About Passover in the Desert
About the Festival
Read below for program highlights and general information about the festival.
Step into the Passover Story! Just like the ancient ones, we go to the desert wilderness to remember and recover our ancient wild nature. Just as the ancients found freedom from the narrows of slavery in the wilderness, we can find freedom from the narrowness in our lives today.
The Hebrew ancestors departed the narrow places that enslaved them and began a long journey towards freedom. When they crossed the Red Sea, their situation had radically shifted. Although their hardships were not diminished in many ways, they were no longer an enslaved people. This perspective of a newfound collective freedom in the wilderness ignited a new relationship to self, place, community, and spirit. As we gather in the final stages of the holiday, we will get a taste of the messianic days — days that herald the perfection that comes with a shift in consciousness and the responsibility that follows it.
Our village in the desert embodies simplicity, connection, tribe, and transformation. Our ancestors lived in tight-knit communities where people of all ages were in deep relationship with themselves, each other, and the land. We activate these ancient connections through prayer, ceremony, food, celebration, and honoring life’s passages together.
- Music, yoga, crafts, storytelling, desert hikes, sacred fire, and ancient skills
- Children and Teen programs
Solo journeys into the desert are at the core of ancient Judaism. Those who are called will embark on an overnight ceremony supported by the village to pray and fast alone, and recover your ancient wildness. Learn More…
At Passover in the Desert, teens (ages 11–17) are invited on a teen passage: a remote wilderness journey in the nearby oasis, Surprise Canyon. Teens will have their own tribe on this wilderness adventure and throughout the festival. Learn More…
Wilderness Torah provides water for communal drinking and cooking purposes (you only need to bring 1-2 gallons for personal use at your tent). Your registration fee includes the cost for this essential village resource.
Building the Village
Read below to learn how we build our village together during the festival and how you can be an active participant.
Tribes help people get to know each other and deepen their festival experience in the comfort of a smaller group. Each tribe has a Rosh (head) who will guide the tribe. Roshim (plural of Rosh), Wilderness Torah staff, and members of the Village Planning Council are all available to support you through your experience. Your Rosh is a contact for you throughout the festival, and meets daily with the Village Council to share information and feedback from participants.
There will be a designated safety crew comprised of nurses, doctors, and people who are trained in Wilderness First Aid and as Wilderness First Responders. Wilderness Torah will provide a comprehensive first aid kit on site for emergencies. The kit will be located at the Healing Hut.
We will also have a satellite phone on site for emergencies only. The nearest hospital is Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, 53 miles (90-minute drive) from the site.
Dehydration: The air is very dry. Even if you don’t feel hot, dry, or thirsty, it’s important to KEEP DRINKING WATER; at least 1 gallon per day. The hearth will also provide electrolyte powder for you to add to your water. Use it!
Hygiene: Hand-washing is very important! For the safety of everyone, please wash your hands EVERY time AFTER toileting, BEFORE entering the kitchen/food areas, and BEFORE every meal.
Uneven Terrain (slips, trips, and falls): Take a breath, stay aware, and slow down — that’s what we’re here for.
Sharp Cacti: There are not many cacti at our site, but it is the desert, so they are around. Be aware of many varieties and sizes.
Low Visibility at Night: Bring a flashlight and/or headlamp and extra batteries.
Weather: Bring warm layers and bedding (preferably not cotton, as it retains moisture). Tie down your gear so it doesn’t blow away in strong winds.
Remote Location: Plan to arrive in the daylight and bring everything you need with you.
Camping: Do not make camp in a dry wash. Flash floods develop quickly in the desert.
We build our village literally in the midbar (desert wilderness). Our village will be rustic, simple, beautiful and provide us with just what we need. Read below for information on communal spaces, water, and sanitation.
The Hearth maintains a separate kosher for Passover dishwashing area used only for the Wilderness Torah kitchen supplies. Those needing kosher dishwashing may use this are by special permission from the Hearth.
If you have homemade medicinal salves, tinctures or other herbal remedies that you would like to share with the community, the Healing Hut would be happy to put them out during the festival. If you make these products for sale, we will put out one of your cards so people can purchase them from you too. Just let the Healing Hut Coordinator know what product is yours when you arrive. If you would like it back at the end of the festival, please let them know.
About the Holiday
Read below for information on the holiday of Passover and its place in the yearly holiday cycle.
At Passover, Israel celebrated the ripening of barley, the first grain, by offering a special measure of barley called an omer. Passover begins the holy process of “counting the omer.” Between the second day of Passover (16th of Nisan) and the day before Shavuot (6th of Sivan), we undergo a 49-day spiritual accounting process. Counting the Omer follows our journey from liberation to the revelation we receive at Shavuot.
It is in the desert that we hear God’s voice, receive our sacred teachings, and undergo our deepest healing. The journeys of our ancestors who strode deep into the wilderness, Moses encountering the burning bush and Miriam finding the well of water that gave life to Israel as it began its wilderness journey, provide the inspiration for our own journey. When we journey to the desert wilderness for Passover, we too have Spirit to support us in the next step on our personal and communal paths.
Today, we draw from our ancestors’ wilderness journey. We make a pilgrimage, far from home, into unfamiliar surroundings to experience the holiday in its original desert context. Join us as we learn to tend our sacred fires together in this desert this spring!