends that blend into night feels like a pocket of timelessness, and like swimming in the mundane. We are wandering but going nowhere, it feels like, as our ancestors must have felt before us, and […]

Hot Off the Shtender: OK, We Left Egypt. Now What?

by Rabbi Benay Lappe & Laynie Soloman Passover’s over. Egypt is behind us. That first glimpse of liberation is exhilarating. You’re free! At least that’s the story we’re taught. But the journey to liberation can also be scary. Really scary. As every one of us knows, getting free isn’t a one-and-done. It never happens all […]

Roll Up Your Sleeves, Get Out the Flour, The Seder is Starting!

By Rabbi Benay Lappe (originally posted in August, 2013) It all started when I bought a toy flour mill for my two-year-old daughter Molly a few weeks before Passover. I was preparing for the tot Shabbat program I lead each month, and, while we usually make challah every month, it was obvious that for our […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Speaking Our Vision For Liberation

by Rabbi Becky Silverstein, SVARA Fellow With gratitude to Beyn Kodesh l’Chol “Learning for Liberation” Bet Midrash for deepening my understanding of this text. As Passover approaches, many of us are creating or editing haggadot, figuring out if and how we want to engage in virtual seders, making shopping lists, and otherwise preparing for the […]

Hot Off the Shtender: I Don’t Know What Comes Next

by Rabbi Benay Lappe in chevruta with Laynie Soloman My chevruta Eddie once told me a story that I’ll never forget. It’s a story his father told him. And, now, it’s a story I’d like to tell you. When Eddie’s father Jay was a teenager, he got a job as a camp counselor at a […]