Elul Chevruta Lovefest

There are lots of ways to learn at your fave queer yeshiva. Below you’ll find information about our upcoming offering, Elul Chevruta Lovefest! (And you can always join us for drop-in learning year-round!

Elul Chevruta Lovefest

August 30th – September 20th
Optional live sessions on Tuesdays, August 30th, September 6th, 13th, and 20th at 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT / 5 PM PT. 


This Elul, we invite you to explore the practice of chevruta learning and joyful experimentation with SVARA’s Elul Chevruta Lovefest! Studying Talmud is a spiritual practice that is done in chevruta—in accountable partnership. These learning relationships require practice, attention, and work. What better time to tend to our chevruta relationships than Elul, the season of preparation for the Days of Awe?!

SVARA’s Elul Chevruta Lovefest runs from August 30th through September 20th, with optional live sessions on Tuesdays at 8 PM ET / 7 PM CT / 5 PM PT:

  • August 30th
  • September 6th
  • September 13th
  • September 20th

This program is designed for learners who have had experience learning Talmud in the SVARA Method. Questions? Ask James!

Program Preview

Get ready for the gorgeous, centuries-old experiment of investing in deep, intentional chevruta study during the month of Elul!  

Studying Talmud is a spiritual practice done in “chevruta—in accountable partnership. Like all relationships, learning in chevruta requires care, attention, and work. The Rabbis designated the month of Elul to prepare for the Days of Awe (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), and it’s a prime time to tend to our chevruta dynamic. We invite y’all to take the opportunity to notice what aspects of our learning help us grow, become more self-aware, and become more empathetic.

We’ll make sure you and your chevruta have all the materials you need to learn together, including where to start, Hint Sheets, Kra Sheets, and other goodies. Get ready to pair this learning with lots of support from SVARA along the way, including:

  • A dedicated Fairy and lots of attention in Fairy Hours
  • Four optional live sessions, including:
    • A joyful Kick-Off and deep dive into chevruta learning
    • Open Bet Midrash sessions for you to learn with your chevruta with live support
    • A Siyum to MAJORLY clap you up! 

We hope you’ll join us on this collective journey of learning and reflection!


Which Texts Are On Tap

Sugya 1: Teshuva Mekhaperet (Yoma 85b)

The first sugya, Teshuva Mekhaperet, is drawn from the very last mishnah in Masechet Yoma. Witness how the Rabbis invent “teshuva” (relational repair) out of a sacrificial system. Track this journey and explore their understanding of who the Jewish tradition wants us to be and who we want to be. This sugya might be a good fit for you if you are hoping to deepen your experience learning mishnah, work through a kra proof, and explore how the Rabbis bring a new spiritual technology into practice. This sugya is in Hebrew only.

Sugya 2: Gedola Teshuva (Yoma 86a/b)

The second sugya, Gedola Teshuva, asks the question “What makes teshuva so great?” Seven sages weigh in with their answers in an epic Rabbinic drash-a-thon. We’re suggesting two options for how to learn this text: one short version (1-2 sessions) and one long version (8-10 sessions). Learn how the Rabbis dealt with the messy reality of human relationships and the complexity of repair. This sugya might be a good fit for you if you are dreaming of new ways to understand the power of teshuva, and are interested in learning how the Rabbis use their tradition by reaching for Torah concepts and verses to deepen the new practice they’re creating.

Sugya 3: Rabbinic Rebuke (Yoma 87a)

The third sugya, Rabbinic Rebuke, is a deep-dive into “tochecha,” or compassionate critique. ”Tochecha” is the act of inviting others to do teshuva for harm they’ve caused you, and is a practice that asks us to, at times, engage in direct communication when we’ve been hurt. In this text you’ll find two tales of Rabbis who exemplify what to do (or what not to do!) after experiencing harm. This sugya might be a good fit for you if you want to dive into some Aramaic and learn about tochecha and its relation to teshuva.