Yeshiva Beis HaGolus is a new project emerging from a group of queer friends, teachers, students, and community members living and collaborating on occupied Nisqually and Squaxin lands. We seek to bring people together in Jewish cultural organizing and education –– rooting our offerings and explorations in land stewardship. Yeshiva Beis HaGolus aims to be a place of study and collaboration, of diasporic and anti-colonial language, of queer possibilities and imaginations; a place of Torah to exile oneself to.
Our programming will include classes, workshops, ritual building, and retreats focused on re/connection with ancestral languages and traditions. We are planning to offer holistic studies of Yiddish and Ladino; Talmud and Torah; Jewish time spirals; poetry, art, music, and writing. Drawing from many different life, spiritual, and academic experiences, we will provide an embodied, interdisciplinary, and land-based approach to these topics. We hope to respond to the needs and interests of the community that surrounds us, creating programming that is accessible, responsive, and sustainable.
Yeshiva Beis HaGolus means “Dwelling in the House of Exile.” Exile is endemic to Jewishness. In Pirkei Avot 4:14 “Rabbi Nehorai says: Exile yourself to a place of Torah, and don't say that the Torah will follow you, because it's your colleagues who will make it yours. Don't rely on your lone understanding.” The diaspora offers us a powerful experience that can place us outside the common understanding of life dependent on the state; Jewish liberatory traditions are both an expression of and a participant within the diaspora. We are inspired to blend community, exile, and study –– with Torah as a territory to be exiled to. With our name, we embrace this potential.
While Yeshiva Beis HaGolus is founded within a Jewish framework, we are explicitly open to anyone who would like to strengthen themselves and their community through this approach. It is our responsibility when we create space to welcome others into it, allowing it to be shaped by those who are present and the stories they carry. In this way, we bring together still small voices into a raucous choir, stitching together far-flung broken pieces into union as a whole. This space is not closed, nor is it static; it is co-created in culturally collaborative partnership.
This project is our way of stepping towards a world and work grounded in liberatory values. We resist all structures of colonialism and assimilation, and envision a world free from the borders and power structures that support them. We want a world that is built for community, by community, and driven through transformation –– a world that allows for lifelong learning, study, spiritual connection, queer expansiveness, and enduring cultural sustenance. We are specifically motivated towards land and financial redistribution as a complement to cultural and linguistic reclamation. May this be an opportunity to glimpse Olam HaBa (the world to come) from Olam HaZeh (this world).
As we head into the Shmita year 5782, we are focused on building a foundation for this long-term project: engaging potential partners, securing grant funding, writing and piloting curricula, and finding the land that we will root and grow into.
If you are interested in working with us, if you would like to be engaged in the future, or if you have any questions -- please email us! For updates and relevant content, subscribe to our substack! And follow us on instagram!