Neshama Quest (Ages 18+)

Adult Trip (Ages 18+): Wednesday, June 19 – Monday, June 24, 2024
Young Adult Trip (Ages 18-28): Tuesday July 30 – Monday, August 5, 2024

Neshama Quest is a backpacking journey through the California wilderness. You will be safely led through a transformational experience by our well-trained Jewish wilderness guides.

This year we are hosting 2 trips:

Adult Trip (Ages 18+): June 19 – 24, 2024
Registration now open! Register here.

  • Designed for adults ages 18 and over, who desire a moderately challenging wilderness experience. 
  • We will hike ~6 miles to a beautiful meadow where we will base camp.
  • The focus of the trip is an overnight solo experience, held in ritual.
  • Designed for marking life transitions, clarifying vision and goals and getting resourced.
  • Celebrate Shabbat in community.

Young Adult Trip (Ages 18–28): July 30 – August 5, 2024
Registration opens soon. Sign up to receive updates.

  • Designed for adults ages 18-28 who desire a more challenging wilderness experience.
  • Hike 3-10 miles a day to a new area most days.
  • Opportunity for an extended solo experience.
  • Connect with like-minded young adults.
  • Explore and celebrate your Jewish identity.

Hear From Previous Neshama Quest Participants

Registration

Fees & Financial Accessiblity

Neshama Quest for Adults (Ages 18+)

  • Refer-a-friend: $1500 ($100 refund for each friend who registers. They must state your name on their registration form)
  • Regular Fee: $1600

Neshama Quest for Young Adults (Ages 18–28)

  • Refer-a-friend: $1700 ($100 refund for each friend who registers. They must state your name on their registration form)
  • Regular Fee: $1800

Limited scholarships are available. Please contact us if you are in need of a scholarship.

Questions about refunds?
Please read our official Cancellation Policy.

Daily Itinerary

Sample Itineraries

Click the + to see more.

  • Day 1: Drive to the trailhead and hike into the beautiful wilderness, make it to camp before dinner
  • Day 2: Arrive at our beautiful base camp in a stunning mountain meadow, Swim, explore, make new friends.
  • Day 3: Spend the day preparing for your solo-journey. Celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat with music in the wilderness and set out for your solo-journey
  • Day 4: Solo time in timeless Shabbat in wilderness. Supported by your experienced guides. End the day in community marking the end of Shabbat with Havdalah. For more info on the solo journey, see our FAQ.
  • Day 5: Spend the day integrating your solo-journey in community with other participants and your guides, take walks, swim, reflect and rest.
  • Day 6: Pack up camp, hike out, and head home to share stories with loved ones

This program is designed for adults (18+) who desire a moderately challenging wilderness experience. You will hike ~6 miles to a beautiful meadow to  base camp.

  • Day 1: Drive to the trailhead and get ready for our adventure.
  • Day 2: Hike into the wilderness, learn new skills, swim, explore, and make new friends. 
  • Day 3: Travel further and higher to our next campsite, swim some more, and prepare for the peak attempt.
  • Day 4: Climb a mountain peak. Experience “Solo” time.  Enjoy Kabbalat Shabbat in the wilderness!
  • Day 5: Shabbat in the wilderness! Music, more swimming, exploring and games – rest, rejuvenation and wonder.
  • Day 6: Pack up camp and start heading back, but not before we make it to another gorgeous wilderness campsite.
  • Day 7: Pack up camp, hike out, and head home to share stories with friends and family.

This program is designed for young adults (18-28) who desire a more challenging wilderness experience. You will hike 3-10 miles a day to a new area most days.

Meet Your Guides

Neshama Quest for Adults (18+)

Itamar Cohn

Joshua “Ooah” Reitzenstein

Neshama Quest for Young Adults (18-28)

Your leaders will be announced soon.

FAQ

A: The main differences between the two trips include:

  • Different date options to choose from based on your summer schedule. 
  • Opportunity for younger adults (ages 18-28) to connect more intimately with peer community.
  • The trip for adults of any age is less strenuous in its hiking, covering about 6 miles to arrive at a single base camp. 
  • The trip for young adults is a more challenging backpacking experience, covering 3-10 miles per day as it establishes a new camp most nights.

A: This program is open to adults of all ages and identities. You do not have to be Jewish to attend. Wilderness Torah creates a pluralistic community for participants across the spectrum of religious observance. 

Jews, people with other faiths and backgrounds, interfaith couples and families, those who identify as LGBTQIA+, People of Color, and anyone who wants to participate are welcome to join in building village together. 

We do not tolerate any forms of bigotry or discrimination. We invite you to come with an open mind, a willing heart, and the permission to openly share your needs. We are committed to continuously working to dismantle our own biases towards perpetuating systems of oppression. We encourage your feedback on how we can continue to be more inclusive to all. 

Wilderness Torah focuses on the earth-based aspects of Jewish tradition, and creates community that supports participants in cultivating meaningful, personal relationships with Judaism.

 We support the observance of Jewish law, such as Shabbat and kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), and provide our diverse community with many options for religious observance.

A: Solo journeys into the desert are at the core of Judaism. Our ancestors received much inspiration alone in the desert, connecting directly to the Source. There, alone, we can begin to recover our ancient wildness and heal aspects of our ancestral lineage.

A wilderness solo can mark life passages, support one’s healing, help one connect to spirit and nature, and help clarify one’s purpose and life’s big questions.

Participants are invited to embark on a solo-journey that feels most needed for them. We will provide options for different levels of comfortability: could be anything from approximately 2 hours to 12 hours. For more information on this email info@wildernesstorah.org

A: You will hiking between 5-7 miles to and from the trailhead on back-country terrain. You must feel comfortable carrying their own backpacks and exerting themselves physically at altitude. Suggested experience: beginner to intermediate backcountry hiking.

A. You will be out in the wilderness, so come prepared with everything you need.

Daytime weather can be hot and dry; evening weather can be cold and moist; it could rain. Bring warm layers, and clothes that protect you from the sun.

Here is a copy of the Packing List.

A: Wilderness Torah is a drug and alcohol-free environment. Our primary goals are to build connections among ourselves, community, earth, and Spirit. We sometimes provide a modest amount of wine for ritual purposes.

A. There will be no public restrooms or outhouses while backpacking. Instructions for preparing your kit to go to the bathroom in the wilderness will be provided in your welcome email after you complete your registration.

Here is our cancellation Policy:

  • 8 weeks or more before the event: You can receive a full refund minus a $100 non-refundable deposit.
  • 4-8 weeks before the event: You can receive 50% of fees minus $100 non-refundable deposit if no one is on the waiting list. If someone is on the waiting list and can take your spot, you will receive an 80% refund, minus $100 non-refundable deposit
  • 4 weeks and under: No refunds available.

* Under exceptional circumstances, we will consider offering credit for a future Wilderness Torah program.

A: You should bring 2-3 liters of drinking water for the start of the trailhead. For the remainder of our water needs, we will filter water for drinking and using filtered or boiled water for cooking in the backcountry. Communal dispensers will not be available, you must bring your own drinking vessel.

A.  Wilderness Torah will provide all food and drinks for the duration of the trip. If you want something extra special with you, feel free to bring extra treats if desired such as: nuts, trail mix, dried fruit, jerky, energy bars/granola bars, crackers, hard cheese (that will stay good unrefrigerated).

Staff and participants will share in the responsibilities of cooking group meals together. Individuals will clean their personal dishes. There will be no group dishwashing buckets, etc.

All food served by Wilderness Torah is kosher, except for a few small exceptions. In making its food choices, Wilderness Torah prepares food according to the highest ethical standards, including kosher, local, organic, seasonal, humane, and socially just. Wilderness Torah prioritizes sourcing fresh, unprocessed foods, and when choosing processed or packaged foods, aims to purchase certified kosher foods. Wilderness Torah may at times prioritize certain values, such as local or organic, over kosher-certified. When such a choice is warranted, we will share such decisions openly, and a kosher option will be available. Example: We purchased local, homemade, organic bagels that were not kosher but we had kosher bread choices available.

Previous Neshama Quest Photos