Registration and Agreements

We are now accepting reservations to join the Passover Village 2015 (5775 by the Hebrew Calendar). 


The 2015 Passover Village Retreat  

9 AM Friday, April 10th through 11 AM Sunday, April 12th.

Ideally, arrive as early as Wednesday or Thursday, April 8th or 9th in time to set up your personal campsite and enjoy a relaxed afternoon and evening or more of rest and fellowship and "Village-making."  Allow 1.5 hours minimum travel time by car from Los Angeles; arrival before dark will simplify campsite setup (very dark by 8 pm on these dates).

If you cannot arrive on Wednesday or Thursday, arrive early enough (7 or 7:30 am) on Friday morning to set up your personal campsite and join the Opening Council at 9:00 am.


Are you Eagle?  Buffalo?  Lion?  Raven?  Lamb?  All of these?

This year’s kavanah (intentional spiritual focus) explores our personal relations with animals, tribal symbolism, animals in kashrut, and more.  Animals have been part of the Tribal Earth-based Hebraic experience from the time of Creation, and the Passover story is replete with animals, including snakes, frogs, locusts, lambs, lions and wolves (aka wild beasts, Plague #4).  Join our Passover Village 2015 mountain camp to experience an Exodus in which animals are a source of awe and magic, ritual and totem, awareness and play, just as they were for our ancestors.

P.S. Take a look elsewhere in the Passover Village Blog to view notes on this year’s rich study of the animals http://passovervillage.blogspot.com/

LOCATION: This year we will be returning to the Angeles National Forest (specific location with registration), a pleasant drive about 90 minutes from Los Angeles and less than an hour via a two-lane paved highway (HWY 2) from the La Canada-Flintridge area.  The group camp at 5000' elevation is similar in amenities to our site in Joshua Tree (which was at 3000' elevation) but in the forest vs. the desert.  Any passenger car can easily make the trip as the elevation gain is very gradual and the road is in good condition (and if your car made it up the steep grades from Palm Springs to Yucca Valley, it will be just fine here).  Bonus features include running water available right in the kitchen area and a large communal fire circle.  And, there's a great spot for our community mishkan (tent). 


* As mentioned above, our group site has running water in the kitchen area. 

* Multiple picnic tables and a community barbecue pit  

* Pit toilet in a weather-protected brick building

There are sites for individual tents scattered throughout the group site.

* This is a family-friendly site, however it is in the National Forest and precautions are advised for the occasional bear (not as likely during our busy season, but possible).

* As mentioned above, this site is NOT a very short drive from stores, motels or B&B accommodations.  While these are available in La Canada/Flintridge, note that each trip to or from the Village site will require a 45-minute drive each way and is not recommended.

* Exact location and directions will be provided after registration.  Please don't plan to "just drop by."

ACCESSIBILITY: The campground is accessible via road. The outhouses meet ADA requirements for accessibility. Most of the campsite is sandy or loose soil, making wheelchair mobility difficult. But as during our exodus from Egypt, when the infirm and disabled were carried, we will accommodate special needs.

UPDATED COST FOR 2015: To encourage participation of families with children, this year our requested donation is $80 for adults (13-and-over), while children 12 and under will be free! Following the tradition of "Let all who are hungry come and eat," no one will be turned away for lack of funds.  Firewood will be provided for us by Michael and Sandra so no need to purchase and transport one bundle per person as before!  Thanks, Michael and Sandra!

MEALS: Meals provided by Passover Village will be "kosher-style" and free from leaven. Vegetarian options will be available. Let us know of any other dietary limitations.

Friday Night: An outreach to Villagers who might like to coordinate a Shabbat meal and/or service will be forthcoming.

Saturday Night: Catered Seder meal

Other Meals and Snacks: Bring food and kitchen/cooking items for your own enjoyment. (Meal-time sharing is encouraged.)

We agree to respect and care for ourselves, each other, the community and the land. To safeguard the freedom and sanctity of time and space in the Passover Village, the Leadership Council has endeavored to balance the needs of individuals with those of the community. To that end, the following updates are effective with Passover Village 2013.

By registering for this retreat, attendees also agree to the following:

Photography and Recordings:

-- When we are gathered In Community with a common focus, or "In Session," put away cameras and recording devices.
-- When we are not gathered as a focused community, having lunch, talking with others, etc., photos and recording are allowed within bounds of respect, privacy and permission: Be discrete, non-intrusive, and respectful of all participants when taking any photographs or recording; some may prefer not to be photographed or recorded at all.
-- Do not publish photos or recordings in public media
-- If unsure about a photo or recording, do not take or publish it.
Personal Displays and Self Promotion:
In the spirit of a retreat, so that we might leave behind the things of the day to day world, please do not bring personal displays or promotional items into community areas.
Thank you!

REGISTRATION: Send the following:

1 .Payment (requested contribution is $80/adult or child 13-and-over; children 12-and-under free)

2. The name, phone number, and email address of each adult being registered

3. The name and ages of any children aged 17-and-under, and the name of the adult registrant who will be responsible for each child.

4. The number and description of vehicles.

5. The date and time you plan to arrive.

6. Seder meal preference for each person:  
     Vegetarian, Chicken, Fish or all of the above?

7. Make checks payable to LARRY RICHARD

8. Mail to:     Larry Richard
                    2118 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 594
                    Santa Monica, CA 90403

(Larry's cell:  310-560-6004)

* Must be received by March 20th to confirm your space.
* Includes all camping fees and catered Seder meal.
* Genuine financial hardship should not keep you from attending.  Please let us know how you can contribute

Carpooling encouraged; tell us if you can offer or need a ride.
Parking is limited in the group site parking lot.  
Overflow parking is available nearby.

LEADERSHIP: Throughout the year, a Leadership Council -- with help and input from other community members -- keeps alive the spirit of Passover Village and plans and organizes our gatherings. Members of the Leadership Council have taken on facilitation of various aspects of Passover Village (with some others' tasks to be decided):
  • Dan Brumer
  • Laurie Burton
  • Michael Chusid
  • Sandra Goodman
  • Larry Richard
  • Devorah Miriaam Cohen 
  • Avram Wagman
  • Marc Weigensberg
VOLUNTEERING: It takes a village to make a village. Will you help organize or lead…?:

Baking matzah
Making haroset
Assembling the Seder plate
Bringing music, song, and ruach (spirit)
Preparing a teaching, creative activity, or ritual
Planning a meditation walk
Mentoring our "young warriors" or engaging with Village Kids
Bringing the fruit of the vine
Leading part of Seder
Repairing tent
or whatever your calling.

The Passover Village will offer a chance to immerse and spend time in these ancient forms as we recreate aspects of the Exodus, celebrate community and share in the traditional "non-traditional, expanded, experimental, enhanced and engaging Passover Village Seder!"  We invite you to revisit the excellent study notes posted by Marc throughout the year to begin your Passover Village experience right away!    You will find them elsewhere in the blog pages.

Michael at (818) 219-4937

Larry at (310) 560-6004

NOTICE: Outdoors activities and camping are inherently dangerous. By participating you agree to accept all risks to yourself and property, and to hold harmless the organizers of and participants in Passover Village.

Revised 2015-02-19 Dan B.


What Happens When the Trees Die?

“What happens when the trees die?”
February 7, 2015

Gathering for study a few days after Tu’B’shvat, fruit, nuts, wine encircling our altar, check-ins turned to encompass our relation to the trees, and by extension, to other parts of the natural world.  People spoke of the trees in their yards, the threat of death that the cottonwood trees of the Rio Grande face because of climate change and the lack of adequate flooding of the flood plain, the understanding our ancestors had that you plant trees for future generations not for immediate gain, and the blight that so many of our local trees face.  And we heard of visitations from the animal world: the blue jay arriving in 2 days (or was it 3 days?) at the offering made of bird food in the back yard; the mountain lion coming around; others.

Rather than going right into text study after check-ins, the discussion continued with personal stories, observations, and questions.  And more questions.  The trees are the lungs of the planet.  What happens when the trees die and there’s not enough oxygen to breathe?  What is the role of the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam?  How do we respond?  Do we respond?  Will the “market forces” take care of it in the end, or do the market forces represent a non-benevolent force that should not be allowed to run it’s course?  Do we choose blessings or curses?  Are we engulfed in the pessimism of how we are leaving the planet for our grandchildren, or do we have an optimism that things will work out for them? 

How do we change our minds? How do I change myself?  The question arose during the discussion of the drought, attempts at water conservation, the recognition that most of the water use is through agriculture (e.g. do you know how many gallons of water it takes to export almonds?), rather than being determined by personal use of individuals.  So does it really matter if we personally don’t flush the toilet every time, or take shorter showers?  Do we live in a blessed time, whereby humans have figured out how to feed the masses through large agri-business?  Or are we cursed due to our disconnection from our own food sources?  What is your relation to the chicken on your dinner plate?  What is the mind frame that our ancestors had, when one raised the animals and the plants that later were served at the table?  How does that alter one’s consciousness and relation to earth and spirit, compared to bopping into Ralphs to pick up some chicken for dinner?  What is the difference in one’s mind, in one’s being, between observing the laws of kashrut when it comes to killing the animal you yourself have raised, compared to purchasing a lamb roast at the kosher market?  What does it mean to change your mind, and how can that possibly change the magnitude of what is happening in the greater culture?  Or by changing our minds, is there a ripple that goes out to those we contact, such as our students, patients, co-workers, and then those they contact, and ultimately things undergo major shift?

How does our situation on the planet compare to the concepts of complexity theory – are we bubbling and churning in a field of chaos and turmoil, approaching a quantum frame shift into another field entirely?  Isn’t that what is described in the opening verses of the book of B’ray’sheet (Genesis) – the bubbling and turmoil of Tohu v’vohu, followed by the shefa of light that changed everything?   Or at the moment on the shore of Red Sea – leaving the chaos and confusion of the narrow way of living in Mitzrayim,  but facing . . . what?   The step with pure faith into a new way of being offered the only way out.  Every Shabbat we read the words that Shabbat is about remembering the original Creation, AND the going out of Egypt.  Is the world now approaching a Y’hi Ohr / Red Sea moment?  Will we have the courage to take the step into the water?

Questions, more questions. Can we live a life of blessing?  This is Jewish mindfulness.  Everything is blessed.  The Zohar says, take every action by first creating a space for God to fill so that when you raise your hand to strike someone you must ask, “Would the Divine Presence strike this person in this way?” or when you comfort someone with a hand on the shoulder, it is empowered with Divine Comfort.  An old siddur, handed down through the family, pages yellowed and ragged, listing a blessing for every scenario.  The prayer on seeing trees and animal:

Source of Blessing are You, Infinite Being, our Wellspring of Creation, Teacher of the hidden worlds that such as this exists in the world.

A question: what does this week’s Torah portion have to do with Tu’Bishvat?  This week’s Parshat Ha Shavuah is Yitro (Jethro), the giving of the 10  Instructions.  “I have carried you to Me on the wings of Eagles (or Vultures?)”, to witness, each and every one of you, the revelation of how to live a life of consciousness and justice in relation to Spirit and fellow beings.  Then, after revelation, climb the altar of earth, get back to the earth, get back to living as a human.  There is no need to meditate only for the sake of achieving understanding of the Divine, or how we were before we came to this physical plane.  But rather to bring that consciousness back into this world, that avodah (sacred service) is about sewing the mitzvot into this physical world. 

The disconnection of the Jewish people from the earth and the land, a result of our being forcibly exiled from our earth-based practices to a religion of prayer and thought.  This makes it possible that the cantor in a synagogue does not even know that there are olive trees on the synagogue property.  Can we return to a state of being in right relation with the earth and beings around us?  Can we take the rote prayers, learn them, transform them (as each Sefirah does with the Presence it receives) and let them flow from our hearts in a new way?   A chant:  Aitzim Zaitim Omdim – the olive trees are standing. 

Finally, we get to the text of Perekh Shirah:
Trees of the field declare: “Then shall the trees of the forest sing before Infinite Being” (1 Chron 16:33)
Vine declares:  “This is what Infinite Being says – Just like when fresh wine is found in the cluster, people would protest ‘Don’t destroy it, for it holds blessing’, so too will I act” (Isaiah 65:8)

Next gathering: Saturday March 7, at Devorah’s.  We invite all in the PV community who wish to take part In planning this year’s event to come.  Brief Torah study (~1/2 hour), then an hour of planning, then a pot luck lunch.