Elul Extravaganza 2020

Gear up for the high holidays with SVARA’s Elul Extravaganza! SVARA Faculty, Fellows, teachers, and community leaders are offering up spaces across the country for rigorous, accessible Talmud learning as a deep spiritual practice in service of teshuva and transformation leading up to the Days of AWE-some.


The teshuva process of spiritual inventory and personal stock-taking requires work and preparation, and doesn’t necessarily happen in the short span of the High Holidays. Luckily, the Jewish tradition has built in an entire month—the month of Elul—to allow us to do the kind of preparation that real teshuva requires.  

At SVARA we believe that learning Talmud, in chevruta and in community, has the power to open us to more love, more compassion, and more accountability in our lives. What better way to spend Elul than diving into the practice of Talmud study in a queer-normative community?! SVARA Faculty, Fellows, and community leaders are teaming up to bring you Talmud learning to enrich and deepen this powerful season. In batei midrash across the country, we will study the Jewish tradition’s unique wisdom on repairing relationships (with others, with ourselves, and with God), and explore what teshuva means to us personally and communally, all in a hardcore, queer, radically inclusive learning space!


How To Learn Traditionally Radical Talmud | an interactive workshop with SVARA faculty member Laynie Soloman

Tuesday, August 25th | Register!
8:00-9:30 PM Eastern / 7:00-8:30 PM Central / 5:00-6:30 PM Pacific

Thursday, August 27th | Register!
4:00-5:30 PM Eastern / 3:00-4:30 PM Central / 1:00-2:30 PM Pacific

This online workshop will support you on your journey to becoming what we call a “player,” someone empowered with the skills to play in and with the tradition.


Through local batei midrash (which will meet virtually), SVARA Faculty, Fellows, teachers, and community leaders are offering up spaces across the country (and beyond!) for rigorous, accessible Talmud learning as a spiritual practice leading up to the high holy days. We believe in the power of nurturing local communities and relationships at this time, even as we increase access to communities across time and space.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be adding locations, dates, and registration links.

Are you gathering with your Queer Talmud comrades leading up to the Days of AWE-some to learn SVARA-style?! Let us know!

Monday, August 31 & Thursday, September 10 | 7:00-9:30 PM ET | REGISTER!
Beyn Kodesh l’Chol led by Rabbi Becky Silverstein, SVARA Fellow

Thursdays, September 3 & 10 | Registration info coming soon!
SVARA @ Kolot Chayeinu with Laynie Soloman, SVARA Faculty

D. C. 
Tuesdays, September 1, 8, & 15 | REGISTER!
SVARA @ New Synagogue Project with Laynie Soloman, SVARA Faculty

Sunday, September 6 | 7:00-8:30 PM ET | REGISTER!
Shel Maala led by Binya Koatz and Xava De Cordova, Grassroots Bet Midrash Leaders

Tuesdays, September 8, 15, & 22 | 6:00-8:30 PM IDT | REGISTER!
Led by Mimi Farb, Grassroots Bet Midrash Leader

Wednesdays, September 9 & 16 | 6:00-8:30 PM PT | REGISTER!
Led by Rabbi Benay Lappe, SVARA Faculty and Rosh Yeshiva

Tuesday, September 8 | 5:30-7:30 PM PT | REGISTER!
700 Benches led by Rabbi Gray Myrseth, SVARA Fellow

*While these learning spaces aren’t all run by SVARA, they are taught in SVARA’s method by Grassroots Leaders and Fellows. SVARA Fellows have completed or are currently participating in SVARA’s two-year Teaching Kollel, and are trained to implement and nurture bet midrash communities using SVARA’s method. Grassroots Bet Midrash Leaders are passionate SVARA learners, many of whom have attended a SVARA Pedagogy Intensive, who are interested in sharing their practice with their communities as leaders and facilitators. 


Join the Elul Extravaganza independently by diving into the daf with your chevruta. Check out the digital folder to download all the materials! We’ve selected a sugya from the Fifth Chapter of Masechet Gittin, in which the Rabbis explore their vision for reparations. We’ve got a marked-off daf, Hint Sheets, and all of the other goodies you need to grab a chevruta and bring the bet midrash to you.