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Queer Talmud Camp 2018

July 1-5: Walker Creek Ranch, Marin, CA

August 5-9: Perlstein Resort, Lake Delton, WI


OK, picture this: You’re learning Talmud in a bet midrash full of queers and radicals, in an idyllic setting on a thousand lakeside acres of hills, forests, and grasslands, with the Dream Team of the Queer Jewish world. Now, add to that: swimming, yoga, hiking, crafts, dancing, singing around the campfire–and all that in a love-fest atmosphere. That’s Queer Talmud Camp.

Whether you’re an advanced Talmud learner or an absolute beginner, Queer Talmud Camp is for you! All you need is the ability to decode your alef-bet (i.e. sound out your Hebrew letters), and you’ll be learning Talmud in the original Hebrew/Aramaic within your first hour. We guarantee it!

The bet midrash is mixed-level: Beginners learn the Talmud text and Rashi, and the more advanced learners go beyond the Talmud and Rashi into codes and medieval commentaries. All texts are learned in the original Hebrew/Aramaic, without translation. But don’t let that scare you! Remember, even if you can only sound out your alef-bet, you can do this! 




For more details, check out a past schedule HEREWatch what other Queer Talmud Campers have to say HERE.


Tuition* for Queer Talmud Camp varies depending on lodging chosen. 

Walker Creek pricing:

Camping $ 400
Dorm-Style (10-15 people per room) $ 600
Semi-private (3-5 per room) $ 900
Private ** $ 1,500

Perlstein Resort pricing:

Camping                                              $ 400
Shared (3-4 people per room) $ 750
Private **  $ 1,500

All applicants are asked to pay a $101 deposit at the time of registration. This deposit is non-refundable.

*SVARA’s actual cost for each Queer Talmud Camper is between $800 and $1,600, depending on the type of housing they choose. In an effort to make Queer Talmud Camp accessible to our diverse community, tuitions for camping, dorm-style and shared accommodations are generously subsidized by SVARA and its donors. 

** If you would like to share a private, we offer a couple’s rate of $1,400 per person or $2,800 total at both camps.  


It is extremely important to us that the learning at SVARA be accessible to everyone. As we mentioned above, the full cost to SVARA, per participant, is between $800 and $1,600, depending on lodging chosen by the participant, meaning everyone’s tuition is subsidized, with the campers being the most subsidized, those in multiple-person accommodations next, and those choosing private rooms least. We ask that you bear this in mind when applying for additional financial aid. Please know that we are happy to create a payment plan to diffuse the burden of the tuition balance.

We recommend you apply early and pursue other fundraising options on your own first to raise money to pay for Queer Talmud Camp. Think: GoFundMe page, a garage sale, a loan from a relative who would just kvell to know that you want to go to yeshiva! Try your family or childhood–or current–rabbi, if you have one. Most congregational rabbis have discretionary funds for just this purpose! Or try the Hebrew Free Loan Society. If you are still unable to pay the full tuition for the type of accommodation you need, please indicate this in your application. We are committed to making Queer Talmud Camp accessible to everyone who wants to attend, yet know that we have limited scholarship funds available.

Once we receive your application, if you’ve indicated that you wish to apply for financial aid, we’ll send you a short questionnaire to help assess the scope of your financial need. Update: Scholarship applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please register as soon as possible.

If you have a specific situation that requires you to stay in a more expensive accommodation than you are able to afford, please email contact@svara.org.


There are two dictionaries required. You will need to purchase them on your own and bring them with you to the retreat.

1) Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature by Marcus Jastrow. Call up your local Jewish bookstore, and ask for “a Jastrow.” 

2) A Practical Talmud Dictionary by Yitzhak Frank. Tell ’em you need “a Frank.” 

These are great dictionaries for any and all future Talmud study (with Rabbi Lappe or elsewhere).


Walker Creek, Marin, CA: 

Best airports: San Francisco or Oakland. Both are about a 1.5 hour drive from the airport.

Perlstein Resort, Lake Delton, WI:

Best airports: Chicago O’hare (3 hours away), Chicago Midway (3.5 hours away), or Milwaukee (2 hours away). Many people will be driving from Chicago and offering carpool spaces. 

For both retreats: If you are flying, please plan to rent a car or arrange a carpool from the airport. Once your registration is complete, we will help connect you with others, so that everyone can coordinate transportation together. 


Programming at both retreats begins on Sunday at 4:30 pm. Please plan to arrive by 3:00 pm to get checked-in and settled. Programming will wrap up by 2 pm on Thursday. 

Don’t forget to allow ample travel time when booking flights! 


All food at both retreats is certified Kosher. There is a mashgiach present throughout our stay at Perlstein.

There will be gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan,  and vegetarian options.  We will work to accommodate any student’s individual dietary needs.


Both Walker Creek and Perlstein Resort are wheelchair and walker accessible. 

From the staff at Walker Creek: The main campus of Walker Creek is quite flat. There are minimal grades, but wheelchairs and walkers navigate quite well. Many of our lodges and economy dorms are accessible to people who use a wheelchair, walker or for whom steps pose a challenge. Some of the pathways are bumpy, maybe some dirt or gravel.

Additional notes: At Walker Creek, some buildings we use are about a 5-minute walk apart, for example, the bet midrash and the dining hall. The pond is a longer hike (about 10 minutes) on uneven, unpaved terrain, but we are able to arrange for a golf cart to drive to the pond. 

From the staff at Perlstein: All of our public buildings have ramp access, and in the lodge there are two rooms that are specifically accessible. In those rooms, the light switches are lower and there is an accessible bathroom.

Other accommodations: All of our learning material will be available in Braille, and we will have large-print copies of the Talmud text available. Let us know if you would like us to provide large-print versions of the additional materials. Many students also choose to bring a magnifying glass if they struggle to read small print–we recommend the Magnabrite Magnifier.

We learn for 2-3 hours at a time, generally sitting in chairs at tables. Participants are welcome to stand and stretch according to their own needs, and there are regular breaks. 

If you have any other needs for making your learning experience at Queer Talmud Camp possible, please don’t hesitate to inquire. We are committed to making the learning accessible to as many students as possible.





Queer Talmud Camp at Walker Creek Ranch is supported in part by a generous grant from