SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva

  • Illinois


United States

About Us

 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.

Through rigorous short- and long-term Talmud learning programs, such as our S&M Bet Midrash, Queer Talmud Camps, pop-up bet midrash Flings around the country, and our teacher training fellowship, SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva builds and activates a radically inclusive and interpretive community of ‘players’ who seek to restore Judaism to its radical roots so that it might once again be a voice of courageous moral conscience in the world and reflect the truest possible vision of what it means to be human.

Founded in 2003, we currently have a full-time staff of five, four in our Chicago main office and one in New York City, and are quickly expanding in influence and anticipate over 2000 registrants this year. We have been recognized by Slingshot as one of the country’s most inspiring and innovative Jewish organizations, were chosen for UpStart’s inaugural Chicago cohort, and our founder and Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Benay Lappe was chosen as a Joshua Venture Fellow, and is a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education.