Laynie Soloman

( they/them )
Associate Rosh Yeshiva & Director of Transformative Leadership

Laynie Soloman is a passionate teacher of Jewish text and thought, and they believe deeply in the power of Talmud study as a healing and liberatory spiritual practice. They love facilitating Jewish learning that uplifts the piously irreverent, queer, and subversive spirit of rabbinic text and theology. Laynie holds a M.A. in Jewish Education from The Jewish Theological Seminary, is a Schusterman Fellow (Cohort 5), and received the Covenant Foundation’s 2020 Pomegranate Prize for Emerging Jewish Educators. Laynie is an Ashkenazi third generation Philadelphian, and when they’re not learning Talmud, you can find Laynie reading about liberation theology, collecting comic books, and singing nigunim.

Blog posts by Laynie Soloman

A Stolen Lulav

“What is my lulav good for in a collapsing world?” I asked myself this while sitting in my sukkah the…

Where Is Mitzvah-Land?

“Welcome to mitzvah-land.” I first heard this phrase in 2017, standing in the back of the bet midrash at Queer…

Making the Tradition What We Say It Is

Content warning: This piece names historical anti-Jewish violence and current violence in Palestine. Earlier this week, Israeli settlers carried out…

On the Table in Front of Us

Years before I entered a SVARA bet midrash, I learned a text from a friend, who learned it from a…

When a Text Needs to Crash

Content warning: this piece mentions a Talmudic text that deals with the theme of sexual violence. One morning during the…

Becoming Halakhically Ungovernable

Though it’s a bit over oversimplified, many folks often characterize our tradition as “legalistic.” As a Talmud-lover, I get it.…

The Power of Our Minhag

Last week, the Conservative movement’s halakhic decision-making team, the Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards (CJLS), approved a teshuva, a…

Halakha Beyond the Binary

“Halakha is so rigid!” “Judaism is all about binaries.” “In Jewish tradition, it’s either one or the other.” I often…

Celebrating a Gemara-versary

For me and Talmud, it was love at first sight. Like Yentl, I remember walking through a crowded room of…

Retraining Our Guts

This fall, SVARA welcomed Devin Samuels as our Scholar-in-Residence, who taught “Svara Off the Page: A Toolkit for Refining Our…

Learning K’Neged Kulam

Earlier this week, we siyum-ed, celebrating the 150 SVARA-niks who dug in deep this Elul as we moved into this…

Breathing into the Rubble

*This piece and the Torah behind it has been informed by almost a decade of friendship, chevruta-ship, and learning from…

Delighting in Our Learning

As we wrapped up our semester of weekly learning for the Teaching Kollel, I declared (as I often do!), that…

Towards Halakhic Euphoria

When I started planning to have top surgery, I never wondered whether I could get top surgery according to halakha.…

Investing in Queer & Trans Torah

We have heard from y’all time and time again that the most powerful, connected moments of learning happen when we…

Open Our Hearts Through Torah

In the bet midrash, in meetings, and in conversations with SVARA-niks and community members week after week, I hear a…

Expanding Our Canon

What counts as Torah? Who decides? What makes it into the canon, and what remains on the outside, seen as…

Say Little. Do Much.

  …שַׁמַּאי אוֹמֵר עֲשֵׂה תוֹרָתְךָ קֶבַע אֱמֹר מְעַט וַעֲשֵׂה הַרְבֵּה Shammai used to say: Make your learning fixed. Speak little,…

A Kiss from the Sages

There is no feeling like being in a full bet midrash. In the bet midrash I hear and feel the…

OK, We Left Egypt. Now What?

Passover’s over. Egypt is behind us. That first glimpse of liberation is exhilarating. You’re free! At least that’s the story…

The Meta-Miracle of Chanukah

Chanukah is filled with miracles—long-lasting surprise pockets of oil, an unexpected military victory, the legacy of zealous resistance in the…