Big Conversation Series

Register for Elul Extravaganza!

Learn side by side with other queer and trans folks, and find your place as an inheritor and transmitter of our holy tradition. Join Beyn Kodesh l'Chol for a SVARA-method Talmud Beit Midrash, as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur!

Guided by Rabbi Becky Silverstein (he/him/his), we will study Talmud in its original Hebrew/Aramaic text. We are committed to a mixed level beit midrash, in which folks of (almost) all different Hebrew levels and Talmud experiences learn from each other. Learners must know the aleph-bet.

These are individual events - join us for one, two, or all three!

  • Thursday 9/12, 6:30-9:30pm, Night #1

  • Wednesday 9/18, 6:30-9:30, Night #2

  • Tuesday 9/24, 6:30-9:30, Night #3

Location: TBD. Jamaica Plain, Orange line / 39 Bus access.

Cost: $10-30 suggested sliding scale per session. Cost includes all materials, except dictionaries. If this is unattainable, you are welcome to pay what you can and/or to be in touch with other ways you can contribute to our learning community.

New to Talmud study and/or the SVARA method? Join Rabbi Becky for a web-based introduction on Tuesday 8/27, 7:30-9:00pm. *This is mandatory for folks who have not studied in the SVARA method. Can't make it?

Questions? Email Rabbi Becky Silverstein (

**This bet midrash is part of SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva’s ELUL EXTRAVAGANZA, where SVARA Faculty, Fellows, teachers, and community leaders are offering up space for rigorous, accessible Talmud learning as a deep spiritual practice in service of teshuva and transformation leading up to the Days of AWE-some. **


Spring 2019 - The Countdown. Thank you to everyone who joined us for six weeks of Talmud study. We moved from Passover to Shavuot through learning and discussion, focused on

The Open Sukkah Project is for all of us! After the intensity of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiday of Sukkot (literally booths) invites us all into joyful celebration. Sukkot begins at nightfall on Sunday 9/23 and concludes with the festivals of Shemini Atzeret (Monday 10/1) and Simchat Torah (Tuesday 10/2). This event was made possible through the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation's Grassroots Events program.

Join us for one or more of these fantastic Open Sukkah events (and stay tuned for more):

Building the Booth!
Date: Thursday 9/20, 3pm-8pm
Location: Hope Central Church

Ever wondered what it would be like to frame a house? This is kinda the same thing. We’ve got the instructions, the wood, and the brackets. Bring yourself, a stepstool (if you have one) and your power screwdriver (if you have one).

Community Lunch!
Date:  Monday 9/24, 12:30pm
Location:  Hope Central Church

Join us for a festival meal on this first day of Sukkot!  Followed by communal singing (come for one or both). Vegetarian main dish provided.  Please bring a side dish or dessert!

Wave that Lulav! Smell that Etrog!
Date: Monday 9/24, 3:30pm-6pm
Location: Hope Central Church

Stop by the sukkah to learn about one of the central obligations of Sukkot - waving the lulav and etrog! While your here, say a blessing for simply sitting (yes, sitting)! This is a kid-friendly event. Adults welcome.

Community Lunch!
Tuesday 9/25, 12:30pm
Location:  Hope Central Church

Join us for a festival meal on this second day of Sukkot!  Followed by some Torah learning (come from one or both). Please bring a vegetarian dish to share.

The Soul of the Stranger with Joy Ladin
Date: Wednesday 9/26, 7:00 pm
Location: Hope Central Church

Join us as Joy Ladin, poet, and literary scholar, shares pieces from her forthcoming book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective.

Sliding scale entrance fee: $5-25, collected at the door.

Shabbat, Sukkot, and Studying
Date: Friday 9/28, 7:00pm
Location:  Hope Central Church

Description:  Join us for Shabbat dinner in the Sukkah, along with some studying.   Challah, grape juice, Talmud source sheets, and dictionaries will be provided.  Please bring a vegetarian dish to share. Folks of all text study experience and levels are welcome to join.  

Holy Separation
Date: Saturday 9/29, 7:00pm
Location:  Hope Central Church

Join us for Havdalah and an exploration of holy, kinda holy, and not so holy time.

Around and Around:  A Simchat Torah Celebration
Date:  Monday 10/1, 5:00pm
Location:  Hope Central Church

Join us as we experience the Simchat Torah, the joy of Torah!  The program will include unrolling the whole Torah, chanting of the beginning and end of the Torah, sharing stories - and more!  This is a kid-friendly event!

Creation and Destruction: Learn and Disassemble
Date: Tuesday 10/2, 4:00pm
Location: Hope Central Church

The end of Simchat Torah and Sukkot is here. Join Rabbi Becky to mark the new beginning of the Torah and the end of Sukkot. We will study some Torah from the book of Genesis and disassemble the sukkah. Step stools and power tools would be helpful!


Want more Sukkot? Check out these events from our friends:

Ganei Beantown Dinner on Chilcott (Sunday 9/23)
Ganei Beantown Sukkot on the Farm (Sunday 9/30)


  • We are currently working on a Jamaica Plain-based collaboration regarding the creation of Jewish communal space - for programming (learning, spiritual, organizing, etc) and potentially Jewish co-working space. Interested? Reach out to Rabbi Becky!

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