Video Campaign

Leverage the Love

December 31, 2013

Dear SVARA-niks,

Yes, it’s the last day for tax-deductible, year-end giving, but…SVARA is asking you not to click any DONATE buttons for us. Radical, we know, but that’s how we roll.

We know how much you love SVARA. And we know you’d give us a donation if we asked. But we have another idea. If you’ve learned with SVARA in the past year—or the past ten years—and SVARA has really meant something to you and you want a way to give back, here’s the plan:

We want to leverage your love.

Let’s face it, if we lined you all up in front of a group of prospective donors, and you told them how learning with SVARA has changed your lives, we know they’d write us a really big check. And we could spread the SVARA love even further. Right? But since we can’t take all of you with us to our meetings with donors, we’ve cooked up an idea.

Instead of contributing a year-end, tax-deductible donation to SVARA this year, we’re asking you to take a short video of yourself talking about how SVARA has rocked your world.

We’ll edit those into a short montage that we can show funders and potential students. Because, let’s face it, there’s no one better than you to explain how SVARA changes lives and impacts communities. We’re just betting that when funders see what SVARA really means to so many of you, they’ll want to help us grow SVARA into the yeshiva of the new, traditionally radical Jewish future.

Whether you’re a long-time SVARA-nik or have learned just a single line of Talmud with us, studied with us this year or ten years ago, or just dropped in for CRASH–tell us your SVARA story. And maybe you haven’t even had the SVARA experience yourself, but love the effect it’s had on your partner, your child, your Facebook feed, or your community. Or maybe you just get how important it is for a place like SVARA to exist in the world–share the love.

So, rather than pulling out your checkbook, pull out your computer, your camera or your smartphone. Record yourself for a few minutes and talk about your SVARA experience. That would be the best gift you could give us this year.

Click here now to send us an email, letting us know that you’re up for making a video, and we’ll send you all the how-to’s.

Because of you, 2013 has been an incredible year for SVARA. Thank you for learning with us, supporting us, believing in us, and loving us. We send the love right back!

Wishing you all a traditionally radical new year,





What will my video be used for?
  • To help us at SVARA understand better not only what we’re trying to do in the world, but what we’re actually doing.
  • To  help us create a video montage that we can show prospective donors, to illustrate why SVARA and organizations like it are important.
  • By submitting your video, you agree to allow us to share it, or portions of it, with prospective donors.
Making the video
  • Sit in front of your computer, your camera, or your phone and record a video (see talking points, below)
  • You can do it by yourself or–even more fun!– do a group video with a bunch of    SVARA-niks!
  • Limit the video to no longer than 15 minutes or so.
  • The deadline for video submissions is January 31, 2014.
Talking points

Here are some suggested questions or topics you might speak about. Or come up with your own! It’s up to you! 

  • Tell us who you are, where you live, and what you do in the world: “My name is _________, I’m from ________, I ­­­­­­­­­_________, and I am a SVARAnik (or my girlfriend/partner/son/daughter/etc., is a SVARA-nik).”
  • Paint a picture of what it’s like to learn at SVARA for someone who has no idea.
  • How is learning at a traditionally radical yeshiva different from anywhere else you’ve learned?
  • How is SVARA different from other Jewish and/or Queer spaces you’ve been in?
  • Tell us about a particular memory that has stayed with you from your time at SVARA?
  • Talk about how the CRASH Talk has impacted how you think about life, the Jewish tradition or your place in it. Do you find yourself using the words “crash,” “option 1,” “option 2,” option 3,” etc., in your everyday life?
  • Before SVARA, what was your relationship to:
      • Jewish texts,
      • the Jewish tradition, and/or
      • the Jewish community?
  • How has your relationship to these changed since SVARA?
  • If you want, tell us how you identify: Queer/straight/trans/gay/lesbian/bi/genderqueer/intersex, etc.
  • How are you part of the Queer experience?
  • How has SVARA impacted how you feel about being, or your ability to be, both Queer and Jewish at the same time (if, in fact, you are both Queer and Jewish)?
  • As a result of SVARA, how are you (your partner, your child, etc.) different?
  • How does SVARA impact the Queer community?
  • How does SVARA impact the Jewish community?
  • How has your learning at SVARA influenced what you do in the world, how you do it, or how you feel when you do it?
  • How, specifically, have you brought what you’ve learned from SVARA into your life and into the world?
  • What’s your dream for SVARA? Full time yeshiva? A SVARA in every city? Open bet midrash every night of the week? SVARA-trained teachers in every Hebrew school? SVARA-ordained rabbis?
  • Why do you think it’s important for funders to invest in SVARA or places like it?
  • Or anything you’d like to say! You share the love however you want!
How do I send you my video?

You have a few great options for sending us your video:

  • Create your video.
  • Go to and sign up as a user.
  • Click the green “Go to Hub” button on the top right corner.
  • At the top of the page, click the “Upload” Button.
  • Click the “Browse Files” Button and select the video file you wish to upload.
  • Click the “Start Upload” Button. Your video will take several minutes to upload.
  • Once the upload has completed, click the button on the top of the page titled, “Media.”
  • Select the drop-down menu on the video that you just uploaded and click “Share.”
  • Select “SVARA’s Leverage Your Love Campaign” and then click “Done.”
  • Bam! Done!
2.  DropBox
  • Create your video.
  • Upload your video to your DropBox account.
  • Share your video with SVARA at [email protected].
  • Yeah! You did it!
3.  Talk Me Through It!
  • You’d really love to share your story, but options 1 and 2 seem really complicated.
  • Don’t worry!
  • Call us at 773-349-2124 or send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll talk you through it.
  • It’s that easy!
4.  Come And Interview Me!
  • You’d really love to share your story, but just talking to the camera isn’t your thing.
  • Send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll schedule a time to talk.
5.  Open Recording Times
  • If you’re a current student of SVARA or live locally, we’ll have times before and after bet midrash for you to record privately  in front of our computer. Then we’ll do the rest! Just email [email protected] to inquire about time slots.




So much love!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!