Camp Nirkoda Ba'Kerem
Camp Nirkoda Ba'Kerem
An Israeli dance and wine tasting adventure!
December 16-19, 2021
Wonder Valley Ranch Resort,
Sanger, California (near Fresno)
Photos from Nirkoda Ba'Kerem 2019!
What is Nirkoda Ba'Kerem?
Set in the lush landscape of a private ranch, Nirkoda Ba'Kerem is all about community. Come join your friends — some you've known for years, and some you've yet to meet — for a fun-filled weekend of nonstop Israeli dancing located at the beautiful Wonder Valley. We'll enjoy the benefits of California's famous vineyards by incorporating a wine tasting adventure during the camp! Excellent wine and fantastic Israeli Dancing—what could be better?! Don't miss it!
All dancers will be required to provide proof of vaccination in order to attend. We hope that masks will be optional, but we will rely on state and county rules at the time of camp. We do not anticipate any other pandemic-related modifications, and we plan to have partner dancing. If the situation changes, we will follow guidance from the state and county.
Accepted preventative measures
Full vaccination with the Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, or Astra-Zeneca SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. You must complete the final dose at least 2 weeks before arriving at camp.
Previously, our policy would have allowed people with a negative Covid test to attend, but this is no longer the case. With the prevalence of the Delta variant, we feel the risk is too high. Also, we will not accept proof of a prior infection and recovery (i.e., antibodies).
Accepted forms of proof
- CDC vaccination card
- Government-issued document (e.g., California DPH's digital vaccine record)
- Hospital- or healthcare provider-issued record
- Israeli "green pass"
- Pretty much any form of proof as long as it is reliable, has your name and the date of vaccination / test
How to submit proof
- Upload a photo or PDF of the proof on the registration form
- Email a photo or PDF of the proof to us
- Show the physical card or document, or a photo of it, to Aaron Alpert or Beth Dayen prior to camp
- Show the physical card or document, or a photo of it, to Beth Dayen when you arrive at camp
We are discouraging the last method, in case there is an issue with the document. For your privacy, we will not keep facsimiles of your documentation, but rather we will mark next to your name that we verified your proof.
Meet the Staff
Michael Barzelai has created some of the most popular dances in the last couple of years — Normali, Aneni, Resisim, Be'chayai, Yahalomim, Shneinu, La Trompeta, Ha'or Min Heharim, and many others. Despite being only 30, Michael has a vast repertoire, both new and old, Ashkenazi and Mizrachi, popular and obscure. Beyond his fantastic choreography and dancing, he's just incredibly friendly and boundlessly energetic, and we are so excited that he will be part of our Ba'Kerem community this year!
Yaron Elfasy is the choreographer of dances including Mor Ve'Kinamon, Eich Efshar Shelo, Ohev Lihiyot Ba'bayit, and Kanfe Ha'ruach. He can do it all: circles, partners, and yes, lines! He spends the summers teaching dance to the kids at Camp Szarvas in Hungary, always with a big smile and tons of ruach. Yaron is part of an Israeli dance dynasty; his four children are all dancers, and his father was the legendary Moti Elfasy, creator of El Ha'derech, Al Kanfe Ha'kesev, Lo Na'atzor, and more.
Latishya Steele returns as our Mistress of the Computer, our Granter of Requests, our Voice Upon the Microphone — in other words, our incomparable DJ. She will keep you on your feet all night long — and well into the morning! Latishya started her dancing career in Boston and Chicago, and she is now one of the Bay Area's favorite teachers and programmers, with an incredibly deep repertoire and a talent for keeping the party going.
Aaron Alpert is your camp director and host for the weekend. His main job is to ensure that you're having an awesome time! He's been teaching, running sessions, and organizing workshops in the Bay Area for 12 years. Along with Latishya, he runs Nirkoda Le'Chayim every Thursday in Palo Alto. Let him know if there's anything that can make your camp experience better.
Housing Options and Prices
Please click on the detailed housing descriptions for more information and photos.
|Housing Level||Early bird
(by Oct. 16)
Up to age 25, in dorms of up to 10 people (same sex), individuals only
Up to 10 people (same sex), dorm style bathroom, individuals only
|Basic Hotel — double (details)
Two people, private bath, individuals or two couples with prior arrangement, slightly older and smaller than the Deluxe Hotel
|Deluxe Hotel — quad (details)
Four people, private bath, individuals or two couples with prior arrangement, recently remodeled, beautifully appointed with modern furniture
|Deluxe Hotel — double (details)
Two people, private bath, individuals or couples, recently remodeled, beautifully appointed with modern furniture
A small number of single rooms may be available in the basic and deluxe hotels. Because our capacity constraint is the number of hotel rooms, singles are significantly more expensive. Please ask our registration team about availability and pricing.
In order to foster the growth of a cohesive, unified, consistent community for the weekend, we do not offer partial registration (e.g., two-nights only, just the evening parties).
Scholarships are available! They are available on a first come, first served basis. Ask Aaron what is available. Exact amounts will depend on financial need and dancer age (we want to support our youngest dancers).
If you want to help young people come to camp by donating money or other items (such as airline miles), you can do so on your registration form, or let us know by email.
The prices above include all meals (Thursday dinner to Sunday breakfast) and snacks. Meals are kosher-style (no pork, no mixed meat / milk, no shellfish). The camp can accommodate most dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free). For those requiring certified kosher meals, that can be arranged for a surcharge. Ask the registration team about kosher menus and pricing.
Access to all Israeli dance and other camp activities (games, Shabbat services, etc.) is included.
All levels include our signature wine tasting experience. Camp Nirkoda Ba'Kerem's wine experts have chosen several local vintages for you to sample as our sommelier helps you to identify the subtle flavors of each wine. For those participants who do not drink, we will have a simultaneous fancy non-alcoholic beverage tasting. All dancers have the opportunity to evaluate their favorites and to enjoy the hors d'oeuvres selected for their harmonious pairing with the wines.
Schedule of Events
The full, detailed schedule will be released as we get closer to the event, but to give you a general sense of what's going to happen...
|Morning||Learn new dances||Review dances that we taught|
Learn a few more
|Breakfast and goodbyes|
|Afternoon||Registration and welcome session||Specialty sessions (e.g., horas, partners, cardio,...)||Specialty sessions (e.g., oldies, debkas, international,...)|
|Evening||First dance party (until ~2 AM)||Shabbat|
Second dance party (until ~4 AM)
Third dance party (until ???)
Note that we are aiming to learn approximately 8 dances over the course of the weekend.
Wonder Valley is a pleasant 3 hour drive east from Silicon Valley, and we encourage you to carpool, and we will even help to arrange carpools. For those coming from out-of-town, you probably want to consider San Jose Airport (SJC) or San Francisco International (SFO). SJC is about 30 minutes closer, but SFO has more flights. Oakland (OAK) is also possible. There is also a small regional airport, Fresno Yosemite International (FAT), which is a 35 minute drive from the camp, but there are fewer flight options. From FAT, Wonder Valley offers a shuttle for a fee, you can take a cab / Uber / Lyft, or you can arrange for another dancer to pick you up on the way. We are happy to help dancers find carpools — save gas and make a new friend on the way to camp!
All participants must sign a waiver of liability. A deposit of $100/person is needed to confirm your reservation. To receive the Early Bird price, full payment is due by October 16, 2021. Full payment for all participants is due by November 16, 2021, and failure to pay the full amount by that date will result in the loss of your reservation as well as forfeiture of all payments. Requests for cancellation must be made in writing no later than November 16, 2021, and are subject to a $100/person cancellation fee. After November 16, 2021, no refunds will be made.
Exceptions for Covid-19: If you experience Covid-19 symptoms, receive a Covid-19 diagnosis, or are exposed to someone diagnosed with Covid-19, do not come to camp. In this case, you will receive a full refund regardless of the dates in the previous paragraph, provided you provide sufficient documentation.
We accept credit card via the online registration form, with a 3% processing fee. You can also submit check or cash payments.
No pets or other animals may be brought to camp (except service animals).