Five days of learning, starting in the morning with optional tefillah (prayer) followed by breakfast, three hours of discovering Talmud in the original with world-class teachers (classes at four levels, from complete beginners to experienced yeshivaniks), lunch, and your choice of afternoon classes. We’ll also be holding some special evening events open to all.
What do I need to know?
We’ll be in the heart of Edinburgh, two minutes’ walk from Waverley Station and five minutes from the castle. Everyone is welcome, and you’ll be joining a diverse group of month-long participants of all Jewish backgrounds from Liberal to Orthodox, young and old, straight and queer. All food is supervised kosher. The Open Week programme finishes at midday on Friday 14 July.
Accommodation: accommodation is not available for the open week, please make your own arrangements.
Accessibility: all spaces will be wheelchair accessible, and we will endeavour to meet other access needs wherever possible. Contact us if you have a specific need to discuss.
8.00 a.m. Student-led Tefillah
Participants will organise different forms of prayer/meditation/reflection that are likely to include Orthodox, Masorti/trad-egal, and Progressive options.
8.45 a.m. Breakfast
Breakfast is provided, vegetarian, and certified kosher. Washing up is communal.
9.30 a.m. Talmud
This three-hour block every morning is an opportunity to dig deep into one of Judaism’s most central books. Learning will be done in small classes, with everybody studying the same perek (chapter). Beginners will be learning how to start making meaning from the original Hebrew and Aramaic text, while more advanced students will be continuing their learning and building skills for reading Rashi, Tosafot, and other commentators.
12.30 p.m. Lunch
Lunch is provided, vegetarian, and kosher.
1.30 p.m. First afternoon class
3.00 p.m. Mincha and break
3.30 p.m Second afternoon class
For more information about the Azara summer programme, click here.
Leah Rosenthal holds a B.A. in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy and an M.A. in Jewish Education, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has been teaching Talmud at Pardes for over twenty years and still enjoys doing so. She combines her teaching at Pardes with teaching at the nearby Pelech High School for Girls and raising, with her husband, their five children. This summer, Leah will be teaching Talmud.
Jeremy Tabick is the Content Manager and faculty at Hadar, where he teaches, curates, and edits Hadar’s content—both online and in print. Jeremy is also pursuing a PhD in Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a Masters in Physics, and is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hadar and the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He lives in New York with his wife and three children. This summer, Jeremy will be teaching Talmud.
Dr Laliv Clenman is a specialist in Rabbinics and Hebrew and Aramaic language and literature, she is particularly interested in the multiplicity, diversity and development of rabbinic law and in the complex relationships between halakhah and aggadah as well as between Palestinian and Babylonian sources. Her research explores themes talmudic and midrashic discourse including violence and the law, legal authority, and problems of identity and status, including intermarriage, gender, sexuality, the construction of Jewishness and the impact of halakhah on the individual. She is passionate about building and growing active, supportive, inclusive and challenging learning communities. This summer, Dr Laliv will be teaching Talmud.
Rabbi Shimon Felix is an Orthodox Rabbi who was born in New York and made aliyah in the early ‘70s. He has worked at a wide range of communal and educational frameworks, with young people and adults, in Orthodox as well as pluralistic frameworks, in Israel, North America, and the UK. He taught and served as Educational Director at Yeshivat Hamivtar, taught at Michlelet Bruria, and was a shaliach in London, as a Rabbi and educator at Yakar, a progressive Orthodox synagogue and educational centre. He also served as Assistant to Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. He is the former Executive Director of the pluralistic Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. This summer, Rabbi Shimon will be teaching Tanach.
Dr Alinda Damsma lectures ancient Semitic languages in the Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies at University College London (UCL). Besides her teaching in Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Akkadian at UCL, she lectures Aramaic at L’École Rabbinique de Paris. Her current research focuses on the use of Aramaic in kabbalistic writings. In addition, she is working on a monograph which examines the role and the impact of the Bible on the early modern witch-hunts. This summer, Dr Alinda will be teaching Aramaic.
Rabba Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz received her doctorate from University College London. She has just finished two years as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester and has lectured at universities including Cambridge, Oxford, and Vassar College, New York. She has taught at the London School of Jewish Studies since 2005. In 2021 she received Orthodox rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Maharat, New York. Her first book, Challenge and Conformity: The Religious Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women, was published by the Littman LIbrary of Jewish Civilization in 2021. This summer, Rabba Lindsey will be teaching Tanach.
Rabbi Daniel Lichman joins with others to grow Jewish communities that are deeply rooted in the truth of the moment and able to be fountains of love bringing Torah-wisdom to wider humanity. He does this by feeding the fire of Torah through teaching and ritual facilitation. Rabbi Daniel has studied at Leo Baeck College, Pardes, Conservative Yeshiva and as part of the pedagogy chabura of Svara: the Queer Radical Yeshiva. This summer, Rabbi Daniel will be teaching Jewish theology.
Jessica Spencer is a Hebrew College-SVARA Talmud Pedagogy Fellow and co-founder of Azara. She has taught in various spaces including synagogues, Limmud, and as the teaching assistant for Talmud Skills at the Pardes. Jessica is a fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College and also learns with Rabbi Daniel Landes at Yashrut. When not learning, she swims, reads, and muses on the best recipe for hot chocolate. This summer, Jessica will be co-teaching Talmud.
For one week, and one week only:
Rabbi Benji Stanley loves teaching and learning Torah, which brings together his love of literature, conversations, and personal change. He has learnt at Yeshivat Hadar, Conservative Yeshiva and Leo Baeck College, and has taught within and organised the Limmud Bet Midrash and Open Talmud. He is the Rabbi of Westminster Synagogue, an independent community that loves learning.
Rabbi Leah Jordan 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.