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 […]

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 Third Torah from Sinai: Revising Our Myth for a New Jewish Era

by R’ Benay Lappe, Rosh Yeshiva & Dan Libenson, SVARA Board Member At the beginning of his book A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking shares the well-known story of the old woman who raises her hand at the end of a scientist’s lecture on astronomy to declare that the scientist’s theory that the sun […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Finding Comfort in the Curmudgeonly

by Ren Finkel, Mishnah Collective Coordinator Between our one-year anniversary and our Masechet Avot Chapter 4 siyyum, it has been a really big couple of weeks for the Mishnah Collective. As is so common during the pandemic, going through this last chapter felt like it took both a second and a year. This last mishnah, […]

Hot Off the Shtender: Becoming Forever Upside-Down

by R’ Hayley Goldstein, SVARA Fellow I never thought I’d spend Purim day on the phone with Wildlife Rescue trying to save a small, injured bird. On a walk with a friend to a nearby gorge where I live in Ithaca, NY, we silently admired the trees, with their roots somehow afloat, twisted and elegant […]