Learn with SVARA

There are many opportunities throughout the year to get some Talmud served up the old fashioned way—hardcore, queer, and radically inclusive—with SVARA! Below you’ll find information about daily/weekly drop-in learning, as well as our lineup of upcoming multi-week classes. Check out what’s comin’ up at your favorite queer yeshiva, and we can’t wait to welcome to you to the SVARA bet midrash! Not sure where to start? Click here for some suggestions as you start your Queer Talmud journey!

Ongoing Drop-in Learning | Summer 2021

Daily or Weekly Ongoing Learning

MISHNAH COLLECTIVE [online]

Daily (except Saturday) at 1:30 PM ET | 12:30 PM CT | 10:30 AM PT for 30 minutes | JOIN HERE!

We meet daily to ground in this uncertain time in our practice of learning & studying in community, digging into a chunk of mishnah (y’all remember, Torah 2.0!) from Masechet Avot (also known as Pirkei Avot) 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, or once in a blue moon–we can’t wait to learn with you!


THE ORAL TALMUD [online, live-streamed]

Weekly on Thursdays at 12:00 PM ET | 11:00 AM CT | 9:00 AM PT | WATCH HERE

Each week in The Oral Talmud, Benay Lappe & Dan Libenson offer an introduction to Talmud through a traditionally radical lens. In each session, Benay & Dan explore key stories and other material from the Talmud that was left there by the early Rabbis as a how-to manual for re-imagining Judaism after the previous version “crashes.” Alternating weeks feature conversations with scholars and thinkers on Talmud to understand the Talmud more deeply from the perspective of contemporary academic study and creative re-interpretation. There’s no registration required! Join each week, drop in whenever you can, or watch recordings of previous sessions here.


OPEN BET MIDRASH [online]

Open Bet Midrash is on pause and will be back in the fall!

Open Bet Midrash is a bi-weekly opportunity to learn, schmooze, and skill-build with your Queer Talmud comrades. In each session, we’ll offer a skill-building workshop in the “Main Room” (see a schedule below for what we’re cookin’ up!), alongside parallel opportunities in breakout rooms to connect one-on-one with a fairy, find other SVARA-niks who want to explore a text with you, and to have an informal conversation about whatever is on your mind (on or off the daf!). 

You might come to Open Bet Midrash to: participate in a workshop, learn a supplemental text, figure out something you missed in shiur, work on your chazara with your chevruta or a fairy, connect with others about what’s coming up for you personally, or just come by and say ‘hi!’—this time is open and available for you! Whether you come regularly or drop in once, it’s not SVARA if your ‘svara’ isn’t there!


Summer Offerings

ELUL WEEKLY BET MIDRASH [online] 

Section 1: Invention of Teshuva (Yoma 85b)
Mondays, August 9th, 16th, 23rd

8:00-10:00 PM ET | 7:00-9:00 PM CT | 5:00-7:00 PM PT

Section 2: Imagining Reparations (Gittin 55a)
Tuesdays, August 10th, 17th, 24th
6:00-8:00 PM ET | 5:00-7:00 PM CT | 3:00-5:00 PM PT

Gear up for the high holidays with rigorous, accessible Talmud learning as a deep spiritual practice in service of teshuva and transformation leading up to the Days of AWE-some. We will dive into a text from the Talmud that relates to themes of this season: teshuva (relational repair), our ethical and social responsibilities, what kind of person the Jewish tradition wants us to be, what kind of people we want to be, how the ancient Rabbis dealt with the slippery and messy reality of human relationships, and how the complexity of their world invites us to consider the complexity of our own world. We’ll learn a complete text from the Talmud from start to finish, all in the original language (without the use of translation). All you need is the ability to decode your alef-bet (i.e. sound out your Hebrew letters), and you’ll be learning Talmud in the original Hebrew/Aramaic within your first hour. All are welcome in this mixed-level learning space. Whether you’re a Talmud newbie or an experienced SVARA-nik, we can’t wait to learn with you! | FULL – check out our fall offerings!


ALEF-BET BASICS [online]

Tuesdays, August 10th, 17th, 24th
8:00 PM-9:30 PM ET | 7:00-8:30 PM CT | 5:00-7:30 PM PT

Alef-Bet Basics is 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.) | FULL – check out our fall offerings!


CONJUGATION FOR LIBERATION [online]

Wednesdays, August 11th, 18th, 25th
7:00-8:30 PM ET | 6:00-7:30 PM CT | 4:00-5:30 PM PT

We’re so excited for another round of Conjugation for Liberation, SVARA’s three-week Talmudic grammar class! Taught by SVARA Fellow and systematic grammar nerd extraordinaire Amir Starr Weg, in this class you’ll liberate yourself from grammar’s obscurity, familiarize yourself with the Hebrew verb systems (binyanim), and learn to recognize and conjugate Hebrew verbs. This course is designed for folks who can sound out Hebrew with vowels, feel comfortable identifying roots and affixes (prefixes, suffixes, infixes), and are ready to delve deeper into the verb system to enhance their Talmud skills. | FULL – check out our fall offerings!


HARDCORE TALMUD INTENSIVE [online]

Mondays through Thursdays, August 9th-27th
11:30 AM-2:00 PM ET | 10:30 AM-1:00 PM CT | 8:30 AM-11:00 PM PT

SVARA’s Hardcore Talmud Intensive, a three-week daily bet midrash, will provide learners of all levels with the opportunity to explore new areas of depth in their learning on their journey to becoming players—people who learn and shape tradition. Through daily bet midrash sessions, in-depth workshops, opportunities to explore supplemental materials on and off the daf, and more, SVARA-niks of all levels will have the opportunity to: thicken your skills as an empowered Talmud learner, level up your experience with rabbinic texts and concepts to help you be an even better player, go deep into a new sugya (Talmud text) with a chevruta, teachers, and fairies, and build dazzling queer community with your SVARA comrades. | FULL – check out our fall offerings!


Want to bring SVARA-style learning to your community?! Fill out this form to get in touch with us!