Festival Leadership Training (The Lev)

Take your Wilderness Torah experience to the next level — join Wilderness Torah to build the village for our holiday festivals! The Lev is a three-month program that trains you in earth-based Jewish traditions and community leadership as part of a wonderful cohort of 8-12 volunteer leaders.
  • Help plan and create Wilderness Torah festivals, building vibrant village life
  • Learn valuable community leadership and facilitation skills
  • Get training in earth-based Judaism content
  • Bring your creativity alive in the village
The Lev (heart) is the underlying fabric of each Wilderness Torah festival village. As part of a council of staff and volunteer leaders who generate the village magic at each festival, Lev members hold specific roles within the council, learn leadership and facilitation skills and Jewish knowledge, and co-create festival village life with the training and support of seasoned Wilderness Torah staff and stakeholders.

The magic you feel in our festival villages is created by a collaborative council of volunteer leaders each holding specific, interconnected roles. Greater than the sum of its parts, each leader brings their unique strengths and growing edges to the Lev.

As part of the Lev, each volunteer leader holds a specific archetypal role within this council (for example, representing a welcoming presence or being the village MC), and collaborates in a circle of equals to co-create a regenerative village experience.

Lev members receive training in:

  • Extensive knowledge in event and festival planning and, specifically, Jewish festivals
  • Earth-based Jewish teachings including the Hebrew Calendar & Passover mythology
  • Public speaking, ritual facilitation, effectively holding space
  • Regenerative Community Design & Village Building
  • Peace-making, feedback loops, and conflict resolution
  • Nature connection, storytelling, and personal growth
  1. Meaningful Community: Make and deepen friendships and become a part of the Wilderness Torah Core Community.
  2. Leadership Training: Learn leadership and village/community-building skills such as public speaking, conflict resolution, peace making, group and ritual facilitation, and nature connection.
  3. Jewish Learning: Learn about earth-based Judaism, specific teachings about Passover, and general Jewish practice including prayers and songs.
  4. Learn the 8 Shields Model: Learn this collaborative cultural design model based on the cycles of nature and indigenous knowledge systems from across the globe. By joining the Lev, you will learn and embody the 8 Shields model of cultural creation. (We are grateful to the 8 Shields Institute for their partnership and mentorship in the 8 Shield Model.)
  5. Create Something Wonderful: Help build on a vision to connect Jewish life back to its ancestral roots on the land. This year in particular we are deepening, evolving, and open to new sparks of creativity and vision.
  6. Attend Festival for Free: In exchange for the service you give before and during the festival your ticket will be fully comped, including all pre- and post-festival time onsite.
The entire Lev meets in person twice beginning two months before the festival, and once after the festival for a debrief and gratitude celebration.

Below is detailed information about the commitment for Passover in the Desert 2018.

Passover in the Desert will be from Thursday, April 5 to Monday, April 9, 2018, in the Panamint Desert, Southern California.

Participation requires full commitment to the following:

  1. Full Participation From Beginning to End: Lev members are required to arrive no later than Wednesday, April 4 at 3 pm and stay onsite until Monday, April 9 at 4 pm. While not required, the Lev is encouraged stay overnight on Monday, April 9 for an afternoon at the Surprise Canyon Oasis and a decompression campfire at night. If available to stay, you can then head home Tuesday morning with the breakdown crew.
  2. Deeper Trainings: During our pre-festival time we will be participating in even deeper trainings, ritual, and nature connection on the land, allowing the Lev to be fully settled and prepared by the time the main festival begins.
  3. Pre-Festival Tasks: Each lev member will have 1–3 clearly communicated tasks related to each direction to prepare for the festival. The festival manager will be discussing these with each member at the beginning of the training process.
  4. Attend Three Required Pre-Festival Village Council Trainings:
    Tuesday evening, 6–10 pm at an East Bay location. We will feed you a wonderful, nutritious dinner.This will be with Lev members only.
    Sunday March 2018, 10 am — 4 pm at an East bay location. This will be a joint training with the Lev and other members of the village council.
  5. Your Festival Service:Once onsite, the Lev meets twice a day, for an hour or more for schedule updates, feedback, and check-ins. Each Lev member will potentially act as a Rosh (head) for a tribe, as well as holding 2–3 tasks associated with your specific Lev role. In holding your Lev role, you will provide a direct feedback line from participants to program staff as well as support for program staff related to your role.
  6. Attend Our Gratitude Feast and Celebration: A week or so after the festival we get together to celebrate our amazing team and debrief the festival in the East Bay.
  7. Give Us Feedback: Fill out the Lev and general festival evaluation surveys so that we may continue to refine and deepen this learning journey.

Lev applicants must have attended the multiday festival for which they are applying, and ideally have attended at least one other festival. Applications for the Passover in the Desert Lev will be accepted on a rolling basis until February 20, 2018.

Please make sure you have read over the commitments and are available for the dates listed before filling out an application.

The evaluation will be based on your:

  • Application
  • Previous festival experience
  • A possible conversation with the WT Festival Manager
  • Collective agreement from Wilderness Torah staff
A significant portion of the application is asking you to evaluate your goals as a potential lev member, what roles you are feeling drawn to, and recognizing your current gifts and edges. It is a good and useful practice for each of us to check in with ourselves and each other annually around these questions. It is also helpful for Wilderness Torah staff to know where your interests are currently focused so we can place you in the right role.

Being on the lev was a transformative experience for me. I built a lot of confidence through this process, and left feeling freer in spirit, holding a deeper sense of belonging in the Wilderness Torah community, and more aware of the gifts I can bring to community work and leadership.
Lev Member, Passover in the Desert 2015


Wilderness Torah planted in me a seed of possibility that I could be a leader in new and innovate ways that I never thought possible. Through the opportunity to sit on the village council I expanded my capacity to facilitate meetings, delegate duties, and communicate effectively to get projects done. The skills I’m learning through Wilderness Torah I harvest in my professional and personal life. I think Wilderness Torah holds the key to a powerful new way of organizing our Jewish community.
Village Council member, 2012 Passover in the Desert