SVARA Scholars-in-Residence

Scholars-in-Residence are experienced Jewish educators, facilitators, and/or rabbis who bring their unique experiences to SVARA’s learning spaces, offering new perspectives and insights based on the specific lens through which they view the world. Scholars-in-Residence understand that experiences of marginalization can lead to powerful insights and strive to center these insights, both their own and those of their students, in their teaching. 

As we continue to invest in growing leaders through our batei midrash and mentorship, we’re working to ensure that our dazzling community is reflected by our teaching team. Each zman (season), we’re holding a specific Scholar-in-Residence role for queer and/or trans teachers who identify as Black Jews and/or Jews of Color.


Devin Samuels (he/him) is a poet educator who has been performing on local and national stages for the last 10 years. With a strong investment in community, Devin Samuels has spent years cultivating youth arts spaces throughout New England. In Detroit, Devin Samuels worked with Inside Out Literary Arts Project supplying poetry programming to youth throughout the city. His pedagogy utilizes poetics to grow critical thinking, self-reflection, and empathy within students. Devin is a 2017 Poetry Foundation Incubator Fellow and his work can be found in City & Sea Poetry Anthology, Slag Review, Wayne Literary Review 2018 and Systematic Crises of Global Climate Change: Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender.

Learn with Devin:

A Toolkit for Refining Our Guts: Developing Our ‘Svara’ Off-the-Page 

Mondays, 5:00-7:00 PM ET | 4:00-6:00 PM CT | 2:00-4:00 PM PT | Oct. 25-Dec. 6 | LEARN MORE & REGISTER HERE

How can we cultivate a regular practice of refining our “svara”? In this dialogue-driven learning space, we’ll encounter a set of multi-disciplinary tools and teachings that help us develop the places in our bodies and brains where our ‘svara’ lives as we integrate them into a lived, daily practice. Using multiple modalities including poetry, personal reflection, writing, dialogue, and creative process, our learning aims to culminate in a more developed and more acute embodied svara. This class is not about “owning” text, but will focus on heart-opening vulnerability, challenging, and questioning. We’ll do rigorous self-excavation; bring your open, resilient, embodied, and present self, and show up ready to interact fully in dialogue with each other! Note: This class is designed for SVARA-niks who have attended an online semester shiur, Queer Talmud Camp, or multiple sessions of SVARA’s Mishnah Collective.

In addition to this multi-week course, SVARA-niks will have the opportunity to learn with Devin throughout the zman in Open Bet Midrash. Stay tuned for information about Devin’s Open Bet Midrash workshop!