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!

Ongoing Drop-in Learning | Spring 2021 | Summer 2021

Daily or Weekly Ongoing Learning


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!



Biweekly on Thursdays, April 29th, May 13th, May 27th, June 10th | 7-8:30 PM ET | 6-7:30 PM CT | 4-5:30 PM PT  | JOIN HERE!

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!

Open Bet Midrash Workshop Schedule:

• April 29th: The Jastrow Dictionary: A Comprehensive Tour
• May 13th: Binyanim Basics: Glittering Up Our Roots
• May 27th: Hyperlinks: Exploring Around and Off the Daf
• June 10th: So You Learned a Sugya…What’s Next?


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.


Spring Offerings


Section 1: Mondays, April 19th – June 7th (7 sessions), 6:00–8:00 PM ET | 5:00–7:00 PM CT | 3:00–5:00 PM PT 

Section 2: Tuesdays, April 20th – June 8th (7 sessions), 8:00–10:00 PM ET | 7:00–9:00 PM CT | 5:00–7:00 PM PT  

Join SVARA for a semester of Queer Talmud goodness specifically designed for folks who are new(er) to SVARA’s approach to Talmud study and want to learn in a queer-normative space! All you need is your alef-bet and we’ll have you learning in the original in no time. | LEARN MORE



Section 1: A Case Study in Rabbinic Power & Authority (Rosh Hashanah 25a)
Mondays, April 19th – June 7th* (7 sessions), 8:00–10:00 PM ET | 7:00 – 9:00 PM CT | 5:00–7:00 PM PT | FULL

Section 2: Moshe in Rabbi Akiva’s Bet Midrash (Menachot 29b)
Tuesdays, April 20th – June 8th* (7 sessions), 6:00–8:00 PM ET | 5:00–7:00 PM CT | 3:00–5:00 PM PT | FULL

This learning space is an opportunity for learners of all levels & experiences to explore Talmud or develop their learning skills in a queer-normative community that is rigorous and joyful. In the Mixed-Level Bet Midrash, you’ll learn core texts from SVARA’s library that show how the Rabbis upgrade the tradition they’ve been given—so that we can do the same—and explore the tensions that arise when they, and we, pursue radical change. Bring a chevruta or get matched with one in this shiur! | LEARN MORE

* There is a required orientation for new learners on Sunday, April 18th for folks who have not previously learned Talmud with SVARA.



April 18th – June 11th (8 weeks of self-guided study) 

Ground in the spiritual practice of independent chevruta learning and explore one of SVARA’s core texts at your own pace, guided with Fairy support and all of SVARA’s learning resource goodies. This learning space is an opportunity for learners of all levels & experiences who have studied Talmud in SVARA’s method at least once previously. You’ll be expected to prepare in chevruta for approximately 1-1.5 hours per week. Bring a chevruta or get matched with one in this bet midrash! | LEARN MORE



Wednesdays, April 21st – June 9th (8 sessions), 8:00-9:30 PM ET | 7:00-8:30 PM CT | 5:00-6:30 PM PTFULL

Experienced & advanced learning at SVARA is not about covering more—it’s about going deeper. Get ready to go deep, and take your learning to the next level with a weekly shiur that will focus on rigorous attention to details and radical attunement to letters and historical layers. You’ll be expected to prepare in chevruta for 1.5-2 hours in advance of our weekly shiur. 

This shiur is for serious, dedicated learners who have experience learning with SVARA, are very comfortable with SVARA’s method & approach to Talmud study, and are ready to maintain or significantly deepen their practice of learning with a chevruta. We strongly encourage you to sign up with a chevruta. Don’t have a chevruta? Register by April 5th to be matched with someone. | LEARN MORE


Summer Offerings


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 | LEARN MORE

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. | LEARN MORE



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

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