Sukkot In-Gathering

The Harvest Rain Dance

October 20, 2019

Registration Now Open



On the seventh day and culmination of the festival of Sukkot, join Wilderness Torah as we celebrate Hoshana Raba (the Great Pleading). Hoshanot are pleading liturgical poems we recite during Sukkot to call on Spirit to send rain during the winter months. Jewish communities all over the world, recite these prayers and perform hakafot (circles), waving willow branches toward the earth to invoke the waters.

Join us as we rejoice as a community and give gratitude to the earth and Spirit for a blessed year and the coming rains.

Save the Date: Sunday, October 20, 2019
Time: 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
Location: Tilden Park, Berkeley, CA (exact site shared upon registration)

What To Expect

Our Sukkot In-Gathering celebration will be a daylong event filled with fun for the whole family! Before we begin our Hoshana Raba Rain Ritual we’ll have the morning and afternoon to ready ourselves. There will be many activities to prepare our minds, bodies, and souls.

Activities likely to be included are: Making your own lulav, learning music for the ritual, creating rain dance regalia, diving into a Sukkot text study, and earth-based crafts.  There will be something for everyone. Kids join in their own village fun and will craft, play, and much, much more!

Hoshana Raba Daylong Celebration and Rain Prayer Ritual:

  • Fun Sukkot crafting and learning
  • Pray for rain & celebrate the harvest
  • Gather together in community!

What Sukkot 2018 Participants Are Saying

“The Hoshanah Rabah rain ritual with Wilderness Torah felt so important, so sacred, so integral to Sukkot and the High Holidays and Jewish experience, I couldn’t believe it was only the first time I was experiencing it. So moving to feel connected to the earth, water, trees, and community (past, present, and future) in this ancient yet timely way.”

Sukkot Participant

“Wilderness Torah is authentically Jewish and authentically modern — it’s full of real people who are really trying to explore and express some of life’s deepest themes.”

Sukkot Participant

“Wilderness Torah continues to experiment with new celebrations of familiar holidays that are more authentic to both our ancient traditions and our current longings to reconnect with nature.”

Sukkot Participant


Join Us!


Registration Fees

  • Early bird $36 (through Aug 31)
  • $48 for adults
  • $25 for teens ages 11–17
  • $15 for youth ages 4–10
  • Free for tots ages 0–3
  • HELP SOMEONE ATTEND: Choose an $88 Adult ticket,  which includes a $40 tax-deductible donation

Your registration is not complete until you have paid, ensuring you a spot at the event. Unpaid registrations will be canceled after 48 hours.


Financial Need: We offer Avodah (work-trade) for a discount. (see below section)

Families enrolled in B’hootz, B’naiture, or Shomrim 2019–2020: We offer 25% off for families enrolled in B’hootz, B’naiture, or Shomrim 2019–2020. Please submit this form to request this discount. (Not applicable combined with early-bird discount)

Cancellation: Registration is nonrefundable. Please see our cancellation policy for more information.

Avodah (work exchange) Program

Please read below for information about our Avodah Program and fill out an application.

We are now accepting Avodah applications on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Avodah fills quickly. Read the position descriptions below and apply early for greatest choice of positions.

Avodah is intended for those who want to serve and have financial need. If you have financial need and are unable to do Avodah, (due to physical limitation or childcare, etc.) please contact us for special arrangements.

IMPORTANT: Each Avodah role is integral to the health of the whole system. The hours you contribute with Avodah serve as payment for the event. If you are absent or late for your shifts, or you do not arrive by the agreed-upon time, your absence affects many others. Therefore, if you do not fulfill your agreed hours, we will ask you to pay the difference after the festival at the rate of $20 per hour.

CANCELLATION: If you register for your Avodah position and then cancel after Friday October 11, you will be required to pay the lowest adult registration fee and will not be allowed to participate in Avodah at future events. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for emergency situations.

Avodah is an opportunity for folks to help create the village, and is a great way to save money, meet new friends, and play an important role of service at the festival.

Each Avodah role is integral to the health of the whole system. Please read through our Avodah Terms & Conditions before applying for Avodah.

FULL AVODAH for 3 Hours of work ($5 ticket)

All Shifts are FULL Avodah (3 hours). For this event, there are no HALF AVODAH tickets available.

Loading the Truck Friday, Oct. 18th 1–4 pm

Everything that is part of our village is transported in a big truck, loaded at our storage in West Berkeley. This position allows you the freedom to enjoy the festival without working during the event!

Setup Sunday, Oct. 20th 8–9:30 am

We will be getting ready for the holiday, including unloading the truck, setting up the site, decorating and beautifying the space. Help build the space so the community can fill it!

Welcoming Sunday, Oct. 20th 9–10:30 am

Be part of our rockin’ welcoming team! Check people in, help with orientation, and assist people with gear setup if needed.

Breakdown  Sunday, Oct. 20th 5:30-7:00 pm

Help break down, clean up the village, and pack the truck after the event. Good organizers encouraged!

Children’s Mentor Sunday, Oct. 20th

We are looking for friendly people to work with our children for a few designated times during the event. You must have experience working with young people ages 5+, ideally in an outdoor, experiential nature context and/or in a Jewish context.

Unloading the Truck Mon, Oct. 21, 9:30 am–12:00

Everything that is part of our village is transported in a big truck, unloaded at our storage in North Oakland. This position allows you the freedom to enjoy the festival without working during the event!

Applications Now Open For Avodah



10:00–10:30 am Arrival & Welcome
10:30–11:00 am Opening Circle
11:15–12:45 pm Morning Activities and Crafts
Special Programming for Tots, Children & Teens (up to age 13)
12:45–1:45 pm Picnic Lunch (bring your own)
Optional Sharing Circle Discussions
2:00–3:35 pm Afternoon Activities and Crafts
Additional Activity Stations for Tots, Children & Teens (ages 0–13)
3:30–5:00 pm Hoshana Raba Rain Ritual

Our Sukkot In-Gathering will be a fun-filled day for the whole family! In the morning and early afternoon there will be many activities from crafting to music, all of which will help us prepare for the rain ritual later in the day.

A list of activities and offerings for this year’s Sukkot celebration day will be COMING SOON

See Last Year’s Offerings for a glimpse into the kind of activities that might be included:

  • Create a Water Vessel Bowl from a Dried Gourd
  • Moroccan Lantern Making
  • Native Lulav Making
  • Make a Netted Water Bottle Holder
  • The Qualities of Water Embodied Teaching
  • Earth Based Judaism Text Study

Everyone gathers together to eat a picnic lunch (bring your own lunch).

You are invited to eat lunch with friends or join an optional sharing circle. These circles are informal discussion groups around a specific topic and are a great way to meet people with similar interests. Among the many interesting circles will be a circle for participants new to Wilderness Torah.

We will gather as a community to celebrate and pray for rain. We will dance with our willow branches. We will perform nissuch ha-mayim, a pouring of the water on our altar to invoke the waters in remembrance of the Temple rain ritual that happened each year on Sukkot.


Date: Sunday, October 20

Time: 10:30 am – 5:00 pm

Our Sukkot In-Gathering will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2019. Welcoming opens at 10:00 am. Please arrive with enough time to park and settle in. The festival will begin at 10:30 am and end at 5:00 pm.

We will be holding the daylong festival in Tilden Park, Berkeley, California. We will spend all of our time outside and on the land. Be prepared to dress in layers so that you can adjust easily to changing temperatures. Bring a hat if it is sunny.

Our Sukkot In-Gathering festival will be held in Tilden Park, Berkeley. You will receive detailed driving directions in a confirmation email when you register for the festival, as well as a link to carpool signup.

This is an outdoor venue and is not ADA approved. The area where our Rain Ritual will take place is approximately 80 feet from the paved parking lot, down a sloped mulched path. The activities are around similar mulched uneven ground.

  • We will meet rain or shine. Our ritual will take place in a sunny grove where it could be hot.
  • Please bring a bag lunch and any utensils you’ll need.
  • We will be seated on the ground for some activities, so consider bringing a blanket to sit on or an easy-to-carry chair if sitting on the ground is uncomfortable for you.
There is plenty of fresh, potable water. Please bring a water bottle so you can stay hydrated.

We do not provide communal garbage, recycling, or compost bins. Please take out what you bring in!

More questions? Check out our FAQs

This program is supported in-part by JCF.