October 8 — 9
Join the Wilderness Torah community in Sonoma County for an earth-based Yom Kippur journey of purification. We will gather on a farm near Sebastopol for a two-day retreat.
From Kol Nidre (opening Yom Kippur ritual) on Tuesday evening through Neilah (closing ceremony) on Wednesday night, we will tend and pray around a special sacred fire to engage in teshuvah (spiritual return) and prayer for purification on this deepest of Jewish days.
The fire on the altar in the Temple was tended continuously for centuries — one of the great, ancient sacred fires in human history. Upon that fire the ancestors made offerings to the Creator. This was particularly important on Yom Kippur for the special Avodah service. That fire was extinguished nearly 2,000 years ago. Today, we recall that fire by lighting a special fire for Yom Kippur, which makes the teshuvah of Yom Kippur particularly potent. Join us as we cleanse, release, and purify for the coming year with this innovative and transformational approach to Yom Kippur
- Multi-generational village in nature
- Traditional Yom Kippur liturgy integrated with innovative, embodied ritual
- Music, chanting, prayer, solo time on the land
- Spiritual guidance for meaningful teshuva (relational & spiritual return)
- Special 25-hour Yom Kippur sacred fire to support your prayer service
- Experiential youth programming during services
Dates: October 8—9, 2019
Location: Farm near Sebastopol, CA (directions provided upon registration)
My first event (Yom Kippur) with Wilderness Torah provided me with a bridge to cross. On the way I experience a profound healing in the part of my soul that has been searching for the tribe and embodied jewish community I expected to find when I came into this world. My jewish heart and connection to my ancestors has opened. I have found my home as a jew.
Kol Nidre under the stars, with the moon moving across the sky, was so beautiful.
The sacred fire is incredibly powerful and healing- tending it in the pre-dawn-sunrise hours (with my adult son) was an unexpected highlight of my time at Yom Kippur.
- $90 for Early Bird Adult (Through July 31)
- $120 for adults
- $80 for Locals (not sleeping on-site)
- $72 teens ages 13–17
- $54 for youth ages 4–12
- $0 for tots ages 0–3
- Help Someone Attend: Choose a $180 Adult ticket, which includes a $60 tax-deductible donation.
New This Year – Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur combo ticket: Save $40 for adult tickets when you register for both Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur (Register for Rosh Hashanah first, and you will receive a discount code in your confirmation email that will apply to your purchase of Yom Kippur tickets)
For those in need we are offering reduced fees available upon request. Request a discount code here prior to registering.
Are you unable to pay the discounted cost? If so, please submit this form to explain your financial need. (Please wait for a response before you register.)
Registration is non-refundable. 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. Yom Kippur is reasonably priced, with additional discounts and work-trade available to reduce cost further. Our pricing does not cover the full cost to produce the event. With this in mind, we ask that you consider your ability to pay before applying for Avodah.
5 Hours of work (Avodah ticket price $18)
Flyering: TBD (late July/early August)
Help spread the word about our High Holidays event by putting up posters in the East and North Bay. This position allows you the freedom to enjoy the holiday without working during the event. The position requires you have access to a car to drive to the designated locations.
Off-Site Pre-Event Hearth Prep: Monday, October 7
Help the Hearth (our kitchen) nourish the village by lending your chopping, prepping, serving, and cleaning skills. This position will be held in a private kitchen 1 day before the event. The exact location will be provided once you’ve been accepted for this position. This also allows you to enjoy the holiday without working during the event.
Setup: Tuesday, October 8
We will be getting ready for the holiday, including sprucing up our structures and putting up decorations. This position also allows you to enjoy the holiday without working during the event. We provide lunch during setup.
Hearth Setup: Tuesday, October 8
Help the Hearth (our kitchen) nourish the village by lending your chopping, prepping, serving, and cleaning skills. This position also allows you to enjoy the holiday without working during the event. We provide lunch during setup.
Welcoming: Tuesday, October 8
Be part of our rockin’ welcoming team! Check people in, help with orientation and assist people with gear setup if needed.
Parking Lead: Tuesday, October 8
Help people arrive in a good way. Be the first person to greet participants. Help orient folks to the land and get them parked tightly. Experience is great, but not necessary!
Hearth Helper: Tuesday, October 8 – Wednesday, October 9
Help the Hearth (kitchen) nourish the village by lending your chopping, prepping, serving, and cleaning and organizing skills. Arrival times vary depending on the length of the shift.
Children’s Mentor: Tuesday, October 8 – Wednesday, October 9
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.
Community Care: Tuesday, October 8– Wednesday, October 9
Support our Infrastructure team by helping refill our hand washing stations, spruce up the Tent of Meeting in between programming, and helping light our Sacred Fire. This position might take place partially during program hours, but also will allow you to enjoy most of the holiday celebration.
Breakdown: Wednesday, October 9
It takes a village to build a village, and also to break it down! This position may require some heavy lifting and includes taking apart our modular structures, lighting, decorations, hand-washing stations, and all program related gear to load back onto our U-haul.
Unloading the truck: Thursday, October 10
Help us unload the truck the day after Yom Kippur at our storage unit in West Berkeley. This position allows you freedom to enjoy the holiday without working during the event! Good organizers encouraged to apply.
Erev Yom Kippur: Tuesday, October 8
|2:30–5:30 pm||Rolling Arrivals|
|3:30–4:30 pm||Women’s Mikveh @ Salmon Creek (optional)|
|4:30–5:30 pm||Men’s Mikveh @ Salmon Creek (optional)|
|5:30–6:15 pm||Pre-fast Dinner|
|6:00 pm||Family Orientation|
|6:30–8:30 pm||Kol Nidre Services around the sacred fire|
|6:30 pm onward||Sacred Fire: Join the sacred fire anytime
during the night! Fire Tenders Needed.
Yom Kippur Day: Wednesday, October 9
|8:00-9:00 am||Morning Movement|
|10:00 am||Shacharit (Morning), Torah, Musaf (Additional)|
|5:00 pm||Mincha (Afternoon) including Jonah Torah study, with
embodied ritual including Vidui* & Hitbodedut**
|6:30 pm||Neilah (Closing)|
|9:00 pm||All-Party Departure|
*Vidui is the traditional Yom Kippur confessional, which we chant five times on Yom Kippur. After chanting the traditional Vidui the first time, we will embark on a journey of focusing Vidui in four worlds – ourselves, each other, the earth, and God.
**Hitbodedut is a chasidic tradition of going out into nature alone to prayer. During key moments of the service, we will invite you to go out alone to pour your heart out, making this Yom Kippur deeply cleansing
Our High Holidays are family friendly events and we encourage families to join! We cultivate a vibrant, intergenerational experience and believe that it truly does “take a village to raise a child.” We create an atmosphere where tots, children, and teens receive the support they need to find their unique place within community and enjoy the wonders of the holiday on the land.
Wilderness Torah Mentors provide an outdoor, inclusive and experiential program for kids to connect with the spirit of the High Holidays. Through nature connection games, embodied Jewish learning, and kid friendly ritual our young participants deepen their relationship to the Jewish New Year and share in the joys of being outside with new and old friends.
Parents, this is a community event! We welcome kids. We offer kids programming for ages 3–12 during Yom Kippur services. Teens ages 13+ are welcome to participate in the Yom Kippur services.
Please note that while we provide supervision and programming, all parents and guardians are responsible for knowing where their children and teens are at all times.
Contact us with any questions about our High Holiday programming. We hope to see your family in the North Bay!
We will be holding Yom Kippur at a farm retreat center near Sebastopol, California. This beautiful space is surrounded by a coastal redwood forest with mixed conifers, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitat. We will spend all of our time in prayer outside and on the land. Be prepared to dress in layers so that you can adjust easily to changing temperatures. Summer in coastal California can be sunny and hot or foggy and cold, with nighttime temperatures dropping significantly.
We will provide portable toilets and handwashing stations for everyone to use.
We provide a communal dishwashing area where you can clean and leave to dry your personal dishes after each meal. The Hearth (kitchen) maintains a separate kosher dishwashing area used only for the Wilderness Torah kitchen supplies. Those needing kosher dishwashing may use this area with special permission from the Hearth.
There are several options for where you can rest your head during the retreat.
Camping on the land: Your retreat ticket gives everyone the option to camp. Bring your own camping gear and anything that you need to be comfortable. Please review the packing list carefully. There is space in the parking area for RVs or campers.
Onsite Indoor Accommodations: For an additional fee there are also limited indoor accommodations onsite. There is a beautiful Victorian farmhouse on the retreat site which has a limited number of beds in shared rooms available **All inside accommodations include bedding and access to indoor bathrooms. To reserve yourself a bed please submit this form.
Offsite Accommodations: There are also many options for different hotels, motels, and inns in near Sebastopol and Occidental, CA.
Wilderness Torah will be providing dinner on Tuesday evening
*Please bring one potluck dish to share for Break-Fast Yom Kippur Wednesday night dinner. For potluck please bring only vegetarian, dairy, and/or fish. No meat please.
*If you have children, please plan on bringing ONE potluck dish for the whole group AND one kid meal potluck dish. Thank you!
We will not have our traditional snack station or beverage station available on Wednesday day, but will have a water station for those that need.
Wilderness Torah’s food is delicious, organic, local, seasonal, and kosher. We will always have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. If you have questions about our kashrut, please see our FAQs.
- Yom Kippur Tuesday dinner – Catered by WT
- Yom Kippur Wednesday Break-fast dinner – Potluck
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!
Both Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur events are located at the same retreat center in Sonoma County, within a 1–2 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area. You will receive detailed driving directions in a confirmation email when you register for these retreats, as well as a link to carpool signup.
This program is supported in-part by JCF.