What You’ll Need

As you get ready to learn SVARA-style, we’ll hook you up with the materials you’ll need. When you sign up for a season of learning, we’ll send you a goodie box of materials that you can learn from, including the Talmud text itself. If you’re joining us for Mishnah Collective or another drop-in learning space, these materials are optional. For all other learning spaces, you should have the following things on-hand. If you’re having trouble finding these learning materials, be in touch with us and we will help connect you with loaner copies, discounted books, and whatever else you might need!


There are two dictionaries necessary for doing the work of this bet midrash:

A “Jastrow”—Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature, by Marcus Jastrow. 

Some notes on Jastrow and visual accessibility:

  • The typeface in printed editions of the Jastrow Dictionary is quite small. Many of our learners and teachers use a Magnabrite magnifying glass to help increase the size and clarity of the printing. You can find these magnifiers here!
  • Some folks find the online versions of the dictionary more accessible for various reasons. Below is information about the various online editions:

Jastrow dictionary is available online and we have found 2 great options:

  • Option #1 is the Tyndale Archive Jastrow Dictionary. This is a complete scan of the printed dictionary. You can find your dictionary entry by selecting the first letter of the word you are looking up and then selecting the first word on the page that will contain your entry. You can enlarge the scanned pages of this dictionary by using the interfaces built-in enlargement tools which are available in the page header. Some benefits of using this option include that it feels more like the book—if your chevruta is using a printed dictionary, you will be looking at the exact same thing and can share page numbers, and you will reinforce learning the order of the alef bet.
  • Option #2 is Jastrow on Sefaria. With this option you can type the root or word you are looking for into a search box (via the onscreen Hebrew keyboard) and jump directly to an entry. You may need to scroll backward and forward from there because there can be multiple entries for the same term. Sefaria includes a built-in function to adjust the font size which you can access by selecting the “Aא” button on the upper right side of the page. Some benefits of using this option are that the digitized text is clearer than the Tyndale Archive’s scans and Sefaria is compatible with screen reader technology. Some challenges are that it is harder to get on the “same page” as your chevruta (there are no page numbers), and sometimes the search function takes you to unexpected places.

Only you know what you need in order to learn best! We’ve found that having printed materials and a hard copy of the Jastrow dictionary is supportive for many folks, especially as a contrast to our learning online, and we encourage you to try this if it’s accessible to you.

A “Frank”—Practical Talmud Dictionary, by Yitzhak Frank.

A note about the “Frank”: It has come to our attention that this dictionary is currently not in print and finding a copy of a Frank might be difficult. We will ensure that any entries that are relevant to your learning will be scanned and placed on the portal for you to use during this class.

If purchasing dictionaries or a magnifying glass is beyond your means, please be in touch with Olivia.

A Computer With…

To participate in shiur most fully, you will need a computer with high-speed internet access capable of supporting video conferencing. Shiur will be hosted on Zoom—we recommend downloading Zoom’s free software (Zoom Client for Meetings) for the smoothest experience. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, check out Zoom tips!

Other Learning Materials

The other learning materials you will need for your SVARA course, including the Hint Sheet, Supplemental Texts, and reference works will become available through this portal and will be mailed to you in paper copy.


We can’t wait to welcome you to mitzvah-land!

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