Let Nature Guide You and Your Child Through this Important Rite of Passage
Take a peak into B’naiture with this short video made by a B’naiture parent!
B’naiture is a two-year, experiential program for youth aged 11–13 that uses nature as a vehicle to explore the transition from childhood to adolescence.
This groundbreaking program weaves Jewish teachings, story, and song with personal challenges, outdoor skills, non-parental mentorship, peer group community building, and nature awareness activities to provide an embodied way for youth to explore coming-of-age. B’naiture provides independent tracks for girls and boys that overlap at several points throughout the year. A parallel parent group explores how to best support their children at this critical time.
The program is a supplement to traditional B’nai Mitzvah education and can also serve families who do not choose to undertake traditional B’nai Mitzvah training.
We Help Youth
- Develop a sense of their strengths, learning edges, and gifts
- Become more self-reliant through nature skills and challenges
- Learn core Jewish values — tikkun olam (stewardship of the natural world), tzedaka (care for others), and gimilut chasidim (acts of kindness)
Together We Explore
- What does it mean to become a teenager?
- What does it mean to take on the mantle of Judaism?
- What is my relationship to nature and the world around me?
- How can parents best support their child’s rite of passage, and acknowledge their own?
B’naiture Girls and B’naiture Boys
Core Program & Skills
- Bonding with peer group
- Nature connection & awareness
- Building self-awareness, self-reliance, independence and responsibility
- Group process and challenges
- Personal challenges and solo time in nature
- Jewish values, teachings, stories, songs, and prayers
- Wild foods, plant identification and herbal medicine making
- Cordage, basketry, felting, weaving
- Survival skills — fire, shelter, water
What to Expect
Experienced mentors guide each group with a 6:1 student to mentor ratio. Separate first and second year cohorts and separate male and female cohorts honor their unique needs. The cohorts form a single village during group activities, at key moments, and during camping trips.
From September to May, for two years, mentors meet students outdoors in the East Bay twice a month on one Sunday from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm and one Wednesday evening from 5:00–8:00 pm.
Fall Camping Trip for Students and Parents
This initial journey forges deep nature connection, bonds the group, honors and celebrates Shabbat, and inspires parents to begin their own journey of supporting their child’s transition.
Winter Camping Trip
On one of our regular Sunday meetings, youth arrive the Saturday before and we have a 25-hour wilderness immersion and camping experience at a camp ground in the East Bay Parks.
Spring Camping Trip
A students-only spring camping trip ends the program year, empowering students to put their learning into action and providing a culminating experience for second year students to enact a personal rite of passage.
Parallel Parents’ Journey
Parents gather at the opening camping trip plus four evenings each year to learn and explore with professional facilitators how to best support their children and one another during this life transition.
Bring Judaism to life in nature and imbue the B’nai Mitzvah time with special meaning through this experiential, mentor-led journey.
Imagine your child joining other peers for their journey into adolescence, making personal discoveries about themselves and their relationship to others and Judaism through the land they live on.
Imagine supporting your child on that journey.
To learn more, email us or call 510-926-4648.
This Project was made possible in part by funds granted by the Covenant Foundation. The statements and views expressed, however, are solely the responsibility of Wilderness Torah.
Wilderness Torah gives special thanks to Chochmat HaLev for the partnership in creating the pilot of this program and to the Chochmat HaLev youth and families for taking the initial journey of reconnecting the B’nai Mitzvah Rite of Passage to the natural world.
Everyone is welcome at Wilderness Torah programs. 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.