Kadima’s (queer AF) Talmud class is going to be looking at the origins of the idea of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) and why it overrides other commandments. You can register here. Here’s the nitty-gritty:
What is this?
This is a queer approach to Talmud. That means that it’s taught in the original Hebrew/Aramaic (even if all you know is the aleph-bet!) with a focus on rabbinic interpretation as a tool of radical social innovation. Check out my teacher Benay Lappe’s talk about her philosophy here.
Talmud isn’t about the nitty gritty of law, it’s about the question of how we shape our values, how we relate to other people, and how we as Jews engage and transform tradition. The goal of teaching queer people in the original languages is to make that tradition accessible to people who have been denied it for way too long.
As an added bonus, learning Talmud takes up your entire brain in the best way possible (personally, I don’t do mindfulness or meditation. Talmud is the most effective way I know to calm down and to get my balance back).
The course will run on Tuesdays, 4/17-5/29 (no class 5/15), 6:30-9 PM at Kadima HQ in Madrona.
Each student needs their own copy of masechet Yoma (the volume of Talmud we'll be studying from). You can purchase this from Kadima for $20, but cost should not be a barrier, so if you can't afford to pay the full amount, pay what you can afford.
My Hebrew isn’t very good/I don’t understand Hebrew at all: It is absolutely possible to do this even if you start without any comprehension of Hebrew. You do need to know your aleph bet (including vowels), and you do need to be willing to work hard.
But this sounds hard: Yes, it is, and that’s the joy--Talmud is both a moral and an intellectual challenge. And it’s entirely worth it and entirely do-able. You’ll get all the tools you need to work your way through it with your chevruta (study partner), and you can ask all the questions you want.
But I’m not queer: This is a queer-centered space, but people who aren’t queer are welcome to join so long as they respect that.
Haven’t I got better things to do given the current political disaster?: The Talmud offers us a roadmap of how to survive and rebuild in the face of unspeakable destruction. It’s never been more timely. See also: Talmud study as meditative practice.
You can register by filling out the above form.
Who the heck are you?
I’m Isaac. I’ve been in love with the early rabbis since the first time I heard a midrash and did a MA at Yale in early post-biblical Jewish literature. I firmly believe that the rabbis created the coolest intellectual playground in the Jewish tradition, made all the more awesome by the fact that they wanted us to keep expanding and remodelling it. It’s a playground that should belong to all of us. Come join me.
All participants must register by filling out the above registration form. If you have any questions, feel free to email Isaac.