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Nonprofit Overview

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.

Geographic areas served: California and beyond

Programs: Passover in the Desert, Sukkot on the Farm, Tu B'Shvat in the Redwoods, community programs including Kabbalat Shabbat services with Urban Adamah, and programs for youth ages 5 through 18.

Community Stories

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Wilderness Torah planted seeds in my life, which are germinating~ sending down roots, & sending up tender shoots. The impact has been undeniable. I am biking more, eating with a much deeper connection with my food, the land & the farmers, joining a CSA, and developing a clearer sense of how I can integrate ecopsychology into my psychotherapy practice. I have been longing for years to connect with the earth based wisdom within our tradition. It was a pleasure to be in the company of so many Jews who felt the same. Wilderness Torah is meeting a deep and very timely longing. The world can't wait~ we need inspired and joyful ways to reconnect with the earth. It's the only thing that will help us save our home and ourselves.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The most recent Wilderness Torah event I attended I can honestly say was transformational. Two weeks ago I spent four days building and living in community with a tribe of 115 people who came together to celebrate one of the biggest Jewish festivals on our calendar. We gathered with the intention of sharing and connecting with each other and the land. It was a remarkable experience for our times to be living in a community in which so much love, harmony and good faith prevailed, a far cry from the world that existed outside our sacred space. I left with a feeling of understanding what it really means to be connected to other people and the natural world. This is a very positive and powerful feeling to bring back into greater society and I truely believe it has the ability to be transformational.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

These guys are totally great. I just spent Succot with the Wilderness Torah group on the farm - great people, great programming, great food, great energy, great ruach. :-))) Nigel

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wilderness Torah is a cutting edge Jewish organization. Notice I did not say a "jewish environmental" organization because Wilderness Torah seeks to end the distinction between the two terms. Wilderness Torah events and activities demonstrate that being Jewish is inextricably linked to "environmentalism", "locavorism", "community building", and earth-based spirituality because this tradition (so long buried in its wonderful texts) emanates from pastoral/agricultural tribes that lived close to their land after they first wandered in a "wilderness". By taking participants to a farm (for sukkot) the desert (for Pesach), or a mountaintop (shavuot), Wilderness Torah reestablishes the land (ha aretz) and the wilderness (ba midbar) as central teachers in the Jewish spiritual tradition. Wilderness Torah uncovers the ancient connections between holy days (chagim)and the land-based context in which they evolved (while completely respecting the written rabbinic tradition) and re-roots Judaism in its connection to place, community, self, and spirit. Events focus on the connection between land/place/wilderness and spirituality, including the tenuous nature of all that we are given (e.g., food and shelter). By emphasizing the central role of community in surviving and thriving spiritually, Wilderness Torah is creating a cadre of Jews who are enthusiastic about their mystical tradition, their community, and environmental sustainability.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have now attended three events with Wilderness Torah (two Sukkots, one Shavuot). I think this organization is doing a great job of appealing to those of us who are already involved in the Jewish community, and those who are not. Combining Judaism and the environment is a natural (see the success of Jewish summer camps) but it should not end when we are adults. I can't wait to see where this organization goes as it continues to grow. More communities need something like it!