Peninsula B’hootz Elements

Learn more about Shoreshim (grades 1–2), Etzim (grades 3–4),
and Mentors

AGE GROUP
PARENT PROGRAM
MEET THE MENTORS

Age Group

PENINSULA B’HOOTZ: GRADES K–4

Your child may begin their journey in B’hootz Shoreshim (Roots),
exploring through play and imagination the wonder of creation through a Jewish lens.

Your child can then progress into B’hootz Etzim (Trees),
gaining deeper knowledge of the relationship between Judaism and the cycles of nature while learning wilderness skills.

Shoreshim: Roots

For participants in grades 1–2. Nourish the roots of Jewish nature connection.

Shoreshim is an adventurous, creative, and playful program, full of imaginative storytelling, singing, and games that embody the Jewish lessons of each session.


Etzim: Trees

For youth in grades 3–4. Grow the branches and leaves of Jewish nature connection.

Etzim brings Jewish concepts to life by connecting mind, heart, and body through adventure, hands-on skills like wild food processing, basketry, and whittling, tracking, and nature connection skills.


Parent Program

Parents join the nature-connection journey too! Each child’s experience at B’hootz improves when parents get involved.

The parent program is a great way to stay connected to your child’s journey in B’hootz! Parents are invited to join at key points throughout the season.

Sample Schedule

B’hootz days are active and engaging. They provide opportunities for youth to experience Judaism as vibrant, nature-connected, relevant and fun.

Check out a sample schedule of what your child might experience as we celebrate Passover in B’hootz:

  • 10:00 am-10:20 am: Arrival Activities
    – Practice Fire by Friction
    – Play Salmon, Bear, Mosquito — a kid favorite
  • 10:20 am-10:30 am: Opening Circle
    – Sing Modeh Ani (Jewish gratitude prayer) and enjoy a Redwood Theater Passover performance
  • 10:30 am-11:30 am: Nature Connection- Passover Adventures
    – Shoreshim: Exodus hike and scavenger hunt
    – Etzim: Passover Seder (traditonal ordered ceremony) Relay Race
  • 11:30 am -12:00 pm: Lunch
  • 12:00 pm- 12:45 pm: Wilderness Skills- Passover Crafts
    – Shoreshim: Make Matzah over a fire
    – Etzim: Whittle Walking Sticks
  • 12:45 pm- 1:00 pm: Closing Circle
    – Share stories about the day
    – Bless and eat the Matzah and close with a song: Od Yavo Shalom (Jewish prayer for peace)
bhootz-2017-schedule

Meet the Mentors

Learn more about some of our amazing mentors who bring Judaism to life with the seasons!

Jonathan Furst
Jonathan FurstEtzim Lead Mentor
Jonathan is an outdoor educator, congregational leader, and part-time shepherd. Since childhood, his deepest religious experiences have occurred outdoors. He delights in sharing the spiritual and wilderness practices that have transformed his life.

For more than ten years Jonathan has taught nature awareness classes in schools, family camps, and other venues throughout the Bay Area. He also serves as the maggid (spiritual facilitator/storyteller) for Keneset HaLev in San Francisco. He is a co-counselor, a teacher in the Reclaiming earth-based spiritual tradition, and leader of interfaith kirtans. He lives on a permaculture farm in Cazadero and gladly travels down for the opportunity to teach others how to reintegrate into the wild community.

Mathew Harmon
Mathew HarmonShoreshim Mentor
Mathew is a musician, educator, and naturalist from Santa Cruz, California. He loves spending time in nature, surfing, and working on music with his many musical projects, and is very excited to join the B’hootz team this year!

Mathew has worked with children in various capacities, both as a mentor for the Wild Child Outdoor School and currently as a mentor for autistic teens. Mathew is a passionate music teacher with an AA in Music from Cabrillo College and is inspired by traditional Jewish music and nigunim (wordless melodies). He brings songs, dances, and joyful musicality to his work with B’hootz. Mathew has always been closely connected with the earth and receives immense inspiration from the natural world. He has recently deepened his scope of Jewish Nature education with the Wilderness Torah Training institute and is thrilled to share his love of the outdoors with young people.

Becca Heisler
Becca HeislerPeninsula B'hootz Mentor
Becca is Wilderness Torah’s second JOFEE Fellow and Youth Program Associate. Originally from Chicago, she discovered her passion for the intersection of Judaism and nature exploration at OSRUI, a Jewish camp in Wisconsin.

Becca graduated from Tufts with degrees in Environmental Studies and Mathematics. Outside of class, she led hiking trips and worked to cultivate dynamic Jewish community. The Urban Adamah fellowship initially brought her to the West Coast, and Becca is incredibly grateful for the chance to continue her time in the Bay bringing so many of her passions together while working for Wilderness Torah.

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