The Art of Improvement

by Richard Patrych The main theme I’ve noticed in my life since I’ve been in the Tivnu Gap Year is improvement, in many different aspects. While it’s only been 7 weeks since we arrived in Portland,  it is promising to see my personal maturity grow exponentially. Living with 7 other teenagers helps you become a more responsible person because not only do you want to do the right thing for yourself, but you don’t want to be the one that messed up either. So you take action, and soon stuff like doing your dishes and cleaning the living room become second ...

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Dvar Torah for Sukkot

דבר תורה של סוכות by Judah Drelich A long time ago there was a rainy town (much like Portland) that had a Jewish community. As the calendar turned to fall it came time to build a סוכה (sukkah) for the holiday of סוכות (sukkot). When יום כיפור ended, the community gathered all of the wood, nails, fabric, and decorations and assembled it all in a big field and put in the first nail. The next day a large group of the community came to assemble the סוכה. To their dismay they were met by the town cynic. The cynic scolded the townspeople ...

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A Week at the Construction Site

by Reuben Dreiblatt Weekly Recap Monday: We had our individual internships at local non-profits until around 12:30.  I have been interning with Sisters of the Road, a local cafe that seeks to create a "space to build community, empower ourselves, learn from one another, dine with dignity and organize for justice and human rights for all".  Once we returned from our internships, we journeyed over to the Rebuilding Center.  The Rebuilding Center is “the regions largest volume of used building and remodeling materials”. We were there to look around and start ...

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Dignity Village and the Power of Community

by Billy Bloomberg Last Sunday, the group loaded up the van and headed to Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is a small coastal town similar to most in New Jersey, where I come from, with its strip of stores selling key chains, buckets, and various nick-knacks.  Josh, Reuben, and I stopped in a seafood and burger place where we ate lunch and watched the Pacific. After lunch we drove south along the coast to Cannon Beach. As we walked toward Haystack Rock, a few of us found a nice spot to lay out in the sun. While the rest of the group took a nap I decide to build a sand castle. ...

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Thoreau Was Right!

by Richard Patrych Ah, camping… A word that rattles everyone’s minds when it is brought up. In our fast paced society, many of us aren’t fond of spending our days without technology or a warm bed to sleep in. Not to mention the hectic food preparations with only a camping stove. Tivnu’s camping trip was different though. It was a genuinely enjoyable and definitely a worthwhile experience. The 9 of us on the Gap Year program had not had much time yet to bond, so we were all skeptical of spending 4 nights together in an unfamiliar setting (most of us aren’t ...

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The Camping Experience I Never Had

by Shoshana Sefia What struck me about going on Tivnu’s camping trip was that I originally thought it would be extremely difficult.  I thought we’d have to sleep on the ground, or fish for your own food.  Because this is a gap year program focused on construction work and building, I had imagined camping in a much harder way. But oddly enough, camping came much easier than I had expected. Our group of twelve people had our own cute campsite full of tents, cooking materials, and a nice open cabin to hibernate in.  Oh boy, was I looking forward to this trip! ...

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Week One

by Baye Miller The hectic nature of traveling cross-country mixed with the fear and nervousness associated with moving into a new phase of your life made for both a physically and emotionally exhausting day. My shoulders immediately relaxed at the sight of Steve’s (Tivnu’s founder) warm smile and sleeveless shirt. After speaking with Steve on the phone and emailing with him back and forth, he was exactly what I had expected. The friendly New York Jew whose kindhearted and warm spirit called him towards the unbelievably friendly city of Portland, Oregon. After ...

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9 participants. 6 states represented. 1 house to host them all.

  by Nomi Small It's the first week ever of the Tivnu: Building Justice Gap Year Program. The above statistics are a snapshot of the demographics of the group. We come from different types of schools, different regions of the country, we’ve got different areas of interest, and we have all chosen to try something new. Together. Where does our new adventure start? Well aside from bonding with each other over the commonalities we’re discovering from our seemingly different lives, we’ve been exploring Portland, Oregon. Yes, we’ve had a scavenger hunt to ...

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A Warm Welcome

By Talia Myers I was one of the last people to land in Portland so when I first arrived at Shaarie Torah, I didn’t know what to expect. But when I walked in, I felt an instant sense of relief, because everyone was so inviting and friendly. When I didn’t know where to sit, one of the girls sensed my hesitation and right away yelled out for me to come sit next to her. I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome to J-Build Portland. The next morning was our first day of work, and we spent the day constructing and setting up rain beds at a Habitat for Humanity...

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Building Communities

By Tamar Palgon and Elliot Bromberg (Written following the conclusion of week 1) During our first week on AJSS, our group worked with City Repair to help build mini libraries. The libraries were constructed  out of recycled wood and windows, and contained shelves in which books will be placed for people of different communities to enjoy and share. Anyone can take or leave a book in these boxes, and the hope is that these libraries will help facilitate interaction among neighbors, helping turn neighborhoods into communities. After we built the libraries, we set ...

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