Hot Off the Shtender: Expanding Our Canon

by Laynie Soloman What counts as Torah? Who decides? What makes it into the canon, and what remains on the outside, seen as merely a “folk tradition”? These are the questions at the heart of Pirkei Avot, the tractate of the mishnah that we’ve been moving through in the Mishnah Collective’s daily learning.  As a […]

Hot Off the Shtender: The Radical Lineage of the Tanna’im

by Laynie Soloman and Rabbi Mónica Gomery At SVARA we often say, “The Talmud  is never really talking about what it says it’s talking about.” We focus on the text as formative rather than normative—the tradition is here to shape us, not necessarily by what it says, but by how it says what it says.  […]

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: 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 […]

Hot Off The Shtender: The Rabbis Have Our Backs

by Rabbi Mónica Gomery This week, as we all navigate a constantly shifting landscape of change, uncertainty, and global pandemic, SVARA began convening a daily Mishna Collective. It has been incredibly grounding to plug in daily to the diasporic SVARA learning community during such an overwhelming time. The opportunity to move slowly and methodically through […]