a three-week dive into the Hebrew alphabet with SVARA
Alef-Bet Basics will be a three-week dive into the Hebrew alphabet. This class will get you prepped and ready to go for your future SVARA experiences, as we learn the Hebrew letters and vocalizations. As always, this space will be fun and queer-normative as we navigate the delights and frustrations of learning the building-blocks of a language. We’ll give you all the tools you need to boost this beautiful new skill during the class and beyond! (Please note that this isn’t a Hebrew grammar or vocabulary class, we’ll be sticking just to letters and vocalizations.)
Beginning to learn a language is hard, and that’s okay! We’re so excited to nurture and support your learning at every twist and turn.
Over the three weeks, there will be mistakes, pneumonic devices, and goofy songs galore. Our goal is to keep this space fun and safe to take risks! This class gathers for one and a half hours weekly. We will spend the majority of our time all together as a group, with some time in chevruta (in pairs). While you will be provided with exercises and resources to deepen your learning, there is no expectation of studying outside of our digital Bet Midrash (the space where study happens).
Whether you know a handful of letters or this is your first time diving in, we’ll do our best to make sure you’re the right balance of supported and challenged. We’ve got a lot of letters and not a lot of time, so this course won’t be going over script (Hebrew’s version of cursive), vocabulary, or grammar rules—we’ll be spending all our time getting to know each of the 22 hebrew letters and their various vowels.
We prioritize maintaining a significant majority of queer- and trans-identifying people in each program, and we prioritize the participation of people of color and people with disabilities. We will be enrolling registrants on a rolling basis, and you should expect to hear from us within three business days based upon the receipt of your registration.
Tuition for the Alef-Bet Basics is offered on a sliding scale of $85-$300.
Visit our Enrollment and Tuition page to learn more about the values that guide this process.
Ren Finkel (they/them), Mishnah Collective and Emergent Programs Coordinator
Ren is a multimedia artist, community organizer, and student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. They’re in a long distance relationship with Pittsburgh, where they majored in Photojournalism, first learned about anti-capitalism, and were brought back to Jewish practice. They are deeply committed to healing work and restorative justice.
After a summer at Queer Talmud Camp, studying ancestral Jewish text has become the heart of their spiritual practice. They tend to study Talmud with a 2:1 ratio of respect to irreverence. In their spare time they like to make Sefaria source sheets, specifically about how gay certain Talmudic Rabbis are, specifically Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish—and all they need is one line of Berakhot to prove that Rabbi Gamliel was a twink who believed in disability justice. They are incredibly excited to be working on the Mishna Collective, and hope that the text may provide us with a semblance of sense and solace in such uncertain times.