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Queer Talmud Camp 2019

June 23-27: Walker Creek Ranch #1, Marin, CA

Registration is closed.

June 30-July 4: Walker Creek Ranch #2, Marin, CA

Registration is closed.

July 21-25: Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, Falls Village, CT

Registration is closed.


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! 

Hear what SVARA-niks have to say about their Queer Talmud Camp experience HERE

Check out photos from previous Queer Talmud Camps:



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.

As a result, our application and admissions process will be as follows:

Admissions will be made on a rolling basis and all applicants can expect to hear from us by March 15. Once admitted, you will be asked to submit a $100 deposit to claim your spot at camp.

Tuition in full is due by April 1, 2019.



Camping, Shared Bathhouse $400–650
Summer-Camp Cabin, Shared Bathhouse $600–850
Double-Occupancy, Shared Bathroom $1000–1500
Single-Occupancy, Shared Bathroom $1600–2000


Camping, Shared Bathroom $400–650
Triple-Occupancy, Shared Bathroom $600–850
Double-Occupancy, Private Bathroom $1000–1500
Single-Occupancy, Private Bathroom $1600–2000

*Tuition is charged on a sliding scale with price ranges corresponding to each housing option. We ask that you choose the tuition amount that is right for you.


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!


• Walker Creek, Marin, CA: Best airports: San Francisco or Oakland. Both are about a 1.5 hour drive from the airport.

• Isabella Freedman, Falls Village, CT: Best Airports: Fly into New York City area and connect with the MetroNorth Train System at Grand Central Station. Shuttles will be provided from Wassaic Station. Just indicate on your payment form that you’ll need a ride with the shuttle!

• For both camps: If you are flying, please plan to rent a car or arrange a carpool from the airport. Once your registration is complete, we will help connect you with other campers, so that everyone can coordinate transportation together.

• Please note: Check-in at WALKER CREEK RANCH will be from 2:30 – 3:30 PM, and programming will begin at 3:30 PM. Programming will wrap up by 12:30 pm on Thursday.  Don’t forget to allow ample travel time when booking flights!

Please note: Check-in at ISABELLA FREEDMAN will be from 3:00 – 4:00 PM, and programming will begin at 4:00 PM. Programming will wrap up by 12:30 pm on Thursday.  Don’t forget to allow ample travel time when booking flights!


Both Walker Creek and Isabella Freedman are wheelchair and walker accessible.

• Mobility access at Walker Creek: The main campus of Walker Creek is quite flat. There are minimal grades, but wheelchairs and walkers navigate quite well. Many of our lodges and economy dorms are accessible to people who use a wheelchair, walker, or for whom steps pose a challenge. Some of the pathways are bumpy, maybe some dirt or gravel.

Additional notes: At Walker Creek, some buildings we use are about a 5-minute walk apart—for example, the bet midrash and the dining hall. The pond is a longer hike (about 10 minutes) on uneven, unpaved terrain, but we are able to arrange for a golf cart to drive to the pond.

• Mobility access at Isabella Freedman: All communal spaces at Isabella Freedman are accessible, and there is accessible housing available for all participants who need it.

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 both retreats 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