S&M Winter 2018
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S&M Bet Midrash, Winter 2018

The S&M Bet Midrash enables students of all levels, regardless of background, to learn Talmud in the hottest bet midrash (study house) in Chicago. More information is available on the SVARA website.

The S&M Bet Midrash runs for a six-week term and is not a drop-in class. Each session builds on material covered in the previous weeks, and missing one night makes it very challenging to catch up. Additionally, students learn b'chevruta (in committed pairs) for the entire six-week term. This means that one student's absence affects their chevruta's (study partner's) ability to learn that week. Therefore, students are required to commit to attending all six sessions. We know your lives are busy! And we are building a community, which depends on everyone's attendance. If you know that you will be absent for one of the six sessions, just sit this term out and join us next term! Please confirm that you can commit to every night of the entire 6-week term before registering.

On the evening of January 16th there will be an Orientation for New Learners (including an intro to CRASH theory, how to take apart a Hebrew or Aramaic word, how to use Jastrow and Frank dictionaries, how to navigate a page of Talmud, what even is the Talmud?!, and other essential learning skills). This Orientation is mandatory for all new S&M learners. If you haven't learned at S&M or with SVARA before, you've gotta be there! Please let us know ASAP if you are a new learner and are unable to attend this Orientation.

Schedule and Location

Orientation for New Learners
7:00–9:30 PM
Jan. 16
Location TBD

Bet Midrash Sessions
7:00–9:30 PM
Jan. 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27
Location TBD



We have not yet selected the text we will learn in this S&M session. We will let you know which masechet (book of the Talmud) it is from as soon as we decide. If you do not already own an unpunctuated, unvocalized, untranslated (Vilna Shas) printing of this masechet we ask that you purchase a copy through the SVARA web store at cost ($20). A link to make your purchase will be provided in your application confirmation.

In addition, two dictionaries are required for study in the Bet Midrash:

  1. The Practical Talmud Dictionary by Yitzhak Frank
  2. A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature by Marcus Jastrow

These dictionaries are essential for Talmud study at SVARA and will be invaluable in any bet midrash in which you may learn in the future. Each student must have their own set. This session we are unable to provide loaner dictionaries to all students. We ask that all students with the means purchase and bring their own set of dictionaries. Dictionaries may be purchased at Rosenblum's, our local Jewish bookstore. (Note well: some copies of the Jastrow dictionary available on Amazon are incomplete and not usable; if you choose to purchase Jastrow on Amazon, please use this link.) Jastrow is currently out of print pending a new edition from the publisher; if you are unable to find a Jastrow for less than approximately $50 please request a loaner.

SVARA is committed to eliminating all barriers to entry to the Bet Midrash. If the cost of the above materials is a barrier to your learning, please email Amir Starr Weg, our Administrative Assistant, and he'll set you up.

Support the cost of S&M

With the exception of the cost of books, learning in the S&M Bet Midrash is free of charge. Your learning has been made possible by the chesed (loving generosity) of Mishkan Chicago and SVARA, as well as Mishkanites and SVARA-niks who came before you. For those who would like to contribute to the S&M Bet Midrash at this time, you will have an opportunity to pay it forward with a donation when you complete your application. We depend on your donations to keep our Bet Midrash open to all who want to learn. 

Interested in learning more about Mishkan? Check out their website!