by Rabbi Dev Noily
You don’t have to be queer to come to Queer Talmud Camp—you just have to be curious about queer readings of Jewish texts, be up for a learning experience unlike any you’ve ever had, and know your alef-bet! (And if you don’t know you’re alef-bet, there’s plenty of time to learn.)
SVARA is a radical yeshiva based in Chicago, under the leadership of the amazing Rabbi Benay Lappe. Rabbi Benay sees the rabbis of the Talmud as radical and creative interpreters of what it means to be human. And at the same time, she saw that direct access to learning Talmud has been restricted to a few traditional environments and interpretations of rabbinic teachings—environments that excluded women, queer people, non-Jews, progressive Jews and others who didn’t “fit” the traditional profile of Talmud students. With SVARA, Rabbi Benay has created a radical place and an inclusive process that connects all of us with our ancient sacred texts, and brings us into living conversation with our ancestors about questions that matter to us.
Last summer SVARA held its first Queer Talmud Camp in Wisconsin. Kehilla member Marjorie Cox and I both were students. This year I’ll be joining the faculty at SVARA’s new west coast Queer Talmud Camp. A gang of Kehilla folks have already signed up, and there’s still room for more.
This is a rare chance to study with one of the great Jewish teachers of our time. And to play with some really fun people. I would so love to share this experience with you!
Please be in touch if you have any questions. RabbiDev@kehillasynagogue.org. I hope to see you there!