About Us

Azara is creating a culture of Jewish learning in the UK.

We want to open the complex world of Torah to everyone, and build the skills to unlock our texts and traditions. Azara was born from two grassroots cross-communal learning projects, Pop-Up Beit Midrash and Open Talmud Project.

Our Story

Open Talmud Project was founded in 2009 in order to give all Jews close encounters with Talmud and other Jewish texts, and has run successful intensives for the last twelve years. Pop-Up Beit Midrash has provided living-room learning led by the best teachers from across the community. Together, we’re ready to create learning opportunities at every level, from evening classes to long-term, immersive programmes. 

The first Open Talmud Project.

‘Azara’ is the Hebrew word for courtyard. The Temple had an azara in which all the Jews could gather, regardless of gender or priestly status. We aim to be a space where Jews of all denominations, backgrounds, and genders can gather to learn and to make religious meaning.

Leah is Rabbi of Kehillah North London and a founding member of Na’amod: British Jews Against Occupation. Having learnt at Yeshivat Hadar, the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and the Conservative Yeshiva, Leah received semicha from the Leo Baeck College and holds an MA in Jewish Studies from King’s College London. She hails from “deepest, darkest” midwestern America, and lives in London with her partner, also a confirmed yeshiva bucher, Benji Stanley. (She/They)

Rabbi Leah Jordan

Co-founder

Jessica is a Masorti rabbinical student from Edinburgh, currently studying at Hebrew College, Boston. She studied mathematics at the University of Oxford and formerly worked in interfaith, running Jewish education and social action programmes. Jessica has been organising grassroots Torah learning since 2018 through Open Talmud Project and elsewhere. She has learnt at Yeshivat Hadar, the Drisha Kollel, and the Conservative Yeshiva.

Jessica Spencer

Co-founder

Lindsey studied archaeology at Cambridge and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and has recently completed her PhD at UCL, on the religious lives of Orthodox Jewish women. She teaches at the London School of Jewish Studies and teaches regularly in the community, as well as occasionally lecturing at Cambridge University and King’s College London. She edits books for the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization and has writtenarticles and book reviews for the Jewish Chronicle. Lindsey is a graduate of the LSJS Susi Bradfield Women Educators’ Programme.

Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz

Co-founder

Allan is a practising Chartered Accountant and was a founder member of Edgware Masorti Synagogue. He taught at and co-chaired Gesher, the Masorti Teenage Centre, and studied at the Masorti Kollel. He graduated from Leo Baeck College in 2009.

Allan Myers

Trustee

Chana grew up in North West London and now serves as a youth director at the Cheadle and Gatley-based Yeshurun synagogue. She has a Chemistry degree from the University of Leeds and previously worked for Bnei Akiva UK. She spent a year studying at Midreshet Harova and is currently a participant in Yeshivat Maharat and YCT’s Mind the Gap learning programme.

Chana Be’eri

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