SVARA Summer Beit Midrash in Berkeley

Svara is a queer beit midrash headed by Rabbi Benay Lappe. They’re doing a summer session in the People’s Republic of Berkeley–info below. For more information or to contact them, clicky-click here.
Announcing the Summer 2006 SVARA/GTU Bet Midrash:
Friends With Benefits
The Chevruta Relationship in Rabbinic Text
July 15-20
Chevruta* describes the relationship between two people studying a text together in a uniquely Jewish way. The 2,000 year old method involves a back and forth of continuous reflection, both on the text and on the individuals themselves. In this process, chevruta becomes an act of creation, as two people gain insights that neither could experience if learning alone. This process has never been taught explicitly nor analyzed formally, but has survived and sustained a rich tradtion of learning and thought. In this course, we will look at the story of Resh Lakish and Rabbi Yochanan, with a focus on the intensity and intimacy of their chevruta relationship. This text is currently the hotbed of queer Jewish scholarship. This is your opportunity to study the text and make sense of the story for yourself. The course will reveal the potentecy of chevruta learning, and the potential dangers that lie within. We will explore chevruta as a mechanism for developing one’s svara, and ask the questions, Where is God in the study of talmud as a spiritual practice? Where is God in our relationships? Ultimately, we will see how the insights of the text are revealed through the intimate act of studying with another person in chevruta, and the ways our self-understanding is transformed in that engagement.
*The word itself comes from the Hebrew root chaver, meaning friend.
Saturday 8pm, Seudah Shlishit (Third Shabbos Meal) , Havdalah with Jhos Singer and Kumzitz/Musical Celebration with Guest Performers
Free and Open to the Public
Location: GTU campus location TBA
Sunday 12 – 5 pm, Talmud Text Skills…Learning How to Learn
A catered kosher dinner to follow, 5 – 7 pm
Free and Open to the Public
Come play with the nuts and bolts of Talmud study. Rabbi Lappe will walk the class through the geography of the Talmud page, dictionary skills, Rashi script, Hebrew and Aramaic roots, prefixes and suffixes, the use of talmudic reference materials, and an introduction to the mind of the Talmud. This is an important primer for all new SVARA students, and an optional refresher for SVARA alums.
Location: GTU campus location, TBA
Course Schedule:
Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 4 pm
9 – 10: Drop-in Tutorial [optional] 10 – 12: Shiur
12 – 1: Lunch
1 – 3: Chevruta
3 – 4: Office Hours with Rabbi Lappe [optional] Location: Dinner Board Room, GTU Library, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA
$500 – $700, sliding scale
$325 for GTU students
*Limited scholarships are available.
If you are traveling from out of town and would like to stay with a community member, please contact us and we will do our best to arrange a homestay.
Co-sponsored by The Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union. Supported by a generous grant from the Koret Foundation.

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