Queer Talmud Camp FAQs


Read on, campers, for answers to frequently asked questions. Is there something on your mind that you don’t see here? Write to James!

What will I need to bring to Queer Talmud Camp?

There are two dictionaries required for learning Talmud with SVARA. 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!

You can find a packing list here (though please take your region into consideration when packing, as this list is not comprehensive and weather varies from camp to camp!

How will kashrut and other dietary needs be taken care of at Queer Talmud Camp?

We see “kashrut” as one axis of access in our community, and we strive to create an environment where everyone’s dietary needs are met. We maintain the following norms of practice for our retreats & immersive experiences:

  • We utilize vegetarian venues and caterers or those who observe kosher dietary laws, and we provide guidelines for venues who aren’t under supervision
    • This includes various modes of cleaning the kitchen and utensils, letting utensils for a 24 hour period prior to our retreat
  • We prioritize a vegetarian menu
  • We ensure that all purchased items for meals and snacks are vegetarian
  • We purchase cheeses and vinegar that have kashrut symbols

We always offer gluten-free and vegan options and are committed to working with each individual to support more specific dietary needs. Isabella Freedman Retreat Center and Camp Nageela Midwest are both facilities under local rabbinic supervision. Walker Creek Ranch & Big Bear Retreat center are not, and the guidelines above will be enforced by the SVARA team.

I'm from out of town! How do I get to Queer Talmud Camp?

  • Big Bear Retreat Center, located at 1000 Sugarpine Rd in Big Bear City, CA,  is about 1.5 hour drive from Ontario International Airport in Southern California
  • Walker Creek Ranch, located at 1700 Marshall Petaluma Rd, Petaluma, CA is about 2 hours from San Fransico International Airport and 1.5 hours from Oakland Airport
  • Isabella Freedman, located at 116 Johnson Rd, Falls Village, CT, is about 1.5 hour drive from Bradley Airport in Hartford and 2.5 hours from the New York Area airports
  • Camp Nageela, located at 26710 W Nippersink Road Ingleside, IL, is about a 1 hour drive from O’Hare Airport in Chicago

What are the exact start and end times?

Camp check-in begins around 2:00 PM on Sunday, and checkout is around 12:30 PM on Thursday after lunch and closing circle.

I'm worried I'll forget something! Is there a Camp Store on-site? What can I buy there?

In addition to offering you some awesome SVARA swag, our Camp store will also sell the following:

  • Skin lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hair gel
  • Deodorant
  • Bug repellent

All products sold in the Camp store are Fragrance-Free.

How does the waitlist work and when can I expect to hear back?

QTC fills up quickly! We maintain a waitlist for all camps, and vacancies are filled from the waitlist in the order that applications are received. As soon as an opening occurs, we’ll reach out to the next person on the list by email to offer up a spot at camp. Questions about the waitlist? Email James!

What is the refund policy?

It is an extraordinary commitment to bring this one of a kind immersive experience to our learners–but we also understand that future plans may change. We will extend refunds for cancellations within the following guidelines:

          We will offer a 100% refund (minus deposit) before April 1, 2020

          We will offer a 50% refund (minus deposit) before April 15, 2020

          We will offer a 25% refund (minus deposit) before April 30, 2020

No refunds will be offered after April 30, 2020***

Please submit any cancellation requests in writing to James

Which camp should I apply for?

If history is any indicator, we expect a waitlist in all four camps, so please apply as soon as you are sure you want to attend! In the application form you’ll be asked to rank the camps you’re able to attend in order of your preference, and we’ll do our best to admit you to your first or second choice. If we aren’t able to get you in to one of your top two, we’ll connect with you before signing you up. We also recommend that you consider applying for the camp that’s closest to you so you can build community with folks who live close by.



Queer Talmud Camp 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.

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.