Thorns in the Vineyard: Criminals, Snitches, and Jewish Views on the Law

Are Jews allowed to talk to cops? Is halaxa more “thin blue line” or “ACAB”? What happens at the intersection between intra-communal Jewish law and enforcement, and the secular/goyish carceral state? Dive into these questions, as alive now as they’ve ever been, as we ground ourselves in a two-thousand year old Rabbinic tale to figure out whether pigs are kosher or treyf when it comes to the police.

Shel Maala’s Co-Rosh Yeshiva R’ Xava de Cordova, in her first Talmud class in over a year, will be guiding us through the original text, rabbinic commentary and historical context to uncover the meaning(s) of this Talmud passage, and the radical political possibilities (and pitfalls) it contains. Five weeks, SVARA style, slow, deep, raunchy, gay and fun. If you like to study Talmud, this is it. Shel Maala’s signature blend of lefty praxis and shtark gemara.

Open to learners of all levels, all you need to know is your alef bet. If you want help learning that, or the SVARA-style method of learning we’ll be using, we’ve got resources for you! This class will be live captioned, and fairied by Rosh Yeshiva Binya Kóatz and ada morse.


Five Sundays

May 19 -> June 16

2-4pm ET/11am-1pm PT


Accessibility notes:

- Live captioning

- 10 minute break

- Recordings available

- Slides & materials sent out before class


This is a text study class, where most text will be learned in the SVARA method of Talmud. Previous knowledge of this method is not necessary, as we will provide pre-class introductory materials for this method for those who need it.

Knowing your alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet) is a prerequisite. If you would like to learn your alef-bet for this class, we can help you do so.


Learning will be a mix of full group and xevruta/pair study. You will be matched with a xevruta after registration.

Three of our classes will require an hour of xevruta prep beforehand. These classes are: 5/26, 6/2, and 6/9.

This hour of prep can happen during the week between classes, or during a guided hour right before class. The guided hour will be held the hour immediately before class, from 1-2pm ET/10-11am PT. It will include a 10 minute break before class starts. You and your xevruta will decide which option works best for y'all.

More info and instruction will be sent after registration.


This class is $36/class ($180 total), NOTAFLOF. Full sliding scale will be shown at checkout.


If you have any questions please email:

NOTE: For this class, there is an option to audit. This would mean that you would not get paired with a xevruta, but could come to classes/watch recordings. This is optimal for people who cannot make several of the class times, but still want access to the learning/materials. You will see the option as a separate “audit” ticket at check out.

Reach out to us at the email above, if you have any further questions