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  

Wilderness Torah was my first experience of Judaism outside of a synagogue context, experiencing pilgrimmage festivals as they were meant to be: outside in nature, whether in the desert for Pesach, in the forest for Tu B'Shvat, or on a farm eating from the harvest for Sukkot. It kindled a greater vitality in Jewish observance for me and an appreciation for the Jewish holidays, their connection to the seasons, and the experience of our ancestors.

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

committing to more Jewish ritual and observance in my life

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

I went to the Dixon organic farm sukkot gathering that was amazing! The people that show up are very helpful, sweet, into Judaism, and open minded to discuss many topics with you & your companion if you so wish to bring one. I have recommended a few close friends to go & they also had a wonderful time exploring their spirituality...I can't imagine anyone not having a great time!!

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

spirituality

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

not too sure...this is pretty amazing!

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

openess, classes, being in the wild where Torah was given to us!

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

very helpful & understanding

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

rich!

Ways to make it better...

I had brought more equipment to camp out with...

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

not sure

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

check up the great planning & special outtings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

Wilderness Torah has been a gateway into the Jewish community and a tunnel into the depths of earth-based traditions throughout the year. I've enjoyed the warmhearted openness of a familial community, always feeling included and welcomed. The programs are deeply insightful and educational, ever expanding my knowledge and experience of Judaism.

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

how I see the opportunities for every individual to come forward with their gifts and passions to share with the community.

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  

Wilderness Torah's blend of experience, education, community and ritual opens doors for people seeking a deeper connection to land, time, inward reflection and outward connection. This year's Sukkot on the Farm Festival was held on a farm in a gorgeous valley on the coast - with amazing mostly local fresh foods prepared by every member of the community under the guidance of the Amazing Avishai - with visits from our farmer hosts and their neighbors - and with the full moon of Tishrei rising over the hillsides each evening.

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

terms of glimpsing other ways of living in relationship to the land and to Jewish community.

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  

Wilderness Torah is for me an opportunity to be in connection with good people and the land and to share what is most important and of value in a celebratory context which is sacred. Organizations such as Wilderness Torah are a gift to humanity - I so recommend experiencing and supporting its well being. Samantha N. Terriss

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

serve with joy and integrity and inspire through creative community building and learning.

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 several multi-day WT events. Amazing stuff. Lots of chance to be outside, doing yoga, praying, eating incredible food, and connecting with old and new friends. When I'm at these events during Jewish festivals (which I usually observe), I feel deeply that I am in the exact right place. Looking forward to more.

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

the feeling of being in exactly the right place, with other people who also want to be there. It's like swimming in a fountain of creativity.

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  

Wonderful organization that brings together an incredible community of Jews to celebrate the earth based roots of Judaism. I attended the sukkot on the farm with my family. We loved the programming and the ruach/spirit of the community. We will definitely be back next year.

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

a new connection to judaism

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

more organized kids programs

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

community

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

very kind and friendly

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

would probably buy a large piece of land and build a jewish intentional land based community in Northern California. That would be AWESOME!`

Ways to make it better...

more organized kids programs

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

unsure

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

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-10-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I am very impressed with what Wilderness Torah has created in a very short time. The leadership has built retreats and other program sthat sell out, attract vibrant, interesting participants from different geographic areas and create lasting community. I have worked in the Jewish community for many years as an educator, and am impressed with the work this group is doing. Though I have not yet attended a retreat do to scheduling conflicts, many of my friend have gone and have told me great things about their experiences. I've also seen pictures and noticed that I know a lot of the participants.

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

my friends coming back very jazzed and educated by the retreats they attended.

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

I love retreats and especially ones that are down to earth and affordable, I am very happy that this option exists in my neck of the woods.

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

I know the founders. They are committed, educated, visionaries.

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

reach a broader audience through regional retreats across the U.S. and in other continents as well. They could also publish educational materials.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I've been a better person since I joined Wilderness Torah. After attending two wonderful multiday events, I've felt so much more connected to my community, my faith, and my higher self. The concept of combining Earth-based spirituality with traditional Judaism is both so inspired and so simple that I'm amazed it has been done before, especially in the Bay Area. I'm sure this organization will grow exponentially in the near future and I look forward to being a part of it.

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

feeling so much more connected to my community, my faith, and my higher self.

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

Expand it outside its exisiting community

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

meeting the wonderful people and learning more about Judaism and social action (Tikkun Olam)

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

Truly inspiring. A great mix of professional, spiritual, and scholarly people who are a lot of fun and truly passionate about what they do. Also a very inclusive and open-minded group.

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

Galvanize the international Jewish populaton to promote well-being and greater connection among Jews and their communities.

Ways to make it better...

I had known more about Judaism. I need to read up on the songs and prayers so that I can follow along better. But I'm learning a lot and I love it!

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

Fundraising: they need more resources and staff support as their key leaders are working very hard without any compensation

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

They could consider a multi-tiered pricing system whereby some people pay premium prices to allow other to participate at a discount.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

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 takes Jewish practice and tradition from the urban envirionment back to where it all got started. On the land. The organization is teaching families and individuals about the importance of how we can live in closer connection with the earth and about the importance of caring for creation.

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

Some of the most warm and welcoming people i've met in years. Their kindness and generosity makes these events wonderful.

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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