Zmanim is a journey through the seasons with 8 months of nature-immersion, Jewish learning, and community building. In our group of 10-15 people, participants will meet monthly to learn ancestral skills and gather for three immersive Shabbaton retreats exploring Jewish farming, winter camping, and canoe tripping. We welcome Southern-Ontario-based Jewish adults excited to deepen their connection to Judaism, the natural world, and their sense of resilience.
Get ready to delve into naturalist learning (birding, tracking, plant ID, etc.), Jewish ritual (blessings, Shabbat, etc.), outdoor skills (camping, winter camping, canoeing, etc.), Jewish identity building (exploring Jewish journey, new practices, etc.), and environmental stewardship.
We are piloting this program due to a generous Concept Grant from Moishe House and are deeply grateful for their support.
This 8-month program will run from October 2023 to May 2024, with three immersive Shabbatons (in October, January, and May). In the intervening time, participants will meet monthly on Wednesday evenings or for day-long learning on Sunday.
- October 20-22 (Friday-Sunday) – Farm Shabbaton
- November 22 (Wednesday) – Evening Gathering
- December 13 (Wednesday) – Chanukah Celebration
- January 18-21 (Thursday-Sunday) – Intro to Winter Camping Shabbaton
- February 14 (Wednesday) – Evening Gathering
- March 17 (Sunday) – Day-long outdoors
- April 17 (Wednesday) – Evening Gathering
- May 16-20 (Thursday-Monday – Victoria Day) – Culminating Canoe Trip
Zmanim evening programs will take place at various backyards, parks, ravines, and urban wild spaces in the GTA, with the potential of some sessions taking place virtually. The Farm Shabbaton and March daylong will take place either at Bela Farm or another conservation area within a one-hour drive of Toronto. Winter Camping and Canoe Trip Shabbatons will take place further afield, within 3.5 hours of Toronto or Ottawa. While we will assist people in setting up carpools, participants are responsible for their travel to and from program locations. Specific locations will be included in the welcome package.
Zmanim participants will be invited to explore, question, and envision their relationship to Jewish cycles of time, ritual, communication with Creator/Divine, texts, and ethics. For this program, Shoresh welcomes any self-identified Jewish adults over the age of 18, regardless of heritage, practice, or affiliation (including converts, patrilineal Jews, mixed heritage Jews, queer Jews, Jews of Colour, Sefardi and Mizrachi Jews). Shoresh takes a pluralistic approach and participants’ unique Jewish (and other) backgrounds will be respected and welcomed when openly discussing Jewish observance and values, and grappling with the complexities of Jewish tradition. No prior Jewish knowledge/experience is expected. Please feel free to ask questions or communicate with us to ensure you feel welcome.
Programming during Shabbat will be accessible for most people who adhere to halachic Shabbat prohibitions, as well as those who do not. Please let us know if you have any Shabbat observance questions.
Zmanim will be a physically involved program, including travelling long distances (on hiking trails, by canoe, and through snow). The program operates in all temperatures and weather conditions, and we will support participants in feeling prepared with seasonally appropriate gear. Participants will be expected to carry their belongings for day and overnight programs as well as sleep in tents overnight with no electricity access. In some contexts, participants will share sleeping quarters. No prior outdoorsy or camping experience is required and we trust participants’ individual judgement of whether this program will be fun for them. If accessibility is a concern, please feel welcome to ask questions or communicate with us, so we can jointly figure out if the program is the right fit and, if so, how to support your participation.
Note: For Shabbatons, we will require participants to take a rapid test before sharing a tent or other indoor space.
The cost of the Zmanim program is sliding scale, from $1000-$3000/participant. Due to generous support from Moishe House, the break-even cost is $1500/participant. Payment plans in one, two, and three instalments are possible: please indicate your preference on the registration form. Further program subsidies are available. For more information, please email email@example.com.