a one-day deep-dive into traditionally radical Talmud with SVARA

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

CRASH Talk followed by SVARA Bet Midrash

Crash Talk: 12:00-2:00 PM ET | 11:00-1:00 PM CT | 9:00-11:00 AM PT 

Bet Midrash: 3:00-6:00 PM ET | 2:00-5:00 PM CT | 12:00-3:00 PM PT


Course Description:

How can studying ancient Jewish texts help us create a liberated world? In the CRASH talk, we will explore the radical and queer history of the Talmud, Judaism’s foundational text, and discuss how it can help us understand and navigate moments of disruptive change in society and our own lives. 

After a break, we’ll dive right into the text and put the theory into practice. Whether you’ve never learned Talmud before or you’re an advanced learner, SVARA’s bet midrash (learning community) 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! 

As part of our commitment to making liberatory learning accessible to all, admission is FREE. If you’re able to make a donation in support of SVARA’s learning community we’d be ever so grateful. 

Your Faculty:

Rabbi Benay Lappe (she/her), President & Rosh Yeshiva

Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, Benay founded SVARA in 2003. An award-winning educator specializing in the application of queer theory to Talmud study, Benay has served on the faculties of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Temple University, The University of Judaism, The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, The Graduate Theological Union’s Center for Jewish Studies at UC-Berkeley, and The Wexner Institute. She also currently serves as Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Next Jewish Future in Chicago.

Benay was named to Jewrotica’s Sexiest Rabbis List of 2013 (and is a little embarrassed about this but also a little bit proud), The Forward’s 2014 List of Most Inspiring Rabbis, is a Joshua Venture Fellow, and in 2016 received the prestigious Covenant Award for innovative Jewish education. She was named to The Forward’s 2018 list of “Sexiest Jewish Intellectuals Alive” (and is both embarrassed again, and also more sheepish about the intellectual part than the sexy part), and was recently named to the 2020 Forward 50 list of most influential American Jews (she was #10, and is grateful that her name starts with a “b” because it was in alphabetical order). While learning and teaching Talmud are her greatest passions, Rabbi Lappe is also a licensed pilot, shoemaker, and patent-holding inventor.


SVARA’s enrollment follows a multi-step process:

  • First, you will fill out a registration form selecting your class preferences and sharing about your learning experience (all experiences are welcome! We’re not evaluating you, just learning how best to support your learning!).
  • Next, you will be notified if you are accepted or waitlisted for your program selection, based on availability.
  • Upon acceptance, you will be asked to fill out a second form to pay tuition.

Through this enrollment process, we maintain a significant majority of queer- and trans-identifying people in each program, and we prioritize the participation of people of color and people with disabilities. Questions? Email James!

Accessibility Information:

All of SVARA’s programs utilize accessibility protocols and practices outlined here. Questions about access at SVARA? Email James!