Winter Shiur for Experienced SVARA-niks

a weekly deep-dive into traditionally radical Talmud with SVARA

Wednesdays, February 3rd – March 24th

8:00-9:30 PM ET | 7:00-8:30 PM CT | 5:00-6:30 PM PT

Experienced & advanced learning at SVARA is not about covering more—it’s about going deeper. Get ready to go deep, and take your learning to the next level with a weekly shiur that will focus on rigorous attention to details and radical attunement to letters and historical layers. 

You’ll be expected to prepare in chevruta for 1.5-2 hours weekly in advance of our shiur. 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. 

About this learning space:

Y’all will be expected to prepare material in chevruta and do chazara on previously covered material in advance of shiur each week. You must register for this shiur along with a chevruta. Don’t have a chevruta? Sign up for our Mixed-Level Bet Midrash! Not sure if this is the right learning space for you? Take this quick quiz to help you figure it out!

This learning experience is for folks who:

  • want to deepen their skills as independent learners
  • have a chevruta and are excited to commit to learning with their chevruta outside of shiur for approximately 2 hours/week
  • have learned Talmud with SVARA previously, and are comfortable with SVARA’s 4-step method (prep in chevruta, inside/outside translations in shiur, chazara, recitation)

What you’ll need:

  • a chevruta
  • a commitment to learn for approximately 2 hours with your chevruta in between sessions
  • 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.)

We’ll be learning from Masechet Bava Metzia. If you have a copy of this masechet, fabulous! If you’d like to order one from SVARA, you may do so at registration. About a week before we begin, we’ll share access to the Daf, Hint Sheet, and all of the other goodies you need to bring the bet midrash to you, all available in one convenient resource portal.

Registration & Cost:

Please note: This shiur is designed for folks who have previously learned Talmud in a SVARA bet midrash, and all folks must register along with a chevruta with whom they’ll prepare the weekly assigned material. Not sure if this is the right learning space for you? Take this quick quiz to help you figure it out!

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 Shiur for Experienced SVARA-niks 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.


Elaina Marshalek (she/her) – SVARA Fellow

Elaina loves studying Talmud, and likes to color code her daf in full rainbow. She recently returned from studying for a year at Yeshivat Hadar in New York, where she taught Talmud out of her living room in Brooklyn. She is excited to continue experimenting with “lay teaching” with SVARA, and to help support the vibrant learning community in her forever home of the Bay Area. When she’s not studying, Elaina works as Director of Strategy for UCSF Health.


Frankie Sandmel (they/them) – SVARA Fellow

Frankie is an educator, community organizer and rabbinical student in Boston, MA. They are originally from the Chicago area where they learned to love teaching, Talmud, and teaching Talmud while working and studying at SVARA and the Jewish Enrichment Center. Now on their way to becoming a rabbi, Frankie continues to teach students of all ages, to organize the Jewish community towards justice, and to bake cookies whenever possible.