Wilderness Torah

Rating: 4.95 stars   37 reviews

Issues:

Location: 2095 Rose St. Suite 202 Berkeley CA 94709 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.
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.
2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

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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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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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

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.

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?

2009-9-01

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

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.

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?

2009-10-01

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

the experience of Shavuot on the Mountain

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

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?

2009-5-01

 
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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  

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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