Our Fellows

SVARA Fellows are the incredible folks who have completed (or are working towards completing) SVARA’s Teaching Kollel, a two-year learning and teacher education program designed to train a cadre of gifted, experienced, queer and trans educators. SVARA Fellows are an invaluable part of our community and we can’t wait for you to meet them!

SAM sits in the bet midrash, looking to the right.

SAM Luckey

mixed pronouns
SVARA Fellow
SAM Luckey is a queer and genderqueer rabbinical student at Hebrew College. In 2013 SAM and Talya Husbands-Hankin co-founded Glitter Kehilla, a community of younger adults of all genders and sexualities doing Jewish and being fabulous. As part of SAM’s rabbinic internship…
A black-and-white photo of Ortal high-fiving someone in the bet midrash.

Ortal Ullman

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Ortal Ullman loves asking questions so much that they made a whole career out of it. As an organizer, trainer, and coach, they’ve spent the last decade using questions to try to get to the root of things — so when they…
Natalie sits in front of a bookshelf.
SVARA Fellow
Natalie Boskin fell in love with the Talmud when she first cracked open a mesechet at the 2017 Queer Talmud Camp and has been a dedicated Svara learner ever since. She works as the Assistant Director of Youth Programs at Kehilla Synagogue (on…
Ma'ayan leans on a beige couch.
SVARA Fellow
Ma’ayan Seligsohn is a frum Rebbetz in Riverdale, NY who loves building community around the Shabbos table. They nurture beauty into the world through their garden, writing poetry grounded in Tanach, and of course lots of Gemara learning. On good days (and…
Kiki stands in front of a field of lavender flowers.
SVARA Fellow
Kiki Lipsett is an educator, musician, performer, and prayer leader in California’s Bay Area, on unceded Ohlone Land. She grew up at the intersection of music and Judaism, and her work over the past decade has revolved around music, performance, social justice,…
Julia stands in front of trees, grass, and buildings in the distance.
SVARA Fellow
Julia Spiegel is originally from Skokie, and is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew College. In 2017, Julia and RP Whitmore-Bard co-founded Queer and Trans Rosh Chodesh (QTRC) in Boulder, Colorado — a queer rosh chodesh group for young(ish) adults. In addition…
Erie stands in front of a green bush.

Erie Rosser

they/she/he
SVARA Fellow
Erie Rosser is an anarchist folk/punk/country musician living on the shores of the Salish Sea in so-called Seattle. They love Talmud for the same reason they love folk music – both are oral traditions containing tall tales, horrifying prejudice, and wisdom, all blended…
Chava sits in front of a field of flowers.

Chava Shapiro

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Chava Shapiro is a queer Jew dwelling on the lands of Tohono O’odham people. They are invigorated by the way that Talmud acts as a conduit of ancestral conversations that span space and time. They are an artist and writer exploring histories of…
Ari stands in front of a leafy background.

Ari L. Monts

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Ari L. Monts is an independent scholar, artist, and queer liturgist based in Sunnyside, NY. Their work looks at participatory performance rituals’ role in community formation. They’ve had their writing featured on Autostraddle, Bitch, and Ms. Magazine and were a 2021 ALEPH Kesher…
Alex stands in front of green plants.
SVARA Fellow
Alex Bailey Dillon is a globe-trotting Diaspora Jew currently based on Lenape land in/on Manhattan. Since being welcomed into Judaism by a small, DIY community in their college town of Edinburgh, Scotland, Alex has lived in Chicago, the Bay Area, and now…
Sarit sits in front of a fireplace with a stone wall around it. They are wearing tefilin on their arm and head and a red tank top.

Sarit Cantor

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Sarit Cantor is a community builder, artist, ritual leader, grief tender, prison abolitionist, off-the-derech femme. They are approaching the Teaching Kollel with a commitment to weave justice work with the work of the sacred. They see the Talmud as a direct connection…
Noah stands in front of a mosaic background. He is wearing a navy hoodie with stars on it.
SVARA Fellow
Noah Rubin-Blose is a rabbinical student at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rooted in Durham, NC, the homelands of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, he spent the last fifteen years working as a chef, baker, and community organizer. He is a maker…
Lev stands in front of a green, leafy background. He is wearing a red pattered sweater.
SVARA Fellow
Lev Taylor is a 3rd year rabbinic student at Leo Baeck College. Prior to training for the rabbinate, he worked in the charity and education sectors. He has been involved in the anarcho-Diasporist group, Jewdas. He lives in London with comrades who include…
Eliana sits in a bet midrash. Her arms rest on a table, and she is looking off too the left. She is wearing a brown shirt.
SVARA Fellow
Eliana Mastrangelo is a compassionate and skilled community organizer, teacher and trainer. She is studying to be a rabbi at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Previously, she was a Lead Organizer at Together Colorado, a multi-faith, multi-racial organization committed to placing…
A group of SVARA-niks are standing in a room. In the foreground, Binya is holding a silver cup. Their face is turned towards the cup, though their eyes are closed. They are wearing a floral tank top and a white-and-purple shawl.

Binya Kóatz

she/they
SVARA Fellow
Binya Kóatz is a sefardi / ashki / moroccan / argentinean / ukranian / french trans jewish torah-lover, who writes poetry, organizes jewish community and sings and dances with her foremothers. she revels in languages, and can’t *believe* the radical gay anarchist…
Sara looks off to the left, hand in the air. She is wearing a blue shirt and baseball cap.
SVARA Fellow
Sara Lynn Newberger (BS, University of Illinois; MA, Brandeis University, Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service and Education; Jerusalem Fellow) Sara Lynn remembers receiving her first chumash in 3rd grade – and thus was born a love of studying Torah. Born in…
Noah sits on the floor, legs outstretched. He is looking and leaning to the left, one arm resting against his chest.
SVARA Fellow
Noah Westreich is a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Prior to studying for the rabbinate, he worked and lived in Washington, DC and Jackson, MS, where he served the Jewish communities of those regions. In DC, he also…
Frankie is reading from a Talmud that is resting against a table and on their lap. They are looking off to the left. Behind them is a red wood wall.
SVARA Fellow
Frankie Sandmel 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…
Earnest leans into his arm, which rests on a table. They have a finger pointing at a spot in the Talmud, and they are looking at their chevruta.
SVARA Fellow
Earnest Arky Solomon is a trans Jewish educator in the Boston area. He is in the incoming Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in Newton, MA. Earnest is passionate about Jewish storytelling, talmud study, and mentorship. Earnest received an M.A.…
Micah sits at a table, looking off to the left and smiling.
SVARA Fellow
Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael serves as Keshet’s Director of Education and Training. Before Keshet, Micah had the position of Coordinator of Community Chaplaincy with the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of St. Louis, where he provided personalized support, connection, and meaningful programming for…
Gray sits at a table, Talmud sitting open on their lap. They are looking to the right and pointing at something.

Gray Myrseth

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Rabbi Gray Myrseth works as School Director at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland. Gray was ordained by Hebrew College of Newton, MA in June 2017 and has worked as a Jewish educator and congregational leader, an LGBTQ inclusion trainer and consultant, and…
Dev sits at a table, smiling and looking at their chevruta. They have their hand in a Talmud.

Dev Noily

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Rabbi Dev Noily serves as Senior Rabbi at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland, California. Founded in 1984, Kehilla integrates Jewish spiritual practice and progressive activism in deep community. Dev is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and has also…
Zissel, engaged in conversation, looks at the person seated across from them. They are indoors, wearing a sleeveless black top and glasses.

Zissel Piazza

they/them
SVARA Fellow
Elya (Zissel זיסל) Piazza drags as a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley researching and writing queer readings of Jewish texts and culture. They are also a rabbinical student at RRC. Zissel teaches Yiddish and Talmud in both academic and community settings, and…
Hayley is looking off camera and speaking to someone. She is sitting behind a shtender and wearing a mustard cardigan.
SVARA Fellow
Rabbi Hayley Goldstein received her smicha and MA in Jewish studies from Hebrew College Rabbinical School in 2019. As an Cohort One Fellow of the SVARA Teaching Kollel, she is passionate about facilitating encounters with Jewish texts for all ages, and enjoys…

noa ilana

she/they
SVARA Fellow
noa g.e. (she/they) is a community facilitator, trauma worker, ritual leader, writer, street medic, atypical femme currently living on traditional and unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory. noa’s approach to the Teaching Kollel is bound up in a commitment to honour a covenant of radically just,…
Learning Coordinator
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…
Rabbi Becky is visible from the shoulders up. He is wearing a pink v-neck t-shirt, and is smiling with his head tilted slightly to the right. He is standing in front of a blurred bushy background, with some flowers visible.
Co-Director of the Trans Halakha Project
Rabbi Becky Silverstein believes in the power of community, Torah, and silliness in transforming the world. He strives to build a Jewish community and world that encourages and allows everyone to live a life that reflects their inherent divinity / dignity. Becky…
Director of Programs
Elaina Marshalek loves to color code her daf (page of Talmud) in full rainbow. She is hungry to help uncover the Torah and wisdom that y’all SVARA-niks carry. Elaina was born, raised, schooled, and still resides in the Bay Area, Ohlone territory.…
Faculty
Rabbi Bronwen Mullin (ord. 2017, MA Midrash JTS, BA in Theater and Religious Studies, Sarah Lawrence College) is the rabbi of Carov, an independent mishkan with a mission in Jersey City, and was the first-ever appointed Rabbinic Artist-in-Residence of the Jewish Theological…
Jess is outside and looks at the camera. They have short hair, glasses, and a dark blue shirt. There are a few trees and shrubs in the background of the image.

Jess Belasco

they/she
Director of Disability Justice Torah Circle and SVARA Rabbinic Intern
Jess Belasco is a radical torah teacher, organizer, and community convener primarily focused on disabled and queer Jewish communities. They are very nearly finished with rabbinical school at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where they are focusing on midrash and pastoral care, and…
Jhos Singer sits in the bet midrash. There is a volume of Talmud in front of him and he glances towards someone standing outside of the frame. Jhos is wearing a checkered button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows.
SVARA Fellow
Maggid Jhos Singer is a professional Jewish educator, writer, and speaker. He is an out transman, a parent of three, devoted spouse, craft cocktail mixologist, neophyte straight razor shaving nerd, and a skillful home chef. He relishes engaging in Jewish text study,…

Julie Batz

she/her
Faculty
Julie Batz is passionate about delving into Judaism’s texts and traditions in accessible and meaningful ways with all who are curious to explore! This has been the throughline of her more than two decades of work as a Jewish educator, congregational leader,…
SVARA Fellow
Rabbi Lauren Tuchman is a sought-after speaker, spiritual leader, and educator. Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 2018, she is, as far as she is aware, the first blind woman in the world to enter the rabbinate. She provides consulting to…
Program Coordinator
Olivia Devorah Tucker fell in love with Talmud when the local Moishe House asked them to lead a Unicorn themed Shabbat. They couldn’t resist the deep dive into Judaism’s supernatural creatures and have never resurfaced – the books on Jewish myth, magic,…
Arielle looks off to the left and smiles. She is wearing a blue sweater.
SVARA Fellow
Arielle Tonkin is a queer mixed Moroccan and Ashkenazi Jewish artist, educator, and spiritual director based in so-called Berkeley, CA on Ohlone land. Arielle works to dismantle white supremacy through arts & culture work and Jewish and interfaith education work. Arielle weaves…
Annie, wearing a black sweater, is in front of a brown bookshelf.
SVARA Fellow
Annie Sommer Kaufman 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.…
Xava looks toward the camera. She is indoors, wearing a fuchsia head scarf and red cardigan.
SVARA Fellow
Rabbi Xava de Cordova is a disabled, Sefardi, Mizraxi trans woman and co-host of the world’s first Queer Talmud podcast, “Xai, how are you?” She is a long-time SVARA-style Talmud learner who got her start as a teacher by creating Beit Midrash…
Maayan is smiling in front of a painting of red and green leaves.
SVARA Fellow
Maayan Belding-Zidon is a rabbinical student at Schechter in Jerusalem. Born and raised on the lands of the Wappinger people in Hyde Park, NY, she has degrees in Modern Middle East Studies (Yale 2013), Talmud and community management (Machon Schechter 2020), and…
Lonnie, sitting at a table, is smiling at someone.
SVARA Fellow
Lonnie Kleinman is a rising fifth year student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Originally from Tohomo O’odham land, aka Tucson, AZ, Lonnie is a queer, fat femme. Before moving to Philadelphia, on Lenape Land, Lonnie organized Jewish communities throughout the Southern United States…
SVARA Fellow
Koach Baruch (KB) Frazier, Au.D., brings healing, Torah, and music to the movement and to the bet midrash. An experienced facilitator, educator, and spiritual leader, Koach has taught on the intersections of racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy across the country as a…
Kendra stands in front of an orange wall and smiles at the camera. They are wearing a gray sweater and blue denim jacket.
SVARA Fellow
Kendra Watkins is a connector of people and seeks to be a truth-teller and generous human. Through their love of our people, Kendra works to strengthen the relationships of Jews of Color across the Midwest and beyond, by weaving the past, present…
SVARA Fellow
Jorge Sánchez was born in Hialeah, a suburb of Miami, Florida, on Tequesta land. He has spent most of his adult life writing poetry and teaching English, helping students own the transformative potential of reading and writing. Jorge discovered the beauty of…
Esther is standing outside in front of trees. She is wearing a green plaid shirt and glasses with dark frames.
SVARA Fellow
Esther Mack loves studying books of all kinds. Although she didn’t know it at the time, she first fell in love with talmud by applying hermeneutics to the Harry Potter books. Many years later, Esther reconnected with the magic of gemara when…
daph looks at the camera. They are indoors, wearing a dark gray shirt.
SVARA Fellow
daph ben david is an anarchist diasporic Jew of Eastern European and Arab lineage, born and raised on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka and Anishnaabe territory, so-called Montreal, Quebec. Working as a substitute teacher in the public education system, and an educator with Jewish teens,…