Where can you do hands-on work for social justice in the morning, explore an ancient Jewish text in the afternoon, and celebrate Shabbat in the evening?

Tivnu at WorkTivnu is Hebrew for Build! At Tivnu, we build houses, build community, and build a better world. Tivnu: Building Justice is the only service learning organization that braids together direct service for the fulfillment of basic human needs, Jewish learning and living, and leadership development.

Tivnu, located in Portland, Oregon, offers one-day and one-week programs, summer programs, and a nine-month residential gap year experience for high school graduates, the first Jewish gap year in the United States.

Tivnu participants:

  • learn construction, advocacy, and community organizing skills
  • build affordable housing and/or engage in other direct-service work with non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, Street Roots, and PCUN, the Oregon Farmworkers’ Union
  • study Jewish texts and Jewish history to find out what they have to say about today’s most urgent social problems
  • examine the issues of affordable housing, food security, and other essential needs
  • explore their Jewish identity within a welcoming, pluralistic community

What our current gap year members have to say:

mitzva_corps_gardening_2014“Coming in, I could count the times I had used a hammer on one hand. I can write a whole essay just on my improved hammer skills. Working with Habitat for Humanity has been a blast.”

“Of all the financial benefit we have learned these houses give, we are building something even more important: the value of a good, safe, clean home.”

“This city is different from any other I’ve ever been to and exploring it together with my 8 newest friends is the best part of the adventure.”