Talmud Torah of St. Paul

Where critical thinking
and Jewish values intersect

Crash Talk and Fling with SVARA

Date: Sunday, March 31; 10:00 am - 3:30 pm

Location: Beth Jacob Congregation

We are excited to invite you to join Hineni, Beth Jacob, Shir Tikvah, J-Pride and Keshet for a day of learning with SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. Whether you are an alef-bet beginner or an advanced Talmud learner, this workshop is for you! All you need to participate is the ability to sound out your Hebrew alphabet (alef-bet)* and you’ll be learning Talmud in the original Hebrew/Aramaic within your first hour. We guarantee it!

*Don't know your alef-bet or need a refresher? No problem! See links below for some quick alef-bet tutorials.

Schedule for the day:

  • 10:30 am - 11:30 am: Crash Talk: An interactive and inspiring talk that lays 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. It explains where the Talmud came from, what its purpose is, and why the study of it has been so important for Judaism and those learning it.

  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm: Lunch: Vegetarian lunch with gluten-, dairy-, and nut-free options. Let us know if you have other food needs on the registration form.

  • 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm: Bet Midrash / Learning Session: 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. Come with a friend to be your chevruta (study partner) or we’ll hook you up.

Cost: $100 true cost. Set your own fee between $18 and $100.

Registration: To register, click here!

Details and Access

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.

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!

Handicap Accessibility

Beth Jacob is handicap-accessible.


Beth Jacob has a non-gender-specific bathroom.


Public transportation to Beth Jacob is not great, but we are happy to match people up for rides to the synagogue. If you need or can provide a ride, please indicate that on the registration form.

Hebrew Decoding

Want to learn or refresh your alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet) decoding skills? Check out these links.

  1. Learn the Hebrew Alphabet in an Hour
  2. Memrise Aleph Bet
  3. Quizlet Aleph Bet


Each learner will need two dictionaries that are required for study in the Bet Midrash:

  • The Practical Talmud Dictionary, by Yitzhak Frank, and

  • 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 you'd like to borrow these dictionaries for the day, please indicate this on your registration form, and we'll make sure there are plenty to go around.

Lunch and Snacks

We will provide a Kosher dairy lunch and snacks. There will be vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free options. Please let us know on the registration form what your food needs are.

Cost: $100 true cost. Set your own fee between $18 and $100.

Registration: To register, click here!


Co-sponsored by Beth Jacob, Shir Tikvah, J-Pride, and Keshet.