Join us for an opportunity in this uncertain time to draw on the traditions of our people that were born out of moments of crash and uncertainty. We meet daily to ground in our practice of learning & studying in community, digging into a chunk of mishnah (y’all remember, Torah 2.0!) each day with SVARA Faculty & your Queer Talmud comrades. **No prior Hebrew experience or learning necessary to participate!**
Whether you can join every day, once a week–we can’t wait to learn with you!
Below you’ll find resources, teachings, and other goodies to help you follow along with our daily learning! We’ve got the daily section of mishnah with our translation, along with a Hint Sheet if you want to spend time in chevruta or on your own going deeper.
While we had initially planned to not convene for our daily mishnah collective on Yom Tov (Thursday and Friday of this week) in addition to our usual Shabbat break, nor meet next week on the last two days of Pesach, which also have the status of Yom Tov (the following Wednesday and Thursday)—our svara started to nag at us, and we became increasingly uncomfortable with our decision.
We know that many of you are quarantining alone and many are experiencing painful separations from your communities and families—whether chosen or of origin—and feeling isolated in ways that are compounded by multiple levels of pain, including economic hardship and uncertainty, the inability to tap into usual communities of support, anxiety and worry over the health and care of those we love whom we can’t be physically with to care for, and the inability to receive the emotional and physical care we ourselves need, all made even more painful by being isolated at a time that usually brings us, particularly right now, much needed comfort, connection, and joy—Pesach.
Our historic inability to celebrate the seders and holiday with our loved ones at this time will certainly be a source of additional pain and sakana, danger, to the physical and emotional health of many of us. In order to prevent any additional risk to those of us who are already holding bravely but tenuously to our wellbeing at this moment, our svara leads us, without doubt or regret, to the conclusion to offer the opportunity, to those who wish to avail themselves of it, to tune into the Mishnah Collective on Yom Tov. We will shift the content of our learning and daily practice to uplift a text that unpacks and explores themes of Pesach from Masechet Pesachim, and, like our current text from Masechet Avot, can be learned in a “drop-in” manner, should folks choose to join for one, two, or all of the days that we meet over Passover.
We will be here for you, as we know you are here for us, to join with, to sing with, to learn with, and to smile with, to give you chizuk, strength and support, and to hold you and lift you up through this uniquely difficult time. As you hold and lift us up.
As many of us learned at Queer Talmud Camp a couple of years ago, the tradition has long recognized the authority of every individual to know their own heart, their own suffering, and their own needs, best–even if 100 experts tell them otherwise. Lev yodea marat nafsho. The heart knows the truth of its own suffering. You know best what you need. If you need to tune in to your daily spiritual practice of learning with us to get you through this Yom Tov safely and spiritually healthy, and to keep your soul buoyed, please know what an honor it is for us to be there for you.
There are many kinds of sources that inform all of our personal practices. If you would like support figuring out whether this decision is right for you, please reach out to your chevrutot and teachers. Benay and Laynie are happy to help you think through this choice, should you want to talk it through with a SVARA Faculty Member.