Gemara Boost Camp: Program Details


Want to know more about what to expect from the *shtark* (read: hardcore) learning at Gemara Boost Camp? Here’s a sample schedule from Gemara Boost Camp 2018, and check out the sample workshop descriptions below!

WTF is in this Masechet?!
We know that Mishnah + Gemara = Talmud, but WHAT + Talmud = a Masechet?! Our Masechtot are full of lots of goodies, including commentaries, legal codes, and learning resources designed to make our Talmud learning deeper, more complex, and—believe it or not—more accessible. What good are these rad tools if we don’t know how to find them!? Come for the quick-and-dirty of how to navigate your way through this ever-evolving book of unfolding wisdom.

Conjugation for Liberation
Ok, so there are 8 things to know about a sentence and 15 things to know about a word before you own it, right? What if you can only figure out 5 of those things?! This workshop is here to help you reach new heights in your ownership of the elegant structure of the Hebrew language. Come to Conjugation for Liberation to get yourself a dose of Hebrew grammar goodness to take your ownership of any sugya to the next level. We’ll focus on understanding binyanim, tense, and person/number/gender of Hebrew verbs.

Rashi Really Is Your Friend!  
So who was this Rashi guy, and how can we use his insights to support our learning? We’ll spend time exploring Rashi’s history and “project,” reviewing the letters of Rashi script, and studying a bit of Rashi’s commentary on our sugya (talmudic passage) to get acquainted with how Rashi’s mind works, and to get more out of his commentary in order to get more out of your Talmud learning! This is a great workshop for newer learners who want to develop an essential Talmud skill as well as more experienced learners who’ve been yearning to know more about this 11th century commentator who we like to refer to as the original bet midrash fairy!

The Bois in the Back
We all know that Rashi is our friend, but what about all those other bois who write commentaries to the Talmud?! We’ll get cozy with a few Rishonim (medieval commentators), and get to know their unique perspectives on our sugya.


Have some questions about Gemara Boost Camp? We’ve got some answers! Have a question but don’t see the answer you’re looking for? Write to Laynie!

What makes Gemara Boost Camp so *shtark*?

At GBC, we’re excited to offer up skill-building workshops to support different aspects of Talmud learning. Workshops will touch on how to utilize commentaries, grasping grammar structures and other skills to help you on your way to be a player! Our hope is that you leave Gemara Boost Camp with a more layered understanding of our sugya, the project of SVARA, and the magic of learning Talmud in your life!

I’m a green/blue/yellow/red Gemara Boost Camp for me?!

Yes! Gemara Boost Camp, like all SVARA programs, is a mixed-level space where all dots all are welcome. Whatever your experience with Talmud, as long as you’ve learned with SVARA before, we can’t wait to welcome you to the bet midrash!

I see that this program is over the weekend, which means Shabbat is involved. What can I expect to happen over Shabbat?

Great question! We welcome everyone to bring their full Shabbat Queen selves to the bet midrash, and to help us support your practice by sharing your needs with the community (which we’ll create some space for on Friday before dinner).  We are excited for the unique opportunity to Shabbat together as a SVARA community during Gemara Boost Camp, and we know that there are a wide ranges of practices & relationships to Shabbat among the folks in our yeshiva. That’s awesome, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! Here are some things you can expect:

– Because the program starts after the technical time for candle-lighting, we will not be lighting candles together as a community

– We’ll incorporate Shabbat meal-time rituals (Kiddush, HaMotzi, and after-meal blessings) into the meals that take place over Shabbat

– None of the food that we’re eating together on Shabbat will have been cooked on Shabbat

– None of the faculty will be writing on the board during any of the learning slots that take place on Shabbat

– We’ll acknowledge the end of Shabbat together with a communal Havdalah

– Some learners will be writing in the bet midrash, some learners will refrain from writing in the bet midrash, and folks are welcome to make the choice that’s right for them

We know that there are so many practices that can enrich one’s relationship to Shabbat, and we’re excited to spend Shabbat with you all doing one of our favorite practices together: learning Talmud! If you have any questions or would like to talk through any of this Shabbat business and get some support around your practice for the weekend, please be in touch with Laynie!

I’ve never learned with SVARA before, but this sounds fun! What should I do?

Unfortunately, this program is only for folks who have learned with SVARA or in a SVARA-method bet midrash before. If you’ve never gotten the chance to learn with SVARA before, please check to see if we have any programs in your neighborhood before Gemara Boost Camp that you can get in on so you can get oriented to our method and approach to learning! Questions? Write to Laynie!

I’ve never learned with SVARA, but I’ve learned in a SVARA-method bet midrash taught by a Fellow. Is Gemara Boost Camp for me?

Sure! As long as you’re familiar with SVARA’s approach to learning Talmud, we can’t wait to welcome you to the bet midrash!

Will there be food?!

Of course!! We’ll be providing all meals starting with dinner on Friday and ending with lunch on Sunday (as well as snacks throughout, ’cause y’all know we love snacks). All meals will be vegetarian, and we’ll have plenty of vegan, non-dairy & gluten-free options. Questions about the food? Write to James!

I can make it for part of the program but not the whole thing. Is that alright?

Unfortunately, due to the collaborative nature of chevruta learning, partial participation in Gemara Boost Camp is not possible.

I’m from out of town/a different part of town. Do you have on-site housing available?

Great question! At Gemara Boost Camp in Berkeley, you can sign up for on-sight housing on your registration form. In New York and Chicago, we do not have on-site housing available. If you’re looking for a place to stay in the neighborhood, we can hook you up with some hotel recommendations, or, if you prefer, we’ll do our best to hook you up with a local SVARA-nik to stay with. There’s space to let us know if you’d like recommendations on the registration form!