Queer Talmud Camp is a gathering of queer folks, radicals, and seekers who come together for five days to immerse themselves in rigorous yeshiva-style learning in warm, loving, and joyful community. At Queer Talmud Camp we build a vibrant learning space that celebrates queer culture, cultivates intergenerational relationships, and reveals the deeply rooted radical queerness of the Jewish tradition.
Whether you’re an advanced Talmud learner or an absolute beginner, Queer Talmud Camp is for you! All you need is the ability to decode your alef-bet (i.e. sound out your Hebrew letters), and you’ll be learning Talmud in the original Hebrew/Aramaic within your first hour. We guarantee it!
The bet midrash (learning space) is mixed-level: Beginners learn the Talmud text and Rashi, and the more advanced learners go beyond the Talmud and Rashi into codes and medieval commentaries. All texts are learned in the original Hebrew/Aramaic, without translation. But don’t let that scare you! Remember, even if you can only sound out your alef-bet, you can do this!
7:00-7:30 am: Contemplative Practice
7:30-8:20 am: Morning Electives (Creative Songful Service; Traditional Shaharit; Yoga)
8:30 am: Breakfast
9:30 am-12:30 pm: Bet Midrash
12:45 pm: Lunch
1:30-3:30 pm: Free Time, Swimming, Hike
1:30-2:45 pm: Afternoon Electives (Hebrew Grammar; Queer Theory; Tzitzit Tying, Leathercraft, etc.)
3:30-6:15 pm: Bet Midrash
6:30 pm: Dinner
7:15 pm: Optional Mincha/Spiritual Practice
7:30-9:00 pm: Evening Electives (Queer Elders Sharing Our Stories, Klezmer Band, Learning to Be a Darshan, etc.)
9:00-9:30 pm: Snack and Schmooze
9:30 pm onward: Late Midrash (optional late-night learning)
• For a sample schedule for the week, check out a past schedule HERE.
As a yeshiva, SVARA aspires to be radically inclusive and is committed to creating spaces that center the voices and experiences of those who have been marginalized from Jewish life and learning. In order to maintain a diverse learning community that demographically represents our wide range of learners, we have implemented an application process for Queer Talmud Camp that takes into account, among other factors, underrepresented identities. At Queer Talmud Camp, we have set a goal of maximizing the percentage of queer- and trans-identifying people in attendance at each of the camps, as well as prioritizing the participation of people of color and people with disabilities.
Queer Talmud Camp application info will be available by February 2020.
We are committed to making Queer Talmud Camp accessible to all those who wish to attend. To this end, tuition is heavily subsidized and also payable on a sliding scale.
If the cost of Queer Talmud Camp is still a barrier to your participation, we encourage you to seek funding in your home community, including from local Jewish organizations, rabbinic discretionary funds, crowdfunding, among others. While our resources are limited, once admitted you may request an additional scholarship from SVARA.
If you have any questions about this process or a specific situation that you would like to speak with us about, please email James.
There are two dictionaries required. You will need to purchase them on your own and bring them with you to camp.
1) Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature by Marcus Jastrow. Call up your local Jewish bookstore, and ask for “a Jastrow.”
2) A Practical Talmud Dictionary by Yitzhak Frank. Tell ’em you need “a Frank.”
These are great dictionaries for any and all future Talmud study (with SVARA or elsewhere). Questions about dictionaries? Write to James!
Queer Talmud Camp is takes place at locations that are wheelchair and walker accessible.
Other access notes:
• We will have large-print copies of the Talmud text available. Let us know if you would like us to provide large-print versions of the additional materials. Many students also choose to bring a magnifying glass if they struggle to read small print—we recommend the Magnabrite Magnifier.
• We learn for 2-3 hours at a time, generally sitting in chairs at tables. Participants are welcome to stand and stretch according to their own needs, and there are regular breaks.
• Queer Talmud Camp is a fragrance-free space.
• All meals at Queer Talmud Camp are Kosher. There will be gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. We will work to accommodate any participant’s individual dietary needs.
If you have any other needs for making your learning experience at Queer Talmud Camp possible, please don’t hesitate to inquire. We are committed to making the learning accessible to as many students as possible.
Queer Talmud Camp at Walker Creek Ranch is supported in part by a generous grant from the
Queer Talmud Camp at Isabella Freedman is supported in part by a generous grant from the