Taking Judaism Camping With You


Are you a camping family?Shabbat Camping - A Wonderful Experience

During these last weeks of summer, many families pack up the tent and head out of town. 

We did just that when our girls were younger, the trunk stuffed with our old, beat-up, green Coleman stove (remember those?), foam pads for under our sleeping bags, and tin mess kits – the ones that nestle plates and a cup into a small space.

Once (only once!), we also took our sweet, galumphing Golden Retriever with us.

Shabbat Camping

So when I came across “Friday Night: Camping Out Shabbat Style” by Rachel Teichman, originally posted at kveller.com, I was fascinated by her creativity.

  1. Rachel brought Shabbat candles, a bottle of grape juice and fresh challah.  The idea of lighting Shabbat candles at your campsite – absolutely inspired!
  2. Because she knew her children loved to make mint tin mezuzahs to protect their home, they brought a decorated tin on their camping trip – to allow her daughter, Nina, to protect their tent. Fabulous!
  3. To make the requisite s’mores more Jewish, they brought Kosher marshmallows topped with toasted coconut – the kind we had only during Passover.
  4. And finally, they brought their PJ Library books as bedtime reading.

Judaism and Nature

What could be a better environment for Shabbat peace, family time, relaxing, and laughing together?

Right outside your tent, you’ve got forest trails to explore, leaves to examine, birds and squirrels to watch.

For our family, the joy of camping was in eliminating life’s distractions and focusing on the basics: setting up the tent, hiking, eating meals at a picnic table, cleaning up, going to bed. Repeat.

Our tradition teaches us to appreciate beauty all around us. If we add a few Jewish traditions to our camping, we are weaving the love of Judaism with the love of family and of nature.

Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult;

Let the sea and all within it thunder,

The fields and everything in them exult;

Then shall all the trees of the forest shout for joy

At the presence of Adonai . . .

–          Psalm 96

bRachel didn’t tell us if they were still camping come Saturday evening. But imagine a Havdalah ceremony as the sun sets.  We’ll talk about that more in a future post.


What are Your Camping Memories?

Share your family camping stories – either from your childhood or with your kids.

And please share with your camping friends.


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