Rekindling The Flame of Earth-based Judaism

Rekindling The Flame of Earth-based Judaism
Email It

Rabbi Zelig Golden

Founding Director | Wilderness Torah

Have you ever felt disconnected from your purpose? From God? From yourself? Today, waves of younger Jews are flocking back to Judaism through nature’s doorway, which offers a critical answer to Judaism... See more


The Rest is Commentary

Passover in the Desert 2017: Find out more at

Passover in the Desert is a five-day gathering in the desert wilderness celebrating freedom and awakening. Wilderness Torah's mission is to awaken and celebrate the earth-based traditions of Judaism to nourish the connections between self, community, earth and Spirit.

Ecstasy on the farm: Wilderness Torah's earth-based Sukkot - J.

In ancient Israel, Sukkot was one of the three yearly pilgrimage festivals, when Israelites traveled from all over to go up to the Temple in Jerusalem. People built their sukkahs out in the fields, dwelling directly on the land. Part of this early harvest festival was an ecstatic water ceremony, Simchat Beit Hashoeivah (Rejoicing of ...

Community Takes Passover Tradition Back To The Desert Wilderness

It's Passover and as is traditional, many Jews are eating matzo for the week. But in Southern California, a group called Wilderness Torah is not only reflecting on the Passover story but going into the desert to relive part of it. About 150 people are gathered around an outdoor fire.

Rabbi Zelig  Golden, 

Founding Director | Wilderness Torah

Zelig’s vision for a thriving, earth-based Judaism developed through a lifetime of nature connection, Jewish leadership, and commitment to healing our world. As Founding Director of Wilderness Torah, Zelig invokes mentorship, facilitation, through leadership, and ceremonial tools to guide an annual cycle of land-based pilgrimage festivals, nature-based rites of passage, local community cultivation, and trainings for leaders across the Jewish world.
Zelig worked as a backcountry ranger in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, a Colorado Outward Bound wilderness guide, and an early pioneer in the Jewish environmental movement helping co-found Seattle’s Northwest Jewish Environmental Project in 1998. He was a fellow and the original ‘pickle man’ at Adamah in 2006. Zelig was an environmental lawyer for seven years fighting Monsanto and the GMO industry, culminating with a 2010 landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory. In a 2007 vision quest, he claimed his vision to return Judaism to nature and then co-founded Wilderness Torah to reawaken Judaism’s earth-based traditions and catalyze vibrant, multi-generational community.
Zelig was ordained rabbi in January 2018 by ALEPH,  supported by the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Zelig was ordained Maggid by Reb Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, z’l on Lag B’omer 5771, ordained ALEPH Spiritual Director in January 2017, and received a Masters in Jewish Studies from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union in May 2017. Zelig earned a Juris Doctor from Berkeley Law and a Bachelor of Science in ecology from the University of Washington.
Zelig currently lives in Occidental, CA with his beloved wife Rachel Ruach Golden and their little one, Emma.