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October 21, 2009

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October 21, 2009

When I first heard about Wilderness Torah, I couldn't believe it - an organization bringing Jews together to study, pray and play in the wilderness??! It was like a dream come true, two of my worlds and passions coming together in a way they hadn't since my ecstatic days at Jewish overnight camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. And participating in the events and coming to know the people involved has surpassed even my initial excitement. The programming is rich, the opportunities for learning are mind and heart opening, the people leading and participating are stellar and open to authentic connection, the music and food are great, and the practice of Jewish ritual in these beautiful places as was done by our ancestors is just what my soul needs. I am thrilled about this organization and look forward to continuing to play and pray with them.

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

the much-needed connection of Judaism and wilderness, of practicing ancient rituals in contemporary natural context.

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

PASSIONATE

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

As Rabbi of Chochmat HaLev, the spiritual community the helped birth Wilderness Torah, I am happy to provide a reference. I have attended three of their events - at Sukkot, Pesah and TuB'Shvat. each time, I have further deepened my connection between Judaism and Imma Adama, our Mother Earth. Their leadership is both inspired and grounded. I am delighted Wilderness Torah is planning to continue and expand their earth- based Judaism programming. Rabbi SaraLeya Schley, Berkeley, CA

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

enthusiam and ethicx

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

competant, enthusiastic

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

provide scholarships to bring in others who have lost their connection to Judaism.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

I have been hearing and reading about the incredible growth of Wilderness Torah since its inception. I am thoroughly impressed with the strength of the community it has built and the energy, dedication and commitment of its volunteers, staff and leaders. I am excited to participate in future family-oriented events (i.e. Sukkot on the Farm) so my entire family can all experience the warm, welcoming and educational environment WT has created.

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

leaders who are truly committed to building community, sharing knowledge and inspiring people.

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

build on its foundation and do even more amazing things.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

An incredibly simple concept: taking Jewish holidays and rituals, and putting them outside in their original context. It's ancient-retro in trying to engage the original style and spirit of the rituals. And it's 21st century ultra-modern in its blending of environmental sustainability, back-to-the-land wilderness=beauty, and neo-Kabbalistic in the connection to "Something great than ourselves" through connecting with your own inner truth. It's the Judaism I didn't even know I was always looking for.

The Great!

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

finding immediate relevance of Jewish practices in my current life and my affinity for the natural environment

Ways to make it better...

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

Create an endowment.

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

feeling simultaneously connected to an incredible community, beautiful natural settings, and an approach to Judaism that fit all of it, and that fit me.

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

deeply sincere, authentic, truly believing what they were teaching, actually LIVING what they were preaching, sharing deep wisdoms and insights.

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

sponsor MANY more events, appealing to an even broader range of folks. For example, simultaneous "Passover in the Wilderness events" could include a full 8-day trek in the desert, weekend excursions closer to home, and 1-day or 1-eve. events.

Ways to make it better...

...they had some outside funding sources to make their experiences more affordable to more people (esp. more young folks)

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

Channeling the financial and personal resources to meet the tremendous demand.

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

I didn't get to go on the last Sukkot on the Farm because it sold out weeks before the deadline. They need more funds to support more trips so that I can go next time.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

Wilderness Torah offers me a chance to bear witness to Oneness, in all its many forms, but especially as it can be seen and felt beyond the walls of institutional Judaism. The rituals I have experienced with Wilderness Torah have been accessible, grounding and full of joy. I felt blessed to be a part of the holy community woven together at Sukkot on the Farm 2009.

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

the chance to live outdoors for a weekend and connect to the ancient rituals which have been lost in our post-modern world - harvest...wind...sleeping outside.

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

totally gracious

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

totally transform the face of American Judaism - connect so many people who might otherwise give up on their heritage and religion

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009

Wilderness Torah is something I have been seeking for awhile: a way to connect to self, community, and nature in the context of Jewish cycles. I have learned so much so far!

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

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

the festive participatory gatherings.

Ways to make it better...

the small group experiences at the large gatherings were more organized. I trust that WT is working on it!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009

Wilderness Torah has provided me with the most essential thing I can hope for: a sense of belonging, exactly as I am, and an inspiration to care for the earth because I feel the caring that comes from belonging. I also leave these events with the a sense that there are other people playing on this team and a network to facilitate change. The events are rich in education and integrity, the people are loving, the purpose is completely uplifting and I come from there feeling like a better person and wanting to take action accordingly. It has brought me back to Judaism more so than any Havurah I have come across.

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

Start an educational community that would be at the heart of a movement that I believe can truly make an immense difference in raising consciousness and improving our stewarding of the planet.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009

This was a new kind of Jewish experience for me outdoors, and no synangogue affiliation. The experience was tremendous, it was really uplifting and really different from other Jewish experiences. I actually think I find more spirituality when in nature so perhaps this is a natural for me. What impressed me about WT was their absolute professionalism- they had learning sessions all night (far longer than I could keep awake for) that were varied and informative, the arrangements were superb by that I mean transit & food , the location perfect. This WT program brought what is clearly in demand as it was full, and I think it brought a cross section together that was unique.

The Great!

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

the experience of Shavuot on the Mountain

Ways to make it better...

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

More feedback...

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

Professionalism. From our 1st contact to end the organization was seamless and wonderful.

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

Approachable, dedicated and committed to their mission.

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

offer more programming.

Ways to make it better...

I had packed better - who knew it would be so cold?

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

I'm sure money is a big issue.

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

I would really like to do another WT program but since WT events are mostly multiday I haven't been able to join.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 19, 2009

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October 19, 2009

I love Wilderness Torah as it is bringing alive the often lost connection to nature in our modern world. The concepts and depth of what is being offered feeds the Jewish soul like nothing I have found in Judaism. Zelig's energy is great and teachings are grounded, accessable and experiential causing one to get more into their body, pay attention and into healthy relationship with God's country (nature) and being in authentic community.

The Great!

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

New ways to relate Judaism to nature

More feedback...

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

The authenticity and wisdom

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

Very open, sincere and intuitive

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

This would be great! Perhaps they could open a rural/rustic sustainable retreat center offering ongoing programs, retreats, workshops and even residential programs with Jewish community living on site.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 19, 2009

more

October 19, 2009

Wilderness Torah is a cutting edge organization that has taken the lead in revitalizing Judaism with the Earth Based origin of this ancient tradition. I have participated in several of their gatherings including Pesach in the Desert and Shavuout on the Mountain. All events were wonderful and profoundly meaningful for those who attended. Community bonds are strengthened and tradition is given deeper meaning and exploration. I know that this organization has really got their finger on the pulse of such and important piece of the need to reconnect our tradition with the wisdom at it's roots. I look forward to many more gatherings and celebrations with this amazing group!

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

Really create programming and infastructure for Jews of all ages to connect to the roots of their tradition in Wildnerness environments Nationally and perhaps internationally. They could afford to bring in and train teachers, leaders and guides.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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