Rabbi Benay Lappe

SVARA | www.svara.org



Rabbi Benay Lappe is the founder and rosh yeshiva of SVARA, a traditionally radical yeshiva based in Chicago. An award-winning educator specializing in the methods of radical legal change recorded in the Talmud as well as the application of queer theory to Talmud study, Benay has served on the faculties of numerous universities, rabbinical schools and institutions throughout the Jewish world. She also currently serves as Senior Fellow at the Institute for the Next Jewish Future and is a frequent guest on its Judaism Unbound podcasts. Ordained by The Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, Rabbi Lappe was named to The Forward’s 2014 Most Inspiring Rabbis list, and is a recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for 2016. While learning and teaching Talmud are her greatest passions, Rabbi Lappe is also a licensed pilot, shoemaker, and patent-holding inventor. Watch Rabbi Lappe’s ELI Talk: “An Unrecognizable Jewish Future: A Queer Talmudic Take.”


SVARA, a traditionally radical yeshiva based in Chicago, is revolutionizing Jewish education by making the spiritual, moral, and intellectual technology of Talmud study accessible and available to all Jews—many formerly alienated from Jewish life—as a practice for developing radically empathic, mature, evolved human beings who will create a more just, peaceful, and healthy world. SVARA’s unique pedagogy allows every student—including those who’ve just learned the alef-bet—to study Talmud in its most powerful form: in the original, never in translation.

SVARA’s traditionally radical Talmud programs—including evening classes, week-long retreats, on-the-road pop-up batei midrash, teacher training seminars, and a full-time yeshiva—are intensely diverse in age, sexual orientation, gender expression, levels of Jewish literacy, and religious observance and affiliation, and inspire its students to develop a deep love of, and pride in, our rich tradition, motivating them to be active players in the evolving Jewish future.