September 18–19, 2018
Join the Wilderness Torah community in Sonoma County for an earth-based, Yom Kippur journey of purification. We will gather in community on a farm near Sebastopol for a two-day retreat.
From Kol Nidre 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. A real and direct relationship to fire is one central part of ancient Jewish tradition. “Ha’Aish al-ha’mizbeach tukad bo lo tichbeh ~ the fire on the altar shall be kept burning it shall not be extinguished.”
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 Teshuva (spiritual return process) of Yom Kippur particularly potent. Join us as we cleanse, release, and purify for the coming year.
- Welcoming, 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
- Kids Care during services
- Fully catered break fast meal
Dates: September 18–19, 2018
Location: Farm near Sebastopol, CA (directions provided upon registration)
- $96 for adults
- $54 teens ages 11–17
- $36 for youth ages 4–10
- $18 for tots ages 0–3
- Help Someone Attend: Choose a $168 Adult ticket, which includes a $72 tax-deductible donation.
Registration is Now Closed
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. 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.
Setup: Tuesday, September 18
We will be getting ready for the holiday, including putting up all structures, and decorations. This position also allows you to enjoy the holiday without working during the event. We provide lunch during setup.
Welcoming: Tuesday, September 18
Be part of our rockin’ welcoming team! Check people in, help with orientation and assist people with gear setup if needed.
Parking Lead: Tuesday, September 18
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, September 18 – Wednesday, September 19
Help the hearth our kitchen nourish the village by lending your chopping, prepping, serving, and cleaning skills. Arrival times vary depending on the length of the shift.
Children’s Mentor: Tuesday, September 18 – Wednesday, September 19
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: Thursday, September 20
Help us unload the truck the day after Yom Kippur at our storage unit in North Oakland. This position allows you freedom to enjoy the holiday without working during the event! Good organizers encouraged to apply.
Erev Yom Kippur: Tuesday, September 18
|3:00 pm||Early Arrival|
|3:30–4:30 pm||Women’s Mikveh @ Salmon Creek (optional)|
|4:30–5:30 pm||Men’s Mikveh @ Salmon Creek (optional)|
|5:00–5:30 pm||General Arrival|
|5:30–6:15 pm||Pre-fast Potluck Meal|
|6:30–8:30 pm||Kol Nidre Services around the sacred fire|
|5:30–5:30 pm||Family Orientation|
|6:30 pm onward||Sacred Fire: Join the sacred fire anytime
during the night! Fire Tenders Needed.
Yom Kippur Day: Wednesday, September 19
|8:00-9:00 am||Morning Movement|
|10:00 am||Shacharit (Morning), Torah, Musaf (Additional)
*Kidcare option for ages 3–12
|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.
Parents, this is a community event! We welcome kids. We offer kidcare for ages 3–12 during Yom Kippur services. Kids 2 and under can attend kidcare, but parents need to supervise them. 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 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.
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.
Off-Site Accommodations: There are also many options for different hotels, motels, and inns in near Sebastopol and Occidental, CA.
*Please bring one potluck dish to share for erev Yom Kippur Tuesday night dinner.
Wilderness Torah will be providing a break-the-fast meal on Wednesday evening. We will not have our traditional snack station or beverage station available. We 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.
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.