Jewish Life

At BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy, we recognize and respect that every student is in a different place in his or her Jewish journey. As a community, we will never dictate what someone must believe, but rather we work with our students to find meaningful religious expression that speaks to them on an individual level. Our programming is guided by four core Jewish values:

  • Kavod – Honor, dignity and respect for ourselves and all of God’s creations.
  • Simcha – Finding joyful Jewish meaning in every aspect of our lives.
  • Tzmichat l’shit – Growth – Accepting the challenges of personal transformation in every important way.
  • Kehilla – Community and Connection – To spirituality, our families, the Jewish people, our communities, and the natural world.

BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy is kosher and Shabbat observant.  All Shabbatot take place at our basecamp.  BaMidbar follows halachic standards set forth by the movement of Conservative Judaism.


Strong self-concept is essential to mental wellness and healthy decision-making. Through Jewish metaphor and storytelling, BaMidbar helps students see themselves in a larger framework of Jewish people, history, and values.  Through daily meditation or t’fillot (optional Jewish prayer), BaMidbar helps students strengthen personal identity and self-awareness.


Skill development builds self-esteem and self-efficacy, and contributes to positive coping mechanisms.  BaMidbar helps students connect Jewish values to the process of recovery and emphasizes Jewish practice as a positive coping mechanism in the face of challenges.   Students will learn to understand the concepts of recovery in a Jewish framework and will be able to connect the 12 steps to Jewish philosophy, belief, and practice.


Research shows that a strong social support network is key to recovery efforts, but so often programs focus only on the personal process and do not fully consider the positive influence of strong social supports.   At BaMidbar, we understand that success isn’t achieved alone.  Community, particularly Jewish community, is a powerful champion for support and healthy outlets that continues beyond the wilderness setting.  The connections found around a Shabbat dinner table are not unique to the wilderness experience and can be a source of strength in any time or place.  By integrating engagement with Jewish community into our program, we hope students will be better equipped to build positive social supports at home and transfer lessons learned from the wilderness experience to their home environment.


BaMidbar’s spiritual counselor will work with families to ensure Jewish support mechanisms at home.  Part of the spiritual counselor’s role is to help decrease shame and stigma in home community environments through supportive communication and education.  Our spiritual counselor also provides educational programming to Jewish clergy, community leaders, and congregations to help strengthen local addiction and mental health resources available in the  local Jewish community.