What People Are Saying

“SVARA is my home.”

“Honestly, this class gives me hope for the Jewish people.”

“At SVARA, I feel accepted, welcomed, and valued.  My Jewish identity and background are incredibly complex.  As a result, I wind up straddling the worlds of religious Orthodoxy and radical left politics, leaving me feeling unwelcomed and at a loss in many social, political and religious settings.  SVARA is a place where I find common cause and purpose with a community of learners who don’t care how I dress, pray, or vote. I am valued for my intellect and curiosity, not for how I cover my hair. SVARA is radically inclusive community with space at the table for me, and for that, I am enormously grateful.”

“I study TALMUD now! I never thought I would say that, ever. Like, it’s a point of pride for me in how unique I am. I worked on a farm, I worked in a zoo, I’ve been to India, I used to weld metal, and I study TALMUD. I guess that’s me as a person, but also me as a Jew, it’s amazing to connect with text for, literally the first time in my life, ever. And, I couldn’t do it in any other setting.”

“Rabbi Lappe is such an inspiring teacher. Her passion and warmth are infectious and she is demanding but supportive of students. She has given me a whole new experience of intrinsic motivation. And in bringing so much of herself and her experiences to the class, Rabbi Lappe has shown me how studying Talmud can be a way of opening space for the divine and letting the practice interact with whatever I have going on when I come into class. Also, she makes Talmud feel fun, and relevant, and important.”

“I felt empowered by the experience of struggling with the text with my chevruta.”

“I had sort of given up on Talmud having any kind of intellectual or spiritual impact on my life because of so many past experiences of learning Talmud that had been violent, debilitating, or just generally uninteresting, and left me thinking “so what?”. No one had ever painted a compelling picture for me before of the rabbinic project as being about radical transformation and using deep intuition about human nature and moral truth to animate a more just world until SVARA—not in any rabbinical school or yeshiva I’d been in. That’s the project that I am already involved in and want to continue to be a part of.”

“Thank you so much for helping me become more literate in Talmud and, through this process, more literate in myself.”

“I am SO excited. I am shocked to leave feeling so empowered. I am a Talmud scholar. I became one on July 3, 2017, and now, I will always be one. I leave filled with hope. I leave more peaceful than I’ve been in a long time. Who knew that Talmud study was a spiritual practice, a mindfulness practice?”

“Because of you and SVARA (both the yeshiva and the moral intuition), I have had a year filled with God. FILLED! WITH GOD! Thank you for letting me into your world and allowing me to grow so freely and in such lovingkindness. I bring your teaching and your love of Judaism into everything I do and it feels so good. It’s also what I look forward to most in this coming year. What a blessing.”

“This space you’re convening is basically the most powerful space in our moment in Jewish history.”