RSVP TODAY to attend an INFO SESSION on AUGUST 23 (Berkeley)




Wilderness Coming-of-Age Journey

Begin in 6th or 7th Grade

Experience a one-of-a-kind Jewish rite of passage without walls: unplug, connect and grow with us as you navigate your child’s middle school years.

B’naiture is our award-winning, two-year experiential program for girls and boys entering 6th or 7th grade that explores the transition from childhood to adolescence through deep nature connection and Jewish wisdom.

This program both supplements traditional B’nai Mitzvah education and serves families who do not choose to undertake traditional B’nai Mitzvah training. We welcome people of all backgrounds including Jews, non-Jews, interfaith families, LGBTQ families, and people of color to join our vibrant, unique community.

Dates: Our next cohort runs October 2017 – May 2019

Location: East Bay, with fall and spring camping trips in the South Bay

REGISTRATION FOR 2017 IS NOW OPEN. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis until September 26, 2017.

PLEASE NOTE: Girls cohort is almost full! Once the program is full, additional applicants will be added to the waiting list.




We offer info sessions on a regular basis. RSVP for the East Bay B'hootz & B'naiture Info Session on Wednesday, August 23 from 6–7:30 in Berkeley. Information sessions are family friendly and include holiday-themed celebrations and activities. Please register to attend a session and/or contact youth@wildernesstorah.org for more information'.

The B’naiture Experience

This groundbreaking program weaves Jewish teachings, story, and song with personal challenges, outdoor skills, mentorship, peer group community building, and nature awareness activities to provide an embodied way for youth to explore coming-of-age. Your child will join a tribe of middle-schoolers on a two-year journey into adolescence. Along the way, they will gain insights about life, relationships, and Judaism, while developing a deep connection with local ecology. Parents are included in the experience, with regular check-in’s and special programming to support the whole family through this rich, challenging, transitional time.

Each School Year B’naiture Includes

(Please see our schedule for specific times and dates)
  • Three Camping Trips: In fall, winter, and spring we gather for several days in beautiful wilderness locations to celebrate Shabbat, camp out under the stars, connect to nature, learn wilderness and crafting skills, and build stronger relationships. Parents join us for the fall weekend, and for the final day of our spring trip to celebrate each season’s completion.
  • Sunday Wilderness Days: Six Sundays throughout the season B’naiture meets in the East Bay Hills for a full day (10:30 am – 4:30 pm) of Jewish nature immersion. Each day includes deep nature connection, wilderness skill building, crafting, and embodied learning that draws from the rhythms of the Hebrew calendar and the stories and wisdom of the Torah while incrementally preparing youth for the final solo rite of passage.
  • Wednesday Evening Fire Circles: Six Wednesdays throughout the season, B’naiture boys and girls cohorts gather in back yards in the East Bay after school (5:00pm-8:00pm) to practice fire skills, enjoy dinner around a fire, share in council on topics relevant to growing into their teen years, and explore seasonal Jewish teachings and crafts based on the Hebrew month, holidays, and Torah stories.
  • Parent’s Program: Cultivating family community and involving parents in the experience is essential to B’naiture. The parent/guardian track begins on the fall camping trip, which parents are highly encouraged to attend, and continues throughout the season with three Wednesday evening meetings concurrent with the youth fire circles. The parent track teaches basic concepts in earth-based Judaism and explores how to best support adolescents during this critical rite-of-passage time. For more information, read Bringing Parents Along – A key to Life Centered Education.
  • Final Rite-of-Passage Experience: B’naiture is centered on our culminating challenge: a one-night fire tending solo that marks entrance into teen years. The second years spend their time preparing for their solo fires on all levels, both building fire skills and readying themselves emotionally and spiritually for what lies ahead. On our final weekend together, elders, teens, and mentors send them off to tend a central fire through the night and welcome them home in the morning. They return to a day of rest culminating in a celebratory ceremony with their families.


B’naiture Wins National Prize!

We are delighted to announce that B’naiture is one of six national winners of the Lippman Kanfer Prize for Applied Jewish Wisdom, recognizing programs that help people apply Jewish wisdom to live better lives and shape a better world.

“Wilderness Torah’s B’naiture program connects participants to deep Jewish wisdom to help them navigate the real issues facing them in adolescence. Their two-year journey is an excellent beginning to, rather than culmination of, their Jewish education in a way that positions Judaism as a source of guidance and support throughout their lives.” Aaron Dorfman, President of Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah


This groundbreaking program weaves Jewish teachings, story, and song with personal challenges, outdoor skills, non-parental mentorship, peer group community building, and nature awareness activities to provide an embodied way for youth to explore coming-of-age.

Imagine your child joining peers for the journey into adolescence, making personal discoveries about life, relationships, and Judaism, while honoring the land they live on. Imagine being supported in a special parent program to support your child on this journey.

B’naiture in the Press

Follow the links below for more details on what to expect in B’naiture!


Wilderness Torah has given a sense of balance to my son’s bar mitzvah process. Exposure to the spirituality of nature and an expression of holiness beyond the walls of the synagogue, classroom, or formal teaching format, has provided him with a richer meaning to the concept of coming-of-age.
Alon Shalev, B’naiture parent 2010–2012 + 2014–2016