Mixed-Level Bet Midrash

Section 1: Invention of Teshuva (Yoma 85b)
Mondays, August 9th, 16th, 23rd*
8:00 – 10:00 PM ET | 7:00 – 9:00 PM CT | 5:00 – 7:00 PM PT

Section 2: Imagining Reparations (Gittin 55a)
Tuesdays, August 10th, 17th, 24th*
6:00 – 8:00 PM ET | 5:00 – 7:00 PM PM CT | 3:00 – 5:00 PM PT

*All Sections: CRASH Talk and Orientation for comrades new to SVARA Talmud learning
Sunday, August 8th
7:00 – 9:00 PM ET | 6:00 – 8:00 PM PM CT | 4:00 – 6:00 PM PT

Are you ready to make a weekly commitment to Talmud? Here are two opportunities to get in on a Mixed-Level Bet Midrash this summer

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. 

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 as a large group. 

This learning space 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 dig into SVARA’s core texts
  • want to level-up their learning by maintaining a substantial weekly learning practice
  • want to get matched with a chevruta or have one already
  • can commit to joining us for all sessions
  • 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, an experience specifically designed for first-time learners, which will be offered again in the fall.

Enrollment and Tuition:

 We prioritize maintaining a significant majority of queer- and trans-identifying people in each program, and we prioritize the participation of people of color and people with disabilities. We will be enrolling registrants on a rolling basis, and 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 $85-$300.

Visit our Enrollment and Tuition page to learn more about the values that guide this process.

What SVARA texts are we learning this season?

Section 1: Invention of Teshuva (Yoma 85b)
Mondays, August 9th, 16th, 23rd* (3 sessions)
8:00 – 10:00 PM ET | 7:00 – 9:00 PM CT | 5:00 – 7:00 PM PT

In this sugya (Talmud text), we’ll witness the Rabbis’ creation of teshuva (relational repair) out of a sacrificial system. As we track this journey, we’ll explore their understanding of what kind of person the Jewish tradition wants us to be, what kind of people we want to be, how our sages 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.

Section 2: Imagining Reparations (Gittin 55a)
Tuesdays, August 10th, 17th, 24th* (3 sessions)
6:00 – 8:00 PM ET | 5:00 – 7:00 PM PM CT | 3:00 – 5:00 PM PT

We’ll explore the nature of repair–personally, communally, and systemically. The text we’ll learn highlights questions of systemic injustice, personal transformation, healing, and repair. While the limits of the application of this text to our own lives are endless, many have used this text as a source-text for conversations about reparations.

Your Teaching Team:

Section 1

Bet Midrash Faculty

Bronwen Mullin (she/her) – SVARA Fellow

Bronwen is a SVARA Fellow and graducate of the SVARA Teaching Kollel. See serves as 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.

Section 2

Bet Midrash Faculty

Bronwen Mullin (she/her) – SVARA Fellow

Bronwen is a SVARA Fellow and graducate of the SVARA Teaching Kollel. See serves as 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.

Elaina Marshalek (she/her) – Director of Programs

Elaina loves to color code her daf (page of Talmud) in full rainbow. She is hungry to help uncover the Torah and wisdom that y’all SVARA-niks carry. Elaina was born, raised, schooled, and still resides in the Bay Area, Ohlone territory. She holds degrees in forestry, probability and an M.S. in engineering from UC Berkeley, and swears they all have to do with Talmud study. She is an alum of Yeshivat Hadar, spends time supporting mass social movement building, and has worked in an array of industries, leading her to tropical forests, salt ponds, and hospital hallways. Most recently, Elaina worked as Director of Strategy for UCSF Health, shepherding the organization through pandemic response and hospital recovery. She is thrilled to dive into full-time mitzvahland with SVARA and to support this rad, vibrant community as it grows and deepens. When she’s not learning Talmud, Elaina loves reading gay YA, playing piano, and working toward that sweet feeling of liberation.