Bringing earth-based Judaism to young families with children five and under

About Nevatim

Nevatim (“sprouts”) is our newest branch of Youth Programs at Wilderness Torah, integrating Jewish rituals, tradition, and spirituality with a nature-based approach to early childhood education and parenting.

Our goal is to build community through shabbat programs, music and movement classes for young children, nature connection experiences, and parent education and enrichment.

Wilderness Torah programs are held outdoors. We plan to have events in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Sonoma County, and San Francisco.

Upcoming Events

Roots & Rhythms: A 6-part musical learning series for youth ages 2-7 & their parents

6 Wednesdays, May 1 – June 5, 2024 | 4:00-6:00 pm PST
May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22, May 29, June 5
Park in Berkeley Hills (Exact location provided upon registration).

Join us for an engaging and interactive musical learning series for both children between the ages of 2–7 and their parents/caregivers. For the first half of the class, there will be a music and learning session facilitated by Melita Silberstein.

After a short break, parents will separate from their child for a 45 minute parent session, facilitated by Dan Schindelman Schoen and Rabbi Zelig, covering different topics related to earth-based Judaism and parenting. During that time, kids will have a snack while Melita guides a crafting or other fun activity for the remaining time.

Learn the Hebrew calendar’s seasonal teachings, Jewish songs and rituals to bring to your family rituals, and helpful approaches to parenting at the intersection of Judaism and nature-connection.

Melita, Family & Tot Program Manager, brings over two decades of experience, and has developed her own method of teaching music to young children which involves principles of body and spatial awareness, tonal development, pattern recognition, integration of sound and movement, and also group exercises which build age-appropriate social skills, mindfulness and compassion for others. Her classes are engaging and interactive, integrating movement, puppets, felt board stories, sing-alongs and instrument play with original songs as well as traditional favorites. See her bio below.

Register Here

Registration is Now Open

Registration Fees:

  • $360 for first parent + child
  • $100 for each additional parent or child
  • Babies 18 mos. and under are free
Register Here

Sunday Fun Day: Get Ready for Shavuot

Sunday, June 2, 2024 | 3:30–5:00 pm
Chochmat HaLev (Berkeley, CA)

Join Wilderness Torah, Chochmat HaLev, PJ Library, and members of Octopretzel, for an afternoon of music, snacks and crafting in a beautiful indoor/outdoor location.

Registration is sliding scale ($0-$108)

Learn More & Register Here
Learn More & Register Here

Family Camp 2024

Thursday, August 8 – Sunday, August 11, 2024
Group Campground in the Sierra Foothills, 2 hours drive from the Bay Area 

Come together with fellow nature-loving Jewish families for Wilderness Torah’s first ever family camp! Enjoy 3 nights camping next to the American River, catered organic meals, and a memorable weekend filled with relaxation, play, and Shabbat celebration. 

Learn More & Register Here

Registration is Now Open

Check out program details, schedule, and registration fees on our family camp webpage.

Learn More & Register Here

Nevatim Program Leader

Melita Silberstein

Family & Nevatim Program Manager

Melita is a long-time educator and song-leader in the Bay Area Jewish community and beyond. She holds a degree in eco-psychology from the Naropa Institute and is also certified as an early childhood educator. She is the founding member of the popular Bay Area band for kids, Octopretzel and has also collaborated with fellow Jewish song-leader Isaac Zones; their joint albums were distributed internationally by PJ Library. Melita has received training in Music Together, Orff Shulwerk music education, Waldorf, and children’s yoga. Shas has recorded a lot of music for humans of all ages.  You can find her music on Spotify, Apple Music and all other streaming platforms under Melita, Melita & Isaac, Octopretzel and Kid Kaleidoscope. To learn more you can visit her website

Collaborations with Partner Organizations

Along with Tot Shabbats, holiday events, and music classes, we will partner with many other Jewish organizations across the Bay Area to build community with creative collaborative events and programs for families.

Our partners include:

Jewish Baby Network logo
JCC Contra Costa Logo


Contact Melita, Family Programs Manager, with any questions or comments you might have.

Our Approach to Diversity and Inclusion

Our Nevatim program welcomes youth and families from the diverse and beautiful spectrum of identity: Jews of color, LGBTQIA+ youth & families, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, and folks of a wide spectrum of Jewish observance and background. Throughout our programs, we honor both our common threads and our unique lived experiences.  

This program is supported by the Rodan Family Foundation