Mixed-Level Bet Midrash

a weekly deep-dive into traditionally radical Talmud with SVARA

Mondays, February 1st* – March 22nd

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

*There is a required orientation for new learners on Sunday, January 31st for folks who have not previously learned Talmud with SVARA!

Are you ready to make a weekly commitment to Talmud? SVARA is serving up a MIXED-LEVEL BET MIDRASH this winter, co-taught by Laynie Soloman, SVARA’s Associate Rosh Yeshiva and SVARA Fellow Browen Mullin. Register today and join your Queer Talmud comrades for a weekly shiur that will enable you to deepen your learning practice in this uncertain time.

We’ll draw from the juicy and joyous well of Talmud study and chevruta learning, and dig into a sugya that—on the surface—deals with questions of interpersonal harm, power, and oppression. As we learn this text, we’ll explore the ways in which the rabbis upgrade the tradition they’ve been given, offering us tools for radical change in our own lives. This learning space is an opportunity for learners of all levels & experiences to explore Talmud in a queer-normative learning space that is rigorous and joyful.

About this learning space:

This learning space is for anyone—from beginners to advanced Talmudists—and will provide learners with the scaffolding and tools to be challenged at their own learning level in a rigorous and supportive environment. Each weekly session will combine chevruta learning (learning in pairs) and collective unpacking of the text in shiur

This learning experience is for folks who:

  • have encountered Talmud before and want to understand more about what SVARA’s approach to traditionally radical Talmud is all about 
  • have learned with SVARA before and want to deepen their skills as learners
  • want to level-up their learning by maintaining a substantial weekly learning practice
  • NOTE: if you’ve never learned Talmud before, you’re welcome to join this learning space! You can also check out Queer Talmud for Beginner’s Mind for an experience specifically designed for first-time learners)

What you’ll need:

  • a commitment to join for each session
  • a ‘Jastrow’ dictionary (NOTE: while we know the Jastrow Dictionary is available online, we strongly recommend using a book for this learning, access needs notwithstanding. If you’re having trouble finding a Jastrow Dictionary, you can order one directly from the publisher here or from your local Jewish bookstore.)
  • a ‘Frank’ dictionary

Beyond these, we’ll send you everything you need to learn with us!

Not sure if this is the right learning space for you? Take this quick quiz to help you figure it out!

Registration & Cost:

As a yeshiva, SVARA aspires to be radically inclusive and is committed to creating spaces that center the voices and experiences of those who have been marginalized from Jewish life and learning. In order to maintain a diverse learning community that demographically represents our wide range of learners, we have implemented a 2-step registration process that allows us to reserve space for underrepresented identities. We have set a goal of maintaining a significant majority of queer- and trans-identifying people in attendance at each of our programs, as well as prioritizing the participation of people of color and people with disabilities. 

We will be admitting registrants on a rolling basis. You should expect to hear from us within three business days based upon the receipt of your registration.

Tuition for the Mixed Level Bet Midrash is offered on a sliding scale of $100-$425. If the tuition scale is beyond your means, you will be offered the opportunity to make a contribution that is meaningful to you.


Your Teaching Team:

Bet Midrash Faculty

Laynie Soloman (they/them) – Associate Rosh Yeshiva

Laynie is a passionate teacher of Jewish text, thought, and tradition, they believe deeply in the power of Talmud study as a healing and liberatory spiritual practice. They have spent several years learning and teaching in various batei midrash (homes for Jewish learning) including at Hadar, an egalitarian yeshiva in New York City, where they currently serve as an adjunct faculty member. Laynie is completing a Dual M.A. in Talmud/Rabbinic Literature & Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Goucher College. They love facilitating experiences of Jewish learning that uplift the piously irreverent, queer, and subversive spirit of rabbinic text and theology, and they have taught and lectured on these topics in various community spaces, campuses, and in academic settings. When not in shul or learning Talmud, you can find Laynie reading about liberation theology, collecting comic books, and singing niggunim.

Bronwen Mullin (she/her) – SVARA Fellow

Bronwen is the rabbi of Congregation Bnai Jacob of Jersey City where she gets to rabble-rouse in all the right places. She is a playwright, composer, and performance artist. Her Hebrew/Aramaic opera “Chalom” based on the 9th chapter of Masechet Berakhot, appeared in the 2012 International NYC Fringe Festival. Bronwen is currently developing her 2nd full-scale opera, “Bat Yiftach: A Tragic Punk Opera” thanks to a JTS Seeds of Innovation and Myers Family grant. Bronwen is also an inaugural fellow with the Rising Song Institute.


Amir Weg (he/him) – SVARA Fellow

Amir moved to Chicago in 2009 after a brief stint hanging out in the Kosher Halal Co-op at Oberlin College. In Summer 2011 he participated in The Adamah Fellowship, a three-month Jewish ecology and leadership program, which nurtured his love of Jewish community, confirmed his interest in Environmental Studies, and gave him a chance to get his hands dirty. In the past few years, Amir has, on and off, worked as an urban farmer, studied Environmental Science at DePaul University, and built Jewish community at Moishe House Rogers Park. Amir has been studying at SVARA since 2013, was SVARA’s 2016 Fellow, and brings insights gained as a SVARA learner to his work.

Hayley Goldstein (she/her) – SVARA Fellow

Hayley is just your average frum, queer, rabbinical student from Minnesota. Though she has studied Talmud in a dozen different settings, she fell in love with Talmud when learning from a queer teacher in a queer beit midrash at Svara’s Queer Talmud Camp in Wisconsin. She is a passionate Jewish educator who’s experiences range from teaching 2nd graders Aleph-Bet Yoga in a Brooklyn classroom, to feeding goats with 7th graders at Ramah of the Rockies in Colorado, to teaching chassidus in the woods to teens, and more. Hayley’s other passions include, but are not limited to: acapella, puppeteering, pottery, cooking, yoga, and her fat, glorious cat, Yossi.