"Hineni" in hebrew means "Here I am"  This Hebrew word appears in the Bible when our ancestors and prophets faced pivotal moments in their life when they were called to take on a personal and powerful call to leadership and action.

As your children grow into more independence, do you desire to provide them with tools to navigate their future? Would you like to enable them to not only live full, happy lives, but to be powerful agents of change in a world so in need of repair? How can we mentor teens’ ‘ here’ and their ‘I am’ to stand proudly with their ancestor to bravely declare “Hineni?”


Hineni Passages invites families with youth ages 12-15 through an adventure experience exploring the ancient technologies of their ancestors, through wilderness connection experience and skills building. Our ancestors traveled for thousands of years seeking guideposts for moral and spirit-based connection to time, land and community. Our program invites teens and families to reconnect with the traditions of the Jewish people while embarking on the challenging task of engaging whole-heartedly with the wilderness and each other. Through this work, teens have the opportunity to discover out who they really are, and what strengths they have that may guide them in the world ahead.

We weave these Jewish themes into our exploratory 4 hour wilderness programs. Our staff use the curricular framework taught by the Wilderness Torah Leadership Institute. 
Themes of  Youth Program
1 Makom:  Connection to Place
2 Hineni: Accepting Leadership
3 Shema: Practice of Oneness/ Mindfulness  
4 Teshuva: Self Growth and Forgiveness
5 Mitzvot: Acts of connection to other people, the tradition and the world  
6 Craft : cultivating inspiration and motivation to create
7 Tikkun Olam:  Serving the World as Agents of Change  
8 Shabbat : Finding balance, priority and rest in this busy world

Family Curriculum (tentative)
-Committing to Mitzvot  / service and volunteer projects.
- Oral history sharing / exploration of personal family tradition/ oral heirlooms
- Our relationship with Time  
- Rites of Passage Planning Meeting parents

Wilderness Skills Developed ( Based on Youth interest)Tracking, Sit spots, Archery, Edible Identification, Fire Starting, basket Making, Bowl and Spoon Making,  Orienteering,  

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Registration is open and closes October 8th. Youth classes meet outside once a month on Sundays from 1-5 pm in all weather primarily on the Living Tree Alliance Land in Moretown, VT. Click here to view our schedule. Shuttle options are available from Chittenden and Addison Counties.  Family and or parent evenings meet every other month in TBD locations.

The cost of the program is $500 and does not include a Rites of Passage ceremony.

We are committed to working with families to create ceremony appropriate to their family’s spirituality, tradition and the process of each teen’s identity formation.  We prefer a model where we mentor parents to work alongside their teens to develop a plan. We create our program in order to challenge youth past their edges to a place of increased confidence, self knowledge and connection to their ancestry.  We are able to partner with local Rabbis to offer more traditional options for Bar/ Bat Mitzvah ceremony if that is chosen by the family. 

We would love to meet for coffee and talk about our new program! Contact Melanie Kessler, program director at 802 503 9774 or email bikingmelanie@gmail.com