Camp Nirkoda Ba'Kerem
Camp Nirkoda Ba'Kerem
An Israeli dance and wine tasting adventure!
October 27-30, 2022
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!
Our community's health and safety is a top concern, but please understand that the Israeli dance camp environment has inherent risk. At 6 of the 7 camps between December and May, there were cases of COVID transmission. We cannot eliminate that risk, but in order to curtail it, participants must follow these rules, which are subject to change with the evolving situation:
- Vaccination. All dancers will be required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, initial series plus one booster.
- As of June 7, the CDC is currently recommending a second booster for people over age 50 and those who are immunocompromised. In the interest of avoiding age-based requirements to attend camp, NBK is not requiring a second booster, but we strongly encourage people in these categories to follow the CDC recommendation.
- Exceptions. Exceptions may be granted, in writing only, on a case-by-case basis at the sole discretion of the director. Justification for exceptions are limited, but may include proof of recent recovery, initial series was less than 6 months before camp, or a letter from a MD saying vaccination is contraindicated. You must contact Aaron to request an exception.
- Testing. All dancers will be required to test prior to arrival at camp, either with a PCR test no more than 72 hours before arrival, or a rapid antigen test no more than 24 hours before arrival. You may provide a lab report or photo of your rapid antigen test upon arrival.
- Masks. We expect that masks will be optional. However, we will follow federal, state, and local rules at the time of camp. (Last year, the state surprised us by implementing a mask mandate 3 days before camp.)
- For those who prefer to eat outdoors, there will be tables on the patio next to propane heaters. Weather permitting, we will also hold our wine tasting in an indoor/outdoor hybrid format, with heaters in the outdoor space.
- Guidelines subject to change. We understand the uncertainty and fluidity of these guidelines are unsettling. However, by signing up, all dancers agree to follow whatever those rules are. Dancers who are unwilling to comply with the COVID-19 rules at the time of camp will not be able to attend and are not entitled to a refund. If you have questions, feel free to reach out.
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"
- Digital pass, such as Apple Wallet, Google Wallet, Clear Health Pass
- Pretty much any form of proof as long as it is reliable, has your name and the date of vaccinations
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
- Text or WhatsApp a photo or PDF of the proof to Aaron
- Show the physical card or document, or a photo of it, to Aaron Alpert or Beth Dayen prior to camp
In order to avoid issues with documentation, we ask you to send your proof as early as possible, and no later than Oct. 13. For your privacy, we will not keep copies of your documentation, but rather we will mark next to your name that we verified your proof.
Meet the Staff
Yaron Carmel is one of the best-regarded teachers in the Israeli folk dance world! He started dancing at the age of 8, and hasn't stopped since then. He performed with Dado Kraus's troupe and danced at sessions led by Meir Shem-Tov, Shuki Terem, and Beber Shushan. Just after completing his military service, he opened his first harkada in 1995 in Karmiel, followed by Mayaan Tzvi and Misgav. Today, he runs five weekly sessions, marthons, special events, and an annual trip to Masada, as well as having been a guest teacher at camps all over the world for more than 20 years!
Chen Blum brings unparalleled energy and impeccable style to the dance floor. Born in Israel, he began folk dancing at age 7, and he danced with Dado Kraus, Shlomo Maman, Yonaton Karmon, and others, but he soon entered the world of professional dance. After high school, he studied with the Contemporary Ballet of Caracas, Venezuela, subsequently performing with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and in professional productions, such as the Cameri Theather's The Producers. Today, he lives in Santiago, where he directs the local folk dance department and Camp Chile Rokedet. He is the choreographer of Ivdu Et Hashem Besimcha, Kol Paamonim, and more.
Her Excellency, Latishya Steele, PhD, returns as our Mistress of the Computer, our Granter of Requests, our Voice Upon the Microphone — in other words, our incomparable DJ and assistant director. 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 leaders of the Nirkoda Le'Chayim session in Northern California, where she showcases her incredibly deep repertoire and 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! A second-generation dancer, he was dancing before he could walk. He started teaching in 2007 at the UC Berkeley DeCal class, and then started branching out to the other Bay Area dance events. Today, he runs Nirkoda Le'Chayim with Latishya 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||Regular|
|Dormitory (details) — Up to 10 people (same sex), communal bathroom down the hall, individuals only|
|Student — Enrolled full time, up to age 25||$335||$365|
|Basic Hotel (details) — Private bath, individuals or couples, slightly older and smaller|
|Basic Hotel — double occupancy||$580||$635|
|Basic Hotel — single occupancy||$1160||$1270|
|Deluxe Hotel (details) — Private bath, individuals or couples, recently remodeled, beautifully appointed with modern furniture||Deluxe Hotel — quad occupancy||$530||$580|
|Deluxe Hotel — triple occupancy||$575||$630|
|Deluxe Hotel — double occupancy||$625||$690|
|Deluxe Hotel — single occupancy||$1250||$1380|
To receive the early bird price, you must be paid in full by August 28, 2022.
Most prices have changed only $5 or $10 since 2021. However, the single occupancy rooms are offered at twice the price of the doubles. This is because the number of rooms is very limited, and we want to strongly encourage everyone to take a roommate.
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), which you can indicate on the registration form.
Access to all Israeli dance and other camp activities (games, Shabbat services, etc.) is included.
We also include linens, daily towel exchange, and hotel-like amenities (soap, shampoo). For those in the hotels, there is also a Keurig and mini-fridge. The Wonder Valley staff is very accommodating , so if you need anything, just call the front desk!
All levels include our signature wine tasting experience. Camp Nirkoda Ba'Kerem's wine expert has chosen several excellent vintages for you to sample as our sommeliers help 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.
We are working on creating a camp t-shirt. It will not be included with the price of admission, but can be purchased online before camp.
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. There will not be a pre-party this year.
Driving: Wonder Valley is a pleasant 3 hour drive east from Silicon Valley. We encourage you to carpool, and we will even help to arrange carpools. For electric vehicles, there are ChargePoint Level 2 charging stations available. Rates are 32¢ per kWh with an additional 50¢ per hour if plugged in for more than 10 hours.
Flying: 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 ($85 round trip or $55 one way, per person), you can take a cab / Uber / Lyft (about $35 each way), or you can arrange for another dancer to pick you up on the way. In order to assist you in arranging your own carpools, we will set up Google Groups based on the different regions / airports that people are coming from.
All participants must sign a waiver of liability. To confirm your reservation, a deposit of $100/person is needed within 2 weeks of registering. To receive the Early Bird price, full payment is due by August 28, 2022. Full payment for all participants is due by September 28, 2022, and failure to pay the full amount by that date will result in the loss of your reservation as well as forfeiture of all deposit payments. Requests for cancellation must be made in writing no later than September 28, 2022, and are subject to a $100/person cancellation fee. After September 28, 2022, no refunds will be made for any reason, including a change in the COVID-19 safety rules. Registrations are non-transferable.
Exceptions for COVID-19: If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, 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).