May 19–20, 2018


Shavuot (“weeks”) is a special holiday that culminates the seven weeks of counting and spiritual refinement that begins at Passover. On Shavuot, we remember the great Revelation where Moses receives the Torah on Mount Sinai. On this day each year, we return to the vibration of revelation by immersing ourselves by studying the wisdom of our sages. Wilderness Torah also endeavors to take us into the experience of that revelation vibration by gathering together around a fire.

For the fourth year in a row, Wilderness Torah will host a special fire at the JCC East Bay for their Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, an all-night learning journey. In the JCC courtyard, with our all-night fire, we will explore revelation through singing, study, movement, and connecting to ancient flames. Teachers will be announced soon.

Stay for an hour, or stay until dawn! This event is free and open to the public.

Date: May 19–20, 2018

Time: 7PM – 7AM

Location: JCC East Bay | 1414 Walnut St. Berkeley

Cost: Free

Below you’ll find the program Wilderness Torah will be offering around an all night fire in the courtyard of the JCC East Bay.

Explore how Wilderness Torah awakens earth-based Jewish ritual to open pathways of direct spiritual experience. Sacred fire, prayers for rain, encounters with God alone in the wilderness are at the heart of ancient Jewish practice – we find them in our texts, and now we are awakening them in real practice. Come explore the texts, hear stories of how we awaken these rituals, and engage in ceremony together by the fire.

Come join Wilderness Torah for music and song as we welcome in chag around a fire. We will gather in song and prayer with prayer leaders, musicians, and community members of the Wilderness Torah community.

Presented by the JCC East Bay in the auditorium.

On Shavuot we celebrate the marriage of heaven and earth. The Zohar, 12th century mystical opus, describes the cosmic dance between us and the divine feminine and masculine as we engage in all-night Torah study. We are forever changed by our interactions in the rarefied realm of Shekhina and The Holy One of Blessing. Let’s delve into the Zohar’s description of the esoteric happenings on this eve of Shavuot. ​

Rabbi SaraLeya Schley, ordained in 2005 by the ALEPH-Jewish Renewal Ordination Program, is currently associated with Wilderness Torah, Chochmat HaLev, Kol HaEmek and the Shalom Hartman Institute. Her passions are prayer and the study of Hebrew mystical texts.

Open to the wisdom of the Torah that is being revealed to you from within your being in this experiential movement and body-based journey through the Sacred Sefirot, the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. Explore and embody the qualities of the seven weeks leading up to Shavuot: Chesed (Lovingkindness), Gevurah (Strength), Tiferet (Balance), Netzach (Endurance), Hod (Humility), Yesod (Connection), and Malchut (Manifestation).

While much of the biblical tales highlight male heroes there are lessons to be learned from women as well. Come dive into some lesser known tales about females throughout the bible and see what hidden messages their stories and teachings reveal. This will be an interactive, discussion + text based learning. All voices, identities, and view points are welcome.

Explore the great conversation on the ancient art of sacred taking and resource usage and see how it might apply today to things like plastic usage and beyond. We will use Rabbi Pesach Dahvid Stadlin’s Kuntrus (booklet) on Bal Tashchit to study the vast halachik sources of this most urgently needed mitzvah.

Our sages teach that l’shan hara, negative talk or ‘evil tongue’ is the cause for numerous tragedies and afflictions of people throughout time. Similarly, the Torah and Talmud are replete with descriptions of the incredible, life-giving, creative power of speech; indeed God ‘created the world in God’s word’. Shomer l’shon or ‘guarding the tongue’ is such an important subject that an entire book was written about its laws. Why is the creative and destructive power of speech so emphasized in the Jewish tradition? We will explore this topic both intellectually and experientially, consider the power of speech in our own lives, and dip into some of the laws of shomer l’shon.
Come hear and share stories, and offer your prayers around the fire.

Morning prayers as we tend the last remaining coals and the dawn bird song begins.

Close the circle with a final service to welcome the day.


I had just moved to the Bay Area when I attended Wilderness Torah’s 2016 Shavuot fire. I felt so welcomed and impressed by the sincerity and kindness of all who attended. Powerful and personal stories were shared, connections were made amongst people of all ages, and I received valuable insights and a sense of belonging, even though I knew no one coming in. This community is doing something very special and I heartily encourage anyone interested to come!
Shavuot 2016 Participant