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Beit Midrash

Beit Midrash

Who We Are:

The Swarthmore Beit Midrash serves as a center for the study of Judaism, Jewish history, and Jewish culture in their broadest expressions. The Beit promotes the integration of Jewish texts, culture, history, and art at Swarthmore College through various classes and text study sessions and by hosting visiting lectures open to the wider community that represent multiple manifestations of Jewishness from antiquity to today. We strive to facilitate conversations that explore—and expand—the boundaries of what Judaism is, who Jews have been, and who Jews are across chronological and geographical borders. 

Statement of Equity and Tikkun:

While recognizing the diversity of views among Jews, the Beit Midrash is committed to equity and full representation. It is of paramount importance that, in the spirit of tikkun—or repair, righting, and reckoning—those who have been marginalized in the Jewish community and in dominant historical narratives about Judaism now be made central. We seek to highlight the voices of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, Jews of color, feminist, queer, and transgender Jews, Jews of diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and secular Jews—both in the present and as active shapers of Jewish history. We work to repair the ways in which unacknowledged privileging of European, “white,” heterosexual, male, non-disabled, perspectives have come to dominate definitions of Jewishness, and we critically engage with aspects of Jewish texts and cultures that have set forth supremacist perspectives and vilified non-Jews. Finally, we affirm that the critical and creative uses of long-standing methods of Jewish textual interpretation and cultural production, or talmud and midrash, may be harnessed in the service of tikkun.


The Jewish Mysticism Collection
Kabbalistic, Hassidic, and other mystical works, in Aramaic, Hebrew, and English.

The James Kurth Hebrew Bible Collection
Hebrew and English editions of the primary text, plus medieval and modern commentaries.

The Midrash Collection
Books of rabbinic interpretations of the Bible, in Hebrew and in English.

The Mishnaic Collection
Mishna and Tosefta, with commentaries and translations.

The Talmud Collection
Hebrew and Aramaic editions; bilingual editions with explanations for the modern reader.

Contact the Beit Midrash

Gwynn Kessler

Associate Professor

Department Chair, Religion



  1. Phone: (610) 328-8467
  2. Pearson Hall 208