One of the most powerful ways to grow in our learning and teaching is to bring attention to our practice and reflect on what we’re doing. Practice, reflect, practice, reflect: that is the cycle of learning that we’re all about, and mentorship gives time and space to that reflection. Mentorship meetings happen approximately six times throughout the year, though you are welcome to meet with your mentor for up to one session per month. (If you find that you’d benefit from direct relational support from a faculty member more regularly than once per month, be in touch with Laynie, Julie, or Mónica to help make a plan to get you resourced.)

This space is for you, and is an opportunity to explore areas of your learning and teaching with a SVARA faculty member who can create a container of reflection and support for you. Your mentor might point you to a resource that can further your exploration or help you work on a skill you’d like to bring attention to. They might listen, hold space for what’s coming up, and offer a reflection or resonance from their own experience teaching. Your mentor will come to each session with some broad questions for you, and you should come to your mentorship session with a sense of what you’d like to explore in the conversation.  Below are some questions you might explore in mentorship:

In your Learning Year:

  • What’s coming up for you in the process of learning?
  • What are the learning processes  (in the rubric or weekly shiur) that you’re feeling most excited to explore? What are the processes that you’re least interested in exploring? Why?
  • How is the learning that we’re doing in Shiur impacting how you’re thinking about teaching?
  • How are you—or not!—integrating this method of learning with other methodologies that you’ve encountered? 

In your Pedagogy Year:

  • What’s coming up for you in the process of teaching?
  • What aspects of COMP are you noticing and bringing attention to in your teaching? (You can use the COMP reflection in the HoMoreh Derekh if you find that helpful!)
  • What are you learning about the kind of teaching that makes you feel most aligned? Is there anything about the people in the “room”? The text? The space?
  • What prior experiences of learning and teaching are you bringing into the room when you’re teaching? How is that impacting the learning space?

Kollel Mentors

A note about our mentorship team: We are proud of the ways in which our mentorship team reflects many aspects of diversity in our community, including age, gender, religious expression / experiences, class-background, and educational experiences (among other things!), *AND* our work is not even close to being complete, and the fullness of our community is not yet represented in our mentorship team. We know that each of our identities are unique in the ways they show up in our teaching. In addition to training our mentors to open-heartedly hold questions of power/oppression, projection, and identity salience, we are exploring opportunities to connect Black Fellows, Fellows of Color, Fellows who are trans femme and trans women, and disabled Fellows to leaders and teachers from within and beyond SVARA’s immediate learning community to support individuals who would like to supplement their coaching.

Rabbi Becky Silverstein (he/him) believes in the power of community, Torah, and silliness in transforming the world. He strives to build a Jewish community and world that encourages and allows everyone to express their full selves. Becky currently serves as Program Manager / Co-teacher at the Boston Teen Beit Midrash, and Rabbi-in-Residence for the Keshet LGBTQ + Ally Teen Shabbatonim.  He is curator of The JP Open Sukkah, and convener of Beyn Kodesh l’Chol, a new Jewish project.  Becky chairs the boards of SVARA and The Jewish Studio Project, and sits on the Keshet’s board.  Becky grew up in New York, holds a B.S. in Engineering from Smith College and Rabbinic Ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Becky is a lifelong NY Mets fan, has no problem rooting for the Red Sox (unless they are playing the Mets), and resides in Jamaica Plain, with his spouse, Naomi. Schedule a meeting with Becky by:

Rabbi Bronwen Mullin (she/her) (ord. 2017, MA Midrash JTS, BA in Theater and Religious Studies, Sarah Lawrence College) is the Rabbinic Artist-In-Residence at Town & Village Synagogue and the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is a playwright, composer, and performance artist. Her Hebrew/Aramaic opera “Chalom” based on the 9th chapter of Masechet Berakhot, appeared in the 2012 International NYC Fringe Festival. Bronwen is currently developing her 2nd full-scale opera, “Bat Yiftach: A Tragic Punk Opera” thanks to a JTS Seeds of Innovation and Myers Family grant. Bronwen is also an inaugural fellow with the Rising Song Institute. She is the founder of the Artists’ Beit Midrash at T&V as well as the director of their Center for Conversion to Judaism. Bronwen’s favorite art form to work in is Judaism. Schedule a meeting with Bronwen by:

Rabbi Dev Noily (they/them) serves as Senior Rabbi at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Oakland, California. Founded in 1984, Kehilla integrates Jewish spiritual practice and progressive activism in deep community. Dev is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and has also worked as a chaplain, an educator and a trainer in queer inclusion. Before studying for the rabbinate, they were a lay leader at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, where they co-founded the house klezmer band Gay iz Mir and helped to develop queer-normative Jewish liturgy. Dev lives in Oakland with their wife Sara Felder and son Jesse Felder Noily. Schedule a meeting with Dev by:

Maggid Jhos Singer (he/him) is a professional Jewish educator, community and congregational leader, writer, and speaker. He is an out transman, a parent, spouse, mixologist and skillful home chef. He relishes his time spent in Jewish text study, hiking, and facilitating spiritual experiences for his flock and students. Schedule a meeting with Jhos by:

Julie Batz (she/her) is a spiritual leader and educator serving the Bay Area Jewish community. Together, she and Maggid Jhos Singer are the Congregational Leaders of Chochmat HaLev, a center for Jewish spirituality in Berkeley where in addition to co-designing and leading engaging, musical, and inspiring services, she provides pastoral counseling, teaches adult education classes, mentors musical service leaders, and officiates congregants’ lifecycle events. In addition to her congregational work, Julie’s bnei mitzvah training and facilitation practice serves independent Jewish families, offering them the opportunity to (re)connect Jewishly in their families and the larger Jewish community. She extends particular welcome those who have felt themselves in the margins: families new to Jewish ritual, kids with learning differences, multi-faith families, queer families, and families of all configurations. Schedule a meeting with Julie by:

Rabbi Mónica Gomery (she/her) grew up in a Venezuelan Ashkenazi household both in Boston and Caracas and received ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in 2017. Mónica is passionate about supporting people who have been denied access to ancient and ancestral spiritual traditions to claim these traditions as a resource for empowerment and transformation in their lives and in the world. She is honored and grateful to get to do this work at the first-ever queer yeshiva in history! Mónica has served as a prison chaplain, a geriatric chaplain, and an educator and prayer leader at numerous other Jewish institutions and organizations, including at Kol Tzedek Synagogue in Philadelphia where she serves as the Music Director. She is the author of two books of poetry, published by YesYes Books and Cooper Dillon Books, and is on the founding leadership team of Let My People Sing! which runs transformative Jewish singing retreats. Schedule a meeting with Mónica by: