Passover in the Desert Festival

The Dome = The Temple 2.O, Photo by: Igor Dralyuk

44 people bravely abandoned the slavery of comfort (or comfort of slavery?) and embarked on their own 4-day Exodus to the “desert” of San Benito wilderness to celebrate Passover with Mishmash. Together under the sun and the stars, aided by nature’s gifts and challenges, we embraced each other into a community, related to our ancestors' story of Passover and discovered new paths to spiritual freedom.

The desert became a blank social and environmental canvas, upon which we had the freedom and ease to create the magical reality we wished to have. Committed to mutual co-inspiration, participants empowered each other to reveal and share their gifts of skills, creativity, wisdom and enthusiasm. We cooked for each other, danced zumba and span poi, celebrated Israel's quest for independence, discovered our real selves in a role game and Shaolin meditation, discussed secrets of Torah and tradition of Tfilin, jammed in a drum circle and played guitars, reflected on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and preserved the memories with newly acquired photography skills.

The organic blend of three generations, four dogs and a multitude of Jewish personalities embodied our collective spirit of "letting ourselves be" and asserting the freedom of our community.

The campsite overview- Panoche Hills (approx. 150 miles from SF)

44 attendees, 4 parents, 4 children, 4 dogs, 4 days, 4 questions, 4 opinions.

Examples of our activities:

1. Building the camp.

Preparing decorations and rules for the kitchen

2. Jewish explorations: ʺExodus - a hidden agendaʺ Ever wondered why G-d needed Pharaoh's consent to take the Jews out? How is it moral to punish someone after you harden their heart? How come Jews did not receive diplomatic immunity for the 10th plague? Why is the holiday called Passover? (Pesach) and not Yom Haatzmaut or Day of Freedom? We will re-visit the story of Exodus with a critical eye to look for "a hidden agenda". Leo Hmelnitsky 2. Zumba Dancing with Ira Kotlik-Konev.

Photo by: Igor Dralyuk

3. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with Boris Dolin

Boris Dolin captivates us with the story of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

4. Making and baking Matzos over the campfire


This event made possible by enthusiasm of participants, our dear friends visiting from Jerusalem and New York and excellent implementation of an unorthodox vision by the Mishmash leaders.

  • “Very warm and positive atmosphere, community-oriented intention all around.”
  •  “The location was fantastic!!! The lectures and spontaneous discussions with other participants were wonderful and great energy."
  • "The most exciting part for me is that everyone contributes...nobody there is just an audience, everyone is on stage sharing something they like - food, story, song, tradition."

- by Irin Kutman Levy, JAFI Emissary for the FSU Emigrés Community San Francisco and Bay Area.


June 05, 2011


The Federation