Making Space for Accountability and Repair

Inevitably, there are moments where we let one another down, misstep, misspeak, hurt others, or get hurt ourselves. This is part of the deal when building community (not to mention when just being human!), and it can get messy. Harm can happen on multiple levels and we are here to nurture a community where it’s okay to own mistakes and work towards repairing them. While we always strive to reach resolutions that lead to an ongoing relationship with SVARA, we reserve the right to restrict people from learning with us for a given period of time or, in some cases, indefinitely, as they move through a teshuva process.

Harm from Surfacing Past Events 

  • We welcome you to the bet midrash in your current context, as the person you are today. And we also recognize that each of us brings a personal history to SVARA—some aspects that we’re proud of and some aspects that we wish we could have done differently. Even as we attempt to make SVARA as safe a space as possible, there may be times that the struggles someone else brings to the table will be difficult for you or create an issue for you. If you are triggered by something in another participant’s past, we invite you to reach out to a staff member for support.

Harm Between Participants in the Present Moment

  • If you experience harm or are concerned you may have harmed someone else, please reach out to a staff member for support. We’re here to listen, to support processes of transformative repair whenever possible, and to remind you all that you’re human and humans make mistakes. We might invite you to engage in a process of teshuva, the Jewish spiritual practice of acknowledging and repairing harm and asking for forgiveness (invented by our oh-so-queer talmudic ancestors!), and are happy to talk you through how that could work.

Harm Between Participants and SVARA’s Staff, Faculty, or Fairies

  • Our team is committed to embodying the steps of transformative repair that we ask of our community and we take your feedback and trust seriously. We are always open to direct feedback about any ways in which we may have caused or perpetuated harm in our learning spaces. If you experience harm in the bet midrash from a staff member or teacher, and feel that it’s too challenging for whatever reason to engage the person directly, please reach out to Ayana or Sam (our executive director and board chair, respectively) who can help guide you through next steps. Your feedback to Ayana or Sam will remain confidential unless you request otherwise, and you are welcome to request that your feedback be offered to a staff person or teacher anonymously.

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