Bringing Torah to Life with the Seasons
Jewish Nature Program
for Children Ages 5–10
B’hootz (“Outside” in Hebrew) brings Judaism to life through a nature-based “Sunday school in the woods” focused on discovery of the natural world and providing fundamental naturalist, survival, and leadership skills through the lens of Jewish blessings, prayers and ethics.
Fall B’hootz is full for children ages 5–8! Add your child to the waiting list. We have a few spots left for ages 9 and 10. Email email@example.com to get the link to register.
What kids love about B’hootz
- Group building activities and fun games in the woods!
- Jewish teachings that connect to the cycles of the natural world
- Wilderness skills such as shelter building, fire making, and basketry
- Nature connection techniques like sensory awareness games and guided time alone (sit spot)
- A Mitzvah service session doing restoration work at Redwood Regional Park
- A broad foundation of nature connection and mentorship is laid for B’Naiture, Wilderness Torah’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah program
More About B’hootz
B’hootz is a nature-based Jewish learning program for children in the Bay Area of any denomination or observance level who seek to integrate nature-based exploration with Jewish spirituality, tradition, and ethics.
B’hootz brings Torah to life through discovery of the nature world and an on-going, experiential conversation between what they learn in the sciences and what they learn through Jewish studies. Through tracking the Jewish calendar and our local ecological calendar as two halves of the whole, children learn through their bodies, hearts, and minds that Judaism is intimately connected to the natural world. Each week has a theme that is connected to the Hebrew month, the Jewish holiday that we are closest to, and what is happening in nature.
B’hootz is foremost based in the philosophy of experiential education. For instance, children learn about the holiday of Sukkot and temporary dwellings by learning primitive shelter building. They learn about Tu B’shvat through connecting with the many uses of trees, such as making tea over fire from redwood needles. They learn about blessings through traditional blessings for magical and fascinating occurrences in nature. They learn about our Jewish ancestors through storytelling and adventures through the forest, such as searching for Miriam’s well or finding clues from each day of creation.
We develop awareness skills and deeper nature connection through using “owl eyes” while searching for sababas (cool discoveries and natural mysteries), and doing hitbodedut (sitting still in the forest) modeled after the practice of the Chassidic master Baal Shem Tov. We consider each child to be on a unique learning journey, and mentors carefully watch individual children to provide them with the support and challenges that they need to grow. This is why we have a very small child to mentor ratio.
As children develop a connection to Jewish tradition that is fun, embodied, and adventurous, their confidence is increased, their leadership and group skills are enhanced, and they form a positive connection to Judaism that can be carried forward into their life. B’hootz gives children the opportunity to claim their own Jewish spirituality in a way that is personally meaningful, relevant, and absolutely experiential.
Everyone is welcome at Wilderness Torah events. We create pluralistic, multi-generational community celebrations to reconnect us to the earth-based traditions of Judaism. We welcome Jews, non-Jews, interfaith couples, the LGBTQ community, and people of color. We do our best to offer a range of activities so that people of all backgrounds and experience levels can plug in.