Founder of ‘SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva’ to speak in St. Louis

Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Center for Jewish Learning welcomes as scholar-in-residence Rabbi Benay Lappe to St. Louis on Sunday, Jan. 28. Lappe is an award-winning educator, specializing in the application of Queer Theory to Talmud study. She is the founder of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, based in Chicago. 

SVARA aims to make accessible to everyone the experience of learning Talmud in the original Hebrew/Aramaic rather than in translation. More than 60  learners come weekly to SVARA’s mixed-level evening Beit Midrash, a radically inclusive space for a diverse population of learners.    

 Lappe is a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for innovative Jewish education, and SVARA received a Jim Joseph Foundation Jewish Educator Grant to launch a Transformative Talmud Teaching Fellowship.  

The program, taking place at Washington University Hillel, will start with a Crash Talk at 12:30 p.m. In this session, Lappe lays out SVARA’s philosophy of the Talmud and the rabbinic revolution that gave rise to it. Come hear how the Talmud — and all radical ideas — are born, crash and are reborn anew.

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At 2 p.m., Lappe will present a SVARA Beit Midrash. The group will learn a complete Talmud text, start to finish (participants simply need to know their aleph-bet).

A registration fee of $10 includes lunch (at noon), snacks, hot and cold beverages; dietary laws observed. RSVP at For more information, contact Rabbi Tracy Nathan at [email protected] or 314-442-3757.