B’naiture Frequently Asked Questions
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 through Jewish stories, teachings, songs, and prayers to 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 stand-alone source of Jewish education, while roughly ⅓ additionally enroll their children at Hebrew schools or Jewish day schools.
Young people who come with very little background in Jewish learning often reflect feeling a newfound sense of Jewish identity through learning prayers, songs, and understanding the Hebrew calendar. Children with more Jewish education background often reflect on the balance our programs provide through embodied experience to the intellectually focused school environment and discover an enlivened relationship to their faith.
As a culmination of the two-years of skill building and experience, each second year mentee graduates through a final overnight solo (or other appropriate challenge) designed to reveal their inner strength, celebrate their unique gifts, and mark their passage into their teenage years.
Our experience confirms current psychological research that shows that boys and girls at this age generally experience and process things in different ways. In order to create the safety needed to be true to oneself, separating into boys and girls groups is developmentally appropriate at this age. We are aware that boys and girls appreciate the full spectrum of experience, so both cohorts learn and experience a very similar set of skills, activities, and Jewish learning.
We welcome participants of all backgrounds — Jewish and multi-faith — and celebrate diversity of Jewish knowledge, practice, belief, and expression. We focus on the earth-based aspects of Jewish tradition and seek to model and create Jewish community that is inclusive and supportive of all participants in cultivating 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’naiture community. Go ahead, ask! Building pluralistic community poses challenges that can become profound learning opportunities.
In addition to being delicious, kid friendly, and organic whenever possible, food served on our camping trips observes traditional the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut (keeping kosher).