Spring Shiur for Experienced SVARA-niks

a weekly deep-dive into traditionally radical Talmud with SVARA

Wednesdays, April 21st – June 9th
8:00-9:30 PM ET | 7:00-8:30 PM CT | 5:00-6:30 PM PT

Registration for this shiur is full. Check out our DIY Bet Midrash if you want to learn in chevruta on your own time, supported by our SVARA team!

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:

This shiur is for serious, dedicated learners who have experience learning with SVARA, are very comfortable with SVARA’s method & approach to Talmud study, and are ready to maintain or significantly deepen their practice of learning with a chevruta. We strongly encourage you to sign up with a chevruta. Don’t have a chevruta? Register by April 5th to be matched with someone or signed up for our Mixed-Level Bet Midrash instead!

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, and recitation)

What you’ll need:

  • a commitment to learn for approximately 2 hours with your chevruta in between sessions
  • a Jastrow dictionary and a Frank 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 chevruta if you register after April 5th

We’ll be learning from Masechet Sanhedrin. 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:

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 $175-$500. 


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.



Amir Weg 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.


Annie Sommer Kaufman (she/her) teaches sewing, Talmud, and Yiddish; sewing at RefugeeOne, where she manages the sewing studio, Talmud at The Lace Midrash, which grew out of her training as a SVARA learner and teacher, and Yiddish at Chicago’s YIVO and Workers’ Circle. Anye is translating an American communist novel to English with the support of The Yiddish Book Center, and serves on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace.