SVARA is all about creating players: those who “play” in, through, and with the tradition to shape new, unrecognizable expressions of Jewish life and learning. By changing who the transmitters of the tradition are, we fundamentally transform the way the tradition is transmitted, thereby transforming the tradition itself.
SVARA’s investment in training and supporting a generation of queer and trans transmitters of the Jewish tradition through Talmud learning is what will enable new generations of learners to see themselves in the tradition like never before. To teach in SVARA’s method is to hold a radically new lens through which to view the Talmud, the pedagogy of Talmud teaching, the bet midrash setting, the teacher-student relationship, the role of learning in building a liberatory future—and the Jewish tradition itself.
SVARA’s Teaching Kollel is a two-year learning and teacher education program designed to nurture a community of experienced queer and trans educators and community leaders in both the SVARA method of teaching Talmud and the creation of radical bet midrash-centered communities of Jewishly rooted, svara-dik learners around the world.
SVARA’s Teaching Kollel combines intensive Talmud study with training in pedagogy and facilitation to equip teachers to model public learning in SVARA’s method. Upon graduation from SVARA’s Teaching Kollel, Fellows will be equipped to implement ongoing SVARA-method bet midrash learning in their home communities, making empowering and transformative experiences of Talmud study as a traditionally radical spiritual practice accessible to all.
SVARA’s Pedagogy Chaburah for Rabbis & Educators is a rigorous learning space for rabbis and educators working in Jewish communities who are seeking to expand their pedagogical toolkits to include SVARA’s traditionally radical, empowering approach to teaching Talmud. This seven-month program begins with a deep dive into the practice of studying Talmud in SVARA’s method (y’all know, the old-fashioned way: hardcore, queer, and radically inclusive), followed by a semester of pedagogy workshops and training designed to help help you integrate elements of SVARA’s method into your classroom, bet midrash, or other teaching setting.
Good teaching is good learning in front of the room. The common thread that moves through all of our spaces for training and supporting teachers is an emphasis on learning, diving into the practice of studying Talmud in SVARA’s method (word-by-word with a chevruta in the original language to full ownership and memorization). Learning in the bet midrash is, for many teachers, a powerful way to connect to our purpose as educators, and to remind ourselves of what is possible as we create and shape queer-normative learning spaces that center the insights of those on the margins. We encourage aspiring or current teachers to join us in the bet midrash for our core offerings, where we provide access to Talmud learning to folks of all levels and experiences.
The Talmud Pedagogy Project is a one-year program that trains Hebrew College rabbinical students and rabbinical school alumni to become joyful, empathetic, inclusive, and rigorous teachers of Talmud. The fellowship aims to create a cadre of rabbis who will bring Talmud study to the diverse range of communities they serve, whether that community be a synagogue, school, social justice organization, or senior living residence. Building on your Talmud training at Hebrew College, the fellowship is structured around study of theories of Talmud pedagogy, intensive immersion in the SVARA teaching methodology, and a mentored practicum.