The S&M Bet Midrash

Six years ago, Mishkan and SVARA teamed up to create the S&M Bet Midrash, which has been a place of extraordinary community-building and a home for the traditionally radical, hardcore, queer Talmud learning you’ve all come to know and love, since its inception.

At SVARA we are deeply grateful to our partners at Mishkan, and to all of you who came and filled the seats and opened your hearts and your masechtas over the last six years. You showed us what a bet midrash could be. Before S&M, we thought SVARA was a school, running classes with students. Then learners at S&M started saying “This is my Jewish home, this is my community,” and created the lightbulb that became SVARA’s vision for the future, with a bet midrash in every neighborhood and on every college campus, as one of the many places that folks might choose to do their Jewish and find their Jewish community. We’re deeply invested in the belief that learning in a bet midrash will be one of the way lots of Jews and others will connect with their community and have a religious and spiritual practice in their lives in the future. Thousands of people have come through the S&M doors and learned with us, taking the tradition into their own hands, becoming players, and helping us build a movement of traditionally radical Talmud study all over the world.

S&M helped us create this vision, and now both Mishkan and SVARA are ready for our next adventures! We continue to thrive and grow as communities, elaborating on this vision inside of our own organizations. We’re writing today to let you all know that the S&M Bet Midrash in its current iteration will not continue, as Mishkan and SVARA continue growing and deepening our communities. But don’t despair! We’re not going anywhere, and will both continue to offer deep and radical learning, in Chicago and beyond!

Head over to Mishkan Chicago’s website for tons of information on ways to be involved in Mishkan’s amazing community!

As for SVARA, we’ll continue offering bet midrash learning immediately for S&M-ers and everyone in the Chicago area who hasn’t had a chance yet to get in on it! Check out the details below for learning opportunities with SVARA this spring!

March 5, 7-9:30pm | Sketchpad
4700 N Ravenswood Ave, Suite B, Chicago
Info Here | Register Here

Come to one, two, or all three!
March 6, April 10, May 8
6:30–9:30pm | Sketchpad
4700 N Ravenswood Ave, Suite B, Chicago
Info Here | Register Here

Level up on your Talmud skills and live your best #QueerTalmudNerd life!
March 24, 8:45am- 5:30pm
Info Here |
Register Here

SVARA learners are springing up as teachers all over the country, convening and teaching their own bet midrash communities. We couldn’t be prouder, or more inspired! And we’ve got a number of amazing SVARA-method batei midrash happening in Chicago, taught by fabulous folks, such as Amir Starr Weg, Annie Kaufman, Sarah Palmer, Rabbi Megan GoldMarche, and Caleb Bromberg. Stay tuned with SVARA’s newsletter and on our Facebook page for details about upcoming opportunities to learn with these rosh yeshivas of the future!

And stay tuned for a grassroots bet midrash hosted by Mishkan in the future, as well!

And finally, consider applying to SVARA’s Transformative Talmud Teaching Fellowship! Many of you have been learning in S&M for up to six years, and would make incredible leaders of the bet midrash-centered Jewish future! Are you committed to Talmud study as a spiritual practice? Are you invested in creating transformative and empowering learning experiences? Are you queer? Check it out here, and reach out to Mónica or Laynie to talk more about it!

There are so many upcoming ways to keep getting your gemara and svara on in the bet midrash, and we can’t wait to keep learning with you!