Wilderness Torah

Rating: 4.95 stars   37 reviews

Issues:

Location: Oakland CA USA

Mission: Wilderness Torah awakens and celebrates the earth-based traditions of Judaism to nourish the connections between self, community, earth, and Spirit.
Results: Over three years, we have created ten holiday pilgrimage festivals (Sukkot on the Farm Festival, Passover in the Desert, and Shavuot on the Mountain), and the day-long Tu B'Shvat in the Redwoods serving over 500 people in 2010. The demand for our programs has consistently demonstrated the deep need for our work. We have sold out every Wilderness Torah event since our first Sukkot in 2007, and attendance increases by more than 30% with each event. We started the first Jewish Vision Quest in 2008, and continued with Wilderness Walks and a second vision quest in 2009. IN 2010 we launched Gan Torah Children's Nature Program. In 2011, we will launch our B'nai Mitzvah Nature Mentoring Program and Hebrew Homesteading (classes like challah-baking and picking).
Target demographics: All ages! We are building multi-generational community at our festivals and also have programs specifically for youth, Gan Torah and a new B'nai Mitzvah Nature Mentoring Program starting in Fall 2011.
Geographic areas served: California and beyond

2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

Bringing environmental awareness and stewardship together with the rich history of Jewish culture in a non denominational and inclusive manner is what this organization is about. I have been moved, impressed and inspired by the vision and dedication that this organization is bringing to our 21st century evolving culture.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Inspiring and unbelievably dedicated.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

Though I have not attended a Wilderness Torah event, the transformation and illumination i have seen in those who have is enough to convince me of its great service to the Jewish community.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Watching how its message has so quickly captured the imagination of so many and ignited people to action.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Role: Client Served
Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I've been to only one Wilderness Torah event, but it left me and my family feeling more connected to community and the environment. Everything that was planned for the event -- from the food to the tribes -- was done with loving intention to create a stronger, more vibrant, more diverse and more connected kinship among the participants.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very kind and committed.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Wilderness Torah Helped me deepen my roots in the bay area Jewish community. My first interaction with Wilderness Torah was Pesach in the desert. I didn't even like the desert and now I have a new appreciation for it. Most importantly, I made life time friends in the Jewish community. The workshops were informative and spiritual.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The new experiences I had with this group and the people I have met.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very sincere and dedicated to their program.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

Wilderness Torah is the future of Judaism. The people who are involved are some of the most kind spirited people I have ever met. The underlying philosophy that the potential for spiritual connection and transformation happens in a sacred space that is rooted deeply in proven ancient traditions yet fluid and open to shifting when Spirit calls for it on the spur of the moment, is a great strength unique to Wilderness Torah. Although my husband an I do not have children yet we admired the way in which the Wilderness Torah leaders taught and cared for the young children and are hoping that by the time we have children they will have a full time hebrew school. My husband and I drove 7 hours to spend Succot with Wilderness Torah and are now planning to spend all our holidays with them no matter how far we have to drive. There is nothing else like this out there and it needs to thrive. Additionally, our lifestyle has changed because of what we learned at succot on the farm. We now only use reusable dishes when we camp. Additionally we reduced our consumption of meat to almost nothing and we eat more grains and organic fruits and vegetables.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

1. Start a branch in Southern California 2. Open a school 3. Start their own farm 4. afford more scholarships to people

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Wilderness Torah is a dynamic community that has a core structure yet grows and changes because it constantly incorporates and makes room for what participants bring to gatherings. It is trully a creative, grassroots, Jewish organization. The potential it holds for bringing people to experience Torah in an embodied, experiential, personal way is something to be excited about and involved in!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Becoming a stronger part of the community it builds

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Better integration of children into programs...a more family-oriented program.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Being able to offer programming for children that is Jewish environmental experiential programming.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very kind, dedicated, available, committed to their own health as well as the smooth running of the events

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Grow---find a land-based center to hold gatherings and extend educational programs to the whole state/nation. It would become a hub on the west coast of land-based Judaism.

Ways to make it better...

I could have participated in more learning options

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

TIme and money...funded workers v. volunteers.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I wish I could work for them developing kid's programs!!!!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Wilderness Torah provided me, my wife, and my 4yr old daughter with a memorable time celebrating Succot on an organic farm on the California coast, making friends and contributing to a beautiful collective experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

an amazing offering called Succot on the Farm, which brought together a whole community to create a sacred collective experience.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase their budget, so they could actually compensate their staff for the loving work that they do

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

its striving to engender a genuinely thoughtful and loving experience for its participants.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

motivated, smart, spiritual, and hip!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

revolutionize spiritual Judaism by helping people see the dynamic connection to our roots as a people

Ways to make it better...

the weather was less windy, on the Succot program. But the whole point is to be outside, of course.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

growing pains, and gathering SF Bay Area participants consistently, with all the rich offerings that are available here

One thing I'd also say is that...

I'd be happy to do another program, or many more, with Wilderness Torah... and I don't consider myself religious, but its inspiring nonetheless... which is probably the highest praise I could give.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have attended two of Wilderness Torah's events. They have been transformative and have brought me closer to my culture, my community, and myself. They are an organization on the leading edge of making the connection between the role of religion, culture, and sustainability.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fabulous and committed.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make a huge difference in the world

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I went on the Pesach in the Desert experience in 2008, and it was an amazing experience. The trip was fantastic--it was well organized, we had plenty of wonderful food, and the real connections I've made with the people and the land have stayed with me and continued to improve my life. CHL partners with Wilderness Torah when possible, and in that capacity I continue to see Wilderness Torah growing by leaps and bounds in their service to the community.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

discovering a path to the heart of Jewish practice that I can relate to.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

always approachable, genuine, and full to the brim of heart wisdom. They accepted feedback and worked to accommodate unexpected needs.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

This is a ground-breaking organization doing the crucial work of linking earth and spirituality, bringing Jews back to our deepest roots in the Torah and the land. I am so thankful for the transformations in my personal practice and my relationship to Judaism that have arisen because of the programs of Wilderness Torah. I especially appreciate the phenomenal leadership of this organization -- balanced, wise, grounded, courageous. This work is truly unprecedented!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my awareness of Judaism's earth-based roots.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

--

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

beautiful ceremonies, joyful social activities, and meaningful earth connections.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

phenomenal.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

effect an earth-based revolution in Judaism.

Ways to make it better...

--

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

they do not yet have enough funding to realize their full, remarkable vision!

One thing I'd also say is that...

--

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

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