Summer Shiur

a weekly deep-dive into Talmud with SVARA

Thursdays, June 18 – July 23

8:00-9:30 PM ET | 7:00-8:30 PM CT | 5:00-6:30 PM PT

Are you ready to make a weekly commitment to Talmud? This summer SVARA is serving up a SUMMER SHIUR, taught by Laynie Soloman, faculty member & SVARA’s Director of National Learning. Register today and join your Queer Talmud comrades for a weekly shiur that will enable you to deepen your learning practice in this uncertain time. Draw from the juicy and joyous well of Talmud study and chevruta learning, and dig into a sugya that shows us the power of midrash to create a use-able past.

Y’all will be expected to prepare material in chevruta in advance of shiur each week. Please register with a chevruta! We’ll focus on rigorous attention to details and radical attunement to letters and historical layers, working to fully own the text in our mixed-level learning space.

This Weekly Shiur is for folks who:

  • want to level-up their learning by maintaining a weekly learning practice
  • want to deepen their skills as independent learners
  • have learned Talmud with SVARA for at least one session (a pop-up or weekly bet midrash, Queer Talmud Camp, etc.)

What you’ll need:

  • a chevruta
  • a commitment to learn for approximately 1-1.5 hours with your chevruta in between sessions
  • a Jastrow dictionary (While we know the Jastrow Dictionary is available online, we strongly recommend using a book for this learning, access needs notwithstanding. If you’re having trouble finding a Jastrow Dictionary, you can order one directly from the publisher here or from your local Jewish bookstore.)

We’ll be learning from Masechet Berakhot. If you have a copy of this masechet, fabulous! If you’d like to order one, we suggest you purchase one with a local Jewish bookstore. (Let us know if you’re having trouble finding one, and we’ll connect you!) Once you register, you’ll have access to the Daf, Hint Sheet, and all of the other goodies you need to bring the bet midrash to you, all available in one convenient resource portal.

Your Faculty & Fairies:

Laynie Soloman (Faculty, they/them) is a faculty member & Director of National Learning at SVARA. They believe deeply in the power of Talmud study as a healing and liberatory spiritual practice. Laynie is completing a Dual M.A. in Talmud/Rabbinic Literature & Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Goucher College. They love facilitating experiences of Jewish learning that uplift the piously irreverent, queer, and subversive spirit of rabbinic text and theology, and they have taught and lectured on these topics in various community spaces, campuses, and in academic settings. When not in shul or learning Talmud, you can find Laynie reading about liberation theology, collecting comic books, and singing niggunim.

Amir Weg (Fairy, he/him) moved to Chicago in 2009 after a brief stint hanging out in the Kosher Halal Co-op at Oberlin College. In Summer 2011 he participated in The Adamah Fellowship, a three-month Jewish ecology and leadership program, which nurtured his love of Jewish community, confirmed his interest in Environmental Studies, and gave him a chance to get his hands dirty. In the past few years, Amir has, on and off, worked as an urban farmer, studied Environmental Science at DePaul University, and built Jewish community at Moishe House Rogers Park. Amir has been studying at SVARA since 2013, was SVARA’s 2016 Fellow, and brings insights gained as a SVARA learner to his work. (Teaching Fellow, Cohort 2)

Earnest Vener (Fairy, they/he) is a trans Jewish educator in the Boston area. He is in the incoming Director of Congregational Learning at Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in Newton, MA. Earnest is passionate about Jewish storytelling, talmud study, and mentorship. Earnest received an M.A. in Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union and a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Prior to moving East, Earnest ran an outdoor Jewish religious school in the Oakland Redwoods. Earnest is engaged to Emma Price and they enjoy snuggling with their two cats, studying Torah, playing board games, and working to build a more equitable world.  (Teaching Fellow, Cohort 2)

Elaina Marshalek (Fairy, she/her) loves studying Talmud, and likes to color code her daf in full rainbow. She is excited to continue experimenting with “lay teaching” with SVARA, and to help support the vibrant learning community in her forever home of the Bay Area. When she’s not studying, Elaina works as Director of Strategy for UCSF Health.  (Teaching Fellow, Cohort 2)



Unfortunately, Summer Shiur is now full. Please email us to sign up for the waitlist.

The sliding scale for this shiur is $75-325, and we ask that you select a number on this scale that works for you. If this scale is beyond your means, you can pay a reduced tuition rate (any meaningful amount to you at this time) and indicate this on your registration form below. Questions? Be in touch with James!

Please note: This shiur is designed for folks who have previously learned Talmud in a SVARA bet midrash, and we encourage folks to register along with a chevruta with whom they’ll prepare the weekly assigned material. If you have any questions, or want some help figuring out if this is the right learning space for you, please be in touch with Laynie!