B’hootz Frequently Asked Questions


A. Wilderness Torah is re-evaluating its B’hootz program for this year. In the 2023-2024 school year, we are offering the B’hootz Etzim program for grades 4-5. Unfortunately we are not offering the B’hootz Shoreshim program for grades K-3 during the 2023-2024 year.

A: B’hootz is an experiential mentorship program that focuses on embodied, nature-based Jewish learning. We weave Jewish teachings, stories, and songs with wilderness skills, nature awareness, challenges, and community building experiences. There are no walls, no desks, and usually no paper. The forest is our classroom.

Wilderness Torah youth programs do not replace synagogue Hebrew school education, where students formally learn skills such as Hebrew, Torah, and prayer. Rather, Wilderness Torah’s programs engage youth in the natural world and the rhythms of the Hebrew calendar through Jewish stories, teachings, songs, and prayers. We help youth learn about themselves, become more self-reliant, and deepen their relationship to nature and Jewish tradition.

For many families, our programs are their single  source of Jewish education, while roughly a third of our families also enroll their children at Hebrew schools or Jewish day schools. Young people who come with little background in Jewish learning often reflect feeling a newfound sense of Jewish connection through learning prayers, songs, and understanding the Hebrew calendar.

A: Wilderness Torah supports pluralistic Jewish community experiences that aim to be inclusive of all participants, welcoming all levels of familiarity and identification with Jewish tradition. Framed by the rhythms of the Jewish calendar, our youth programs create a Jewish cultural experience steeped in Jewish stories, songs, and crafts.

We welcome participants of all backgrounds—Jewish, multi-faith and beyond—and celebrate diversity of Jewish knowledge, practice, belief, and expression. We focus on the earth-based aspects of Jewish tradition. We model and create Jewish community that is inclusive and supportive of all participants in helping them cultivate meaningful, personal relationships with Judaism.

Wilderness Torah creates a pluralistic community platform where individuals of the range of religious observance can participate. 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.

We invite all families to get curious about differences they perceive among Jewish practices within the B’hootz community.Go ahead, ask! Building a pluralistic community poses challenges that can become profound learning opportunities.

A: Yes. Wilderness Torah adheres to recommended guidelines from the CDC, state, and local governments to protect the health of our families, mentors, and participants. If participants feel sick before the program, we ask families to stay home or contact program staff to discuss before coming.