Russian Jewish Community's Passover in the Desert

April 02, 2015 to April 05, 2015
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
To be emailed upon registration
Panoche Hills, CA


Learn  ●  Share  ●  Sing  ●  Dance  ●  Hike  ●  Meditate  ●  Stretch    Explore  ●  Cook  ●  Eat  ●  Transform  ●  Liberate  ●  Connect

Join us on a Passover journey on April 2-5

Let yourself go and explore freedom, nature, and our heritage in a setting that will stimulate and challenge, as well as provide the ultimate opportunity to shape and navigate your own experience and that of your community.

Be prepared to shake off your metaphoric shackles of slavery and walk your own spiritual path across seas and deserts, sustaining yourself through daily manna and the community that you will create.

Our philosophy
We choose the desert location in order to more intimately relive the experience of our ancestors, who escaped the fertile Nile Valley and set out for a barren desert, united by a common goal. They left a society that had enslaved them, and sought to establish a new one with fresh values and aspirations. With this in mind, we also embrace the desert as a blank social and environmental canvas, upon which we have the freedom and ease, for these few days of our lives, to create whatever life we wish to live and share with our friends. Join us, and let us become a part of your community. The word ‘community’ is derived from the Latin ‘communis.’ ‘Com’ = shared, together and ‘munis’ = task, duty. So community means 'sharing tasks.' We believe that a rich and rewarding community is formed when free-spirited, independent people join together in a collective effort towards a shared goal of survival, liberation and celebration.

Registration Fee

Early bird adult ($50) and child ($15) before March 29
Regular adult ($60) and child ($20)
Children under 6 (FREE)

What to bring

It is going to be cold. Remember to bring warm clothes including hats, gloves, scarves. Refer to the Sample Packing List for other items that you need to bring.

Your role
LEAVE NO TRACE. We want to minimize our impact on the wilderness.

TAKE THE FREEDOM TO SHAPE AND BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE. We all uniquely relate to Passover and we expect you to be able to celebrate in your own way and share with others free of judgment or criticism. Naturally, we also expect you to be respectful and appreciative of other people and their celebrations.

PARTICIPATE IN TAKE-DOWN AND CLEAN-UP. While we rely exclusively on volunteers for most of the organizational and communal tasks, including transportation of equipment and building of the infrastructure, we expect that you will help the organizers in taking down, packing and loading all communal structures and equipment and cleaning up the site before departure.

Building Community
Our ancestors joined forces to meet the challenges of Exodus from Egypt and we expect that participants will share collective responsibilities to contribute to the success of our Passover journey.

Our team will be on site early to build the camp and will gladly accept helpful volunteers. In addition, there are many tasks involved in maintaining and operating the common areas and activities. Please remember that EVERYONE is expected to participate in the disassembly, packing and loading the camp and subsequent clean-up. Sign-up on the activity signup form.

We all need to eat! And it's more fun to do it together! At this event everybody is responsible for their own food; however we encourage you to connect with other participants to create communal meals. Best practice from prior years was when people joined into groups and prepared their food with enough to share with others. 

When everybody shares, nobody goes hungry, especially in a Jewish family. Click here to add a dish that you wish to gift to the community, and remember that you can gift as much as you want and you do not have to feed everyone.

We all have hobbies, interests, talents and skills that we can share with others. You are invited to join in activities of others, as well as add your own activity of interest. In the past, our participants have taught us the hidden secrets of Torah, the role of Tfillin and history of Warsaw ghetto uprising, led Capoeira, Zumba and yoga exercises, shared photography and poi-dancing skills and expanded our boundaries with Tai chi, Shaolin and Jewish meditation. 

Unleash your imagination, and take us to the stars! If you are interested in leading an activity, click here, and if you are unsure about a particular activity, please feel free to discuss here and share your ideas and aspirations.

In order to create truly communal Seders on Friday and Saturday evenings, we invite you to share the Passover traditions and interpretations that are meaningful to you. We will explore our heritage and story of Exodus in a traditional form on Friday, and encourage you to celebrate in your own way and share with others on Saturday. Sign-up on the activity signup form.

What to expect
- To be entirely in charge of your experience, how and what you are, do, eat, celebrate and practice
- Celebrate Passover, reenact the story of Exodus, learn the traditions at a Seder and create your unique way of relating to the Biblical story
- Treat yourself to a meaningful Shabbat - dinner, discussion, learning and rest
- Reconnect with nature - mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually
- Discover more about Judaism and other religions (for example, who knew that the "Last Supper" was a Seder?)
- Share your talents and gifts with your community and enjoy gifts of others
- Dance and drum under the starry desert sky and the full moon
- Survive in semi-challenging living conditions
- To be inspired
- To be enlightened*

*certain restrictions apply.

What not to expect
- To be brainwashed
- To be ignored
- To be alone or social when you don't want to
- To be bored

Where does the money go?
The registration fee will cover the following organizational expenses: Bureau of Land Management fees for use of the federal lands, other permits, rental costs for the truck, toilets, generator and other communal equipment, firewood, gasoline, and other camping supplies.

How do we minimize our cost?
Except for the unavoidable costs and expenses listed above, we rely on participants (you!) to create this event. We borrow equipment, seek out free materials and share our talents and gifts instead of hiring outside help.

Jewish Community Federation Sponsored Stipends
We're offering stipends for interesting, creative, community oriented projects that cover your expenses. Please contact Irina with questions.

Organized By: 
By people like YOU and Russian Jewish Community of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund
Event Contact Person: 
Irina Klay