Since 2010, I've served on the Board of Directors of Wilderness Torah, a Berkeley-based non-profit dedicated to offering Earth-based Jewish events to adults and children. For those of us who see nature as our true temple, yet still want to hold onto our Jewish (and other) traditions, Wilderness Torah provides something very special. Instead of sitting a stuffy synagogue during High Holidays, we spend time celebrating Passover in the desert, or Sukkot on an organic farm. At each festival, I feel more connected to my Jewish roots and more excited about sharing them with others: friends, children, and my wife Tristen.
The Wilderness Torah community has been especially welcoming to Tristen and to others from all backgrounds and it is this kind of radical inclusiveness, in my mind, that is they key to both preserving and expanding Judaism and other religions. Without something like this, so many of us would simply disengage and look for other ways to connect to spirit. Those of you who know me, know what I'm talking about -- I've turned to yoga, travel, vision quests, Burning Man, etc. But thanks to Wilderness Torah, I can now follow my own path and ALSO feel very connected to the incredible richness of our collective Jewish idenity.
Please consider making a donation of whatever amount to this inspiring organization. As the organization's Treasurer for 5 years, I can assure you that these are some of the most hard-working, fiscally responsible, and effective people I know. They've already proved their success by every metric in the Bay Area (see below). Now let's help them take the next step and expand nationwide. With your help, you can expect to see Wilderness Torah and its Jewish leadership and community engagement philosophy all over the US and abroad in the next few years.
Terry (and Tristen)
PS Here are some videos to give you an idea what it's all about:
MORE ON WILDERNESS TORAH :
Why are we fundraising? Because we love Wilderness Torah and the impact it's had on our lives and so many others.
Wilderness Torah believes that the ancient roots of Judaism hold wisdom for our modern, disconnected world. We create inclusive Jewish experiences that reconnect Jewish ritual to the land and powerfully reconnect people across a wide spectrum to Judaism.
Programs include multi-generational holiday retreats in nature; ground-breaking K-12 outdoor Jewish education; and starting in 2016, a national Training Institute to bring our innovative models to communities nationwide.
Since 2007, Wilderness Torah has grown exponentially, now serving 2,000 people a year. We've been named one of the nation's most innovative Jewish nonprofits four years in a row by Slingshot Fund (2011-15).
Demand is skyrocketing! Every program is selling out; communities across the Bay Area, the U.S. and internationally ask for programming; and participants hail from 28 states and 7 countries.
However, in order to keep program fees affordable -- especially for young adults, lower-income families and elders -- Wilderness Torah needs donations. In fact, fundraising accounts for 2/3 of our budget each year.
Please give a donation to support this work today. Thank you!