Meet the Team

Julie Batz (she/her) – Faculty

Julie is a Fellow in the SVARA Teaching Kollel and a spiritual leader and educator serving the Bay Area Jewish community. Together, she and Maggid Jhos Singer are the Congregational Leaders of Chochmat HaLev, a center for Jewish spirituality in Berkeley where in addition to co-designing and leading engaging, musical, and inspiring services, she provides pastoral counseling, teaches adult education classes, mentors musical service leaders, and officiates congregants’ lifecycle events. In addition to her congregational work, Julie’s bnei mitzvah training and facilitation practice serves independent Jewish families, offering them the opportunity to (re)connect Jewishly in their families and the larger Jewish community. She extends particular welcome those who have felt themselves in the margins: families new to Jewish ritual, kids with learning differences, multi-faith families, queer families, and families of all configurations.

James Evans (he/him)  Program Operations Manager

James has been a Chicago resident since the fall of 2012 and has been an active SVARA learner since 2016.  He attended Florida State University, where he studied Political Science and French. As an Eagle Scout, his personal motto is “Always be prepared!”  When not working on making sure you have the most AMAZING learning environment, he can often be found with his nose in a sci-fi/fantasy book or cooking a delicious meal with friends.

Noah Westreich (he/him) – Fairy

Noah is a Fellow in the SVARA Teaching Kollel and a rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He serves as the student rabbi at Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives in Brooklyn, where he lives. He has served as student rabbi in El Centro, CA, on the border with Mexico, and as youth director at Temple Micah in Washington, DC. Noah came to Queer Talmud Camp in Summer 2015 and has been hooked on SVARA—and the Talmud—ever since.

noa g.e. (she/they) – Fairy

noa is a community facilitator, trauma worker, ritual leader, writer, street medic, atypical femme currently living on traditional and unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory and is a Fellow in the SVARA Teaching Kollel. Her approach to teaching is bound up in a commitment to honour a covenant of radically just, diasporic Judaism, and a deep desire to uplift the holiness in the struggle. noa is excited to be part of the sacred tradition of queering text, (co)creating holy space/time, and is particularly interested in upholding the Torah of Deaf and disabled people.