Talmud-curious? Craving a Jewish wisdom upgrade?
Come & Learn with SVARA!
SVARA is a traditionally radical yeshiva dedicated to the serious study of Talmud through the lens of queer experiences. SVARA’s unique pedagogy makes Talmud study in the original accessible—for the first time in Jewish history—to all who want to learn. At SVARA, everyone—queer, straight, trans, alef-bet beginners, experienced talmudists, secular, religious, Jews, non-Jews—everyone learns together in a mixed-level bet midrash that recognizes as crucial the insights of all those on the margins.
It is SVARA’S deeply held belief that the ancient sages who radically re-envisioned Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple and the crashing of Biblical Judaism were courageous, creative, out-of-the-box thinking, fringy radicals. Queer, if you will. Not in the sense of sexuality or gender, perhaps, but in what being those very kinds of people usually makes you: resilient, compassionate, bold innovators. People who can survive loss, change, transformation, and injustice, and emerge with the wisdom it takes to build a better world.
A 2,000-year-old talmudic term, svara means “moral intuition” and is the only source of law that can overturn even the Torah itself. When you have svara (moral intuition) and gemara (learning), you are qualified to be a player, changemaker, and radical innovator in the Jewish project and the world at large. Come to SVARA and be a player!
We're buzzing with excitement to host a weekend of events with SVARA on March 28/29!
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 aleph-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! (If you need to learn your Aleph Bet, make sure to sign-up to learn with us!) You'll need your aleph bet for Sunday afternoon's program, but all are welcome to attend Saturday night's event, regardless of Hebrew ability.
3/28: Havdalah and CRASH Talk
Saturday, March 28, 7:00 - 9:30 pm
Special Location (TBD), Detroit, MI 48202
Free & open to the public! No registration required. All are welcome to attend, regardless of Hebrew ability.
Start with the CRASH Talk*** on Saturday night. In this interactive and inspiring chalk talk, we’ll lay out SVARA's philosophy of the Talmud and the rabbinic revolution that gave rise to it—along with important vocabulary and concepts for anyone learning Jewish texts. Where did the Talmud came from, why it was written, what is its purpose, and why has the study of it been so important for Judaism and those learning it? Join us to find out!
"The CRASH Talk is the indispensable introduction to Talmud learning with SVARA. It is a lecture to end all lectures, a mind-blowing intellectual experience to end all…you get the point. Come hear how the Talmud—and all radical ideas—are born, crash, and are reborn anew." --Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann (Mishkan Chicago)
3/29: SVARA Pop-Up Bet Midrash
Sunday, March 29, 1:00-4:30 pm
*Metro Detroit Location Revealed on RSVP*
Suggested Donation: $5-$108 (sliding-scale)
No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. We ask that everyone donate what they can to help sustain progressive Jewish programming of this kind. We request that those with the means to do so give more to help subsidize those who cannot. Thank you for doing your part to build a just community!
On Sunday, you'll get a full day of learning, SVARA-style: Talmud served up the old-fashioned way—hardcore, queer, and radically inclusive. We'll learn a complete Talmud text, start to finish, to complete memorization and with deep and total ownership. All you need to know is your alef-bet to do it! Really! Come with a friend to be your chevruta (study partner) or we’ll hook you up.
***The best way to prep for the Bet Midrash is with the CRASH Talk! If you’re planning to attend Sunday’s afternoon of learning and you can’t make it to the CRASH Talk on Saturday night, or if you just want to know more of what SVARA’s all about, check out this Eli Talk from our Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Benay Lappe.
Not sure you're ready to roll up your sleeves to learn Talmud with us in the bet midrash? Feel free to come just to the Havdalah and CRASH Talk.
What do I need to bring?
We will provide you with everything you need in order to learn SVARA-style!
Each learner will need two dictionaries that are required for study in the Bet Midrash:
- The Practical Talmud Dictionary, by Yitzhak Frank
- A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature, by Marcus Jastrow
If you have your own dictionaries, please bring them along - if not (don't worry!) we've got you covered.
These events are open to people of all ages, identities, and experience with Talmud.
***Please be sure to inform us of any access/allergen needs you have by emailing us.***
If you would like to sign-up as a program sponsor, would like to reserve your space without paying in advance, or have any other questions, please be in touch!
Use the form below to RSVP for Sunday's event or to make a donation for Saturday's event. Saturday's event is open to the public & does not require registration - but we welcome your donations via the form below.