B’naiture Mentoring and Four Worlds Approach
Learn more about our unique approach to Jewish coming of age
B’naiture is a coming-of-age journey from childhood into adolescence. B’naiture supports the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual passage of youth from childhood innocence into the teenage years, where one opens to greater awareness of self and the world.
This can be an exciting and challenging time for youth and parents, and it can be difficult to navigate without guidance and outside mentorship. We craft a journey that supports the whole family to move through this rite of passage with grace and confidence.
“B’naiture” is a play on the Hebrew words B’nai Mitzvah
and the English word nature. B’nai Mitzvah
is the plural for Bar
or Bat Mitzvah
, which means to be a son or daughter of the mitzvot
. The word mitzvah
is often times translated into English as “commandment.” The root of mitzvah
is related to the Aramaic tzafta
which means to connect.
In B’naiture, as children become more connected to nature, they also become more connected to themselves, their peers and mentors, and Jewish tradition, preparing them for a life of rich connection.
In B’naiture, we cultivate intimacy in cohorts of boys, girls and parents, and offer different levels of challenge, skill and learning building for our first and second year participants.
1st and 2nd Year: Deer & Eagles
Tzvi’im (The Deer): In the first year, we focus on group building, foundational skills, and establishing trusting and vibrant mentor and peer relationships.
Nesharim (The Eagles): In the second year, the journey goes deeper, engaging in more advanced skills and mentorship that prepare your child for a year-end B’naiture wilderness solo.
Girls & Boys Tracks
B’naiture has independent and interweaving tracks for girls and boys. Traditionally, adolescent rites of passage separate boys and girls
to attend to their unique needs. For more information, read our FAQs.
Cultivating family community and involving parents in the experience is essential to B’naiture. The parent track teaches basic earth-based Jewish concepts,values and approaches to support your child during this rite-of-passage time.
Experienced adult and teen mentors guide each group with a maximum 6:1 student to mentor ratio. Each first-year cohort is limited to 12 boys and 12 girls.
Our four worlds holistic mentoring curriculum is guided toward nourishing the body, mind, heart, and spirit of each child.
B’naiture is designed to meet the needs and support the growth of all dimensions of your child. As you will read below, we create a balanced program that nurtures a child’s body, emotions, mind, and spirit. We believe humans learn best when learning happens on all of these levels and strive to create a learning environment that honors this.
- Adventuring into the wilderness
- Connecting to nature through games and other activities
- Learning about the body and changes youth experience at this life stage
- Learning hand crafts such as cordage, carving, basketry, and more
- Making hand-crafted Judaica such as mezzuzot, shofarot, matzah and more
- Developing survival skills such as fire and shelter building
- Identifying, harvesting, and preparing wild, edible, and medicinal plants for food and medicine
- Engaging core Jewish values as opportunities for authentic connection
- Cultivating self-awareness through sharing circles, journaling, and self-reflection
- Building group and peer connection through games, adventures, and more
- Facing age-appropriate challenges that build confidence and foster growth
- Unplugging and creating vibrant community
- Supporting each other through this profound life transition
- Exploring challenges that build confidence and foster growth
- Learning and experiencing the Jewish calendar through the seasons
- Exploring Jewish holidays, weekly Torah portions, and core Jewish stories from around the world
- Singing and practicing Jewish songs and basic Jewish prayers and blessings
- Learning about local plants, animals, and ecology
- Learning fundamentals of Jewish spirituality
- Experiencing Hitbodedut — sitting alone in nature
- Practicing sensory awareness activities
- Connecting and fostering personal relationships with Jewish spirituality
- Working towards a final overnight solo, tending one’s own fire.