Yibaneh Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about the Apprenticeship
Where will I live, what does my living situation look like, and is the Communal House Kosher?
Apprentices will live in a house adjacent to the Pearlstone property. The house has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and will be shared by eight apprentices. Apprentices should expect to have roommates. The basement of the house is rented to a full-time tenant.
Yes, the Communal House is Kosher and vegetarian. We realize there is a spectrum of the way people observe kashrut and as such have implemented a kashrut policy based on the input of many staff and community members over the years. Though Pearlstone’s dining hall is supervised by the OU, the house is not.
What will we eat?
Apprentices will prepare their own food together in the communal house. The apprenticeship community will have a shared budget for food for cooperative shopping as well as Kosher organic farm-to-table produce from our farm. Apprentices will also enjoy the staff lunch that is provided Sundays-Thursdays in Pearlstone’s dining hall. The staff lunch may not be strictly vegetarian but options generally exist to maintain a vegetarian or vegan diet based on the variety of offerings in the dining hall.
Do I need a car?
If you have a car, feel free to bring it to Pearlstone! Our campus is about 20 miles north of Baltimore City and there's plenty of shopping and restaurants close-by, so many have found it helpful to have a car when living here. If you don't have a car, that's fine too!
Can my friends come to visit?
Guests are welcome to come and visit, stay with you, and volunteer on the farm. Our first priority however is the safety and comfort of those living and working at Pearlstone. All guests need to be approved in advance by the apprenticeship coordinator and discussed with the apprentice community. If community members are uncomfortable with a guest, s/he may be asked to leave. Guests may only stay for up to 4 consecutive nights.
I’m not very religious. Will I feel comfortable at Pearlstone?
We pride ourselves on having a diverse and pluralistic Jewish community at Pearlstone. While we maintain a kashrut policy that we hope will please everyone, we are excited about the many different expressions of Judaism that come forth in a pluralist environment. If you are the type of person who is ok stepping a little bit outside of the box, learning new things, and being respectful of the way others practice even when it is different than you, then you will feel comfortable here.
To see pictures of the apprentice house click HERE
What will my work hours be and what will I be doing?
At Pearlstone, we strive to maintain an 8 hour work day, though hours may fluctuate based on the season. Furthermore, apprentices will have chores and responsibilities that extend beyond the standard work hours. In addition to work blocks, the workday may include educational workshops, community meeting, morning spiritual practice, and more. The work week will also fluctuate with on days and off days, i.e., in some months we work Sunday through Thursday and in other months we work Monday through Friday.
The apprenticeship program aims to integrate all aspects of Pearlstone’s work into the experience of its participants, though the majority of your work time will be spent on the farm or in the program department, depending on your track of choice. Apprentices will also work in the retreat center’s kitchen, with maintenance, campus, and with housekeeping. Pearlstone places a high value on collaboration, and as such, every member of the team often helps out in all different areas of the organization.
Do I get paid?
Apprentices will be paid for the work they perform. Bi-monthly paychecks will be issued. Apprentices are offered very reasonable room and board as well as a variety of learning/experiential opportunities including, for example, a Permaculture Design course (certification at completion), torah studies, environmental education classes, yoga, etc.
Do I get days off?
Apprentices work 5 days a week. For the most part this means either a Monday – Friday or Sunday – Thursday schedule. Apprentices will have be granted eight (8) personal/vacation days throughout the season. These days will generally be scheduled in advance for you. If you need additional or alternate days off, you will need to submit a leave request to your supervisor at least two weeks in advance for the days off you wish to take. Apprentices will receive all other benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with Pearlstone’s Employee Handbook.
To see a sample daily schedule, click HERE
Learning and Spiritual Opportunities:
What will I Learn?
As an apprentice you will participate in formal and informal educational experiences in Jewish learning, agricultural skills, educational programming, and more. These will include classes and workshops led by Pearlstone’s programming and farm staff as well as a host of Baltimore’s best Rabbis and educators. There will also be occasional field trips to local farms and educational sites. Participation in learning sessions is a vital but ultimately voluntary component of the apprenticeship.
What is Morning Spiritual Practice?
Each morning, as we rise together and prepare for the holy work of tending to the earth and tending to our souls, we have the opportunity to raise more than just our bodies, because collectively we are capable of raising the whole world. Morning Spiritual Practice is a unique opportunity for apprentices and members of the Pearlstone staff to come together and start their day in community with song, prayer, meditation, and reflection. Throughout the season, everyone will have multiple opportunities to lead this special time. With each community member’s leadership, we will encounter a new experience grounded in the framework of our ancient Jewish tradition.
What is a community meeting, what does that consist of?
Living in community is an incredible experience filled with joy and excitement, but it also takes work. Community meetings give the apprenticeship cohort the opportunity to work through issues that have arisen within the group, create space to talk about chores and responsibilities, and review the coming week’s schedule. These meetings are also an opportunity for us to check in with each other, share where we are, what is happening in our lives, and what support we may need from others.
What are Shabbat and Chagim (Jewish holidays) like at Pearlstone?
Shabbat is of great importance to us at Pearlstone. This sacred rest period nourishes our bodies and souls so that we can continue to do our work together building a more beautiful and sustainable world. Throughout the season, the apprentice community is encouraged to create for themselves rituals and practices for celebrating Shabbat. There will be community Shabbatot during which some Pearlstone staff will join the apprentice community to celebrate. Many holidays are a mix of work and rest, celebration, and worship. Apprentices are expected to work all Signature Immersive Retreats including Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. When working retreats, apprentices are invited to join retreat center meals.**
**Apprentices will need to pack their own lunches for Pesach camp.