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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Wilderness Torah

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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

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wilderness Torah is rekindling the spark in people's souls by bringing them together (summer camp style), excavating meaning from Jewish rituals, and doing so by weaving it all together with nature/the land. The leaders are modeling a new, old way of living from the inside out. Started by a group of friends who haled from all over the US and met in the Bay Area, they found the things in common that make them feel connected and carved a place within Judaism to shofar this love to others. They continue to organize themselves and their ever-expanding community to unearth the most basic, delicious things about being human on this planet and being Jewish.

Wendy Kenin

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wilderness Torah is filling the Jewish need for rooted spiritual connection with the Earth. While overall modern society in general has fragmented humanity's connection to the earth, most faith and cultural traditions do contain within them understanding, teachings, and practices that help restore that innate connection. Wilderness Torah is perhaps the best functioning model at the forefront of Jewish efforts to breathe continuity to our ancestral indigenous experience.