Gap Year


Rip City

By Noah Jones   It's been four months now, and I can't believe how my perspective on life has changed for the better. Before moving to Portland for Tivnu, I lived in a suburb in Oak Park, IL. I am 19 years old, I have two younger brothers and both of my parents. My mom is Jewish, and my although my dad is not, my brothers and I were raised with a strong Jewish education. After graduating from high school I attended community college in Michigan and quickly realized that I was not prepared to further my education at that point in time. Since I knew I wouldn't be ...

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Winter Reflection

By Sophie Simpson Greetings from California! Over winter break, I’ve had some time to reflect on four months in Portland with Tivnu. I’m Sophie, the oldest Tivnunik in the program this year. I went to University for couple years before this program, but decided to take a break to do something a little different. Tivnu is the perfect fit! I am really enjoying my time in Portland. The Irvington neighborhood is home to beautiful scenery and extra perks like mini libraries and art boxes; perfect for walks and pictures. I absolutely love art and nature, so ...

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Giving Thanks, Among Other Things

By Anna Steckel, Tivnu Resident Advisor   ​It’s no secret that Portland is a rainy place. Around Thanksgiving, the days become shorter, colder, and more dreary and gray. The sidewalks are kaleidoscopic from shedding trees. Warm socks and fleeces are unearthed from the attic after being stashed away for summer. Your hands become perpetually glued to a warm cup of tea. Your raincoat comes to feel like another layer of skin. But you never take that umbrella out from the depths of the coat closet. Pro-Portlander tip from a local: Umbrellas are sure to divulge ...

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A Week With Yoni

By Yoni Vaknin   Hi! I'm Yoni and I'm from D.C. I graduated high school last year and decided I wanted to do Tivnu because it's a Jewish program that offers a chance to work with Habitat for Humanity. I wrote this post to give all of you readers an idea of what a typical week for me is like in Portland. On Monday we had our normal internships and in the afternoon Naomi Adiv came to talk to us about Urban Wealth & Poverty. She's a professor at Portland State University. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all learned more than we expected. ...

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The Thrill of the Build

By David Fresco Introduction by Anna Steckel Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the ReBuilding Center in Northeast Portland. After weaving my way through isles of refurbished doors and windows, baskets of miscellaneous appliances, and piles of mismatched house furnishings, I found the Tivnu construction crew. They were at the back, working away at their tiny house. Some were handling heavy machinery while others were working as a team to figure out what needed to be done next. They quickly saw me and ushered me over. Their faces lit up as they gave me a ...

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Shanah Tovah from Tivnu

By Sasha Pitkofsky Hello All. I hope everyone is having a sweet start to their new year. On Erev Rosh Hashanah we hosted a dinner with 19 people. It was very pleasant, although we ran out of grape juice. We got both Monday and Tuesday off. I was lucky enough to celebrate the holiday by attending services in the woods complete with a potluck and two golden retriever puppies. It was beautiful. On Tuesday night we walked to the bridge to do Taschlikh. After Rosh Hashana, I went back to work. Three days a week I work at Zenger Farms, an educational farm and CSA. ...

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First Threevnu Blogpost

By Ayla Landi Fontana My name is Ayla, and I am excited to be writing the first blog post of the year. I am one of the participants of the third year of Tivnu (aka Threevnu). We lovingly call ourselves Tivnoodles and our Madricha (advisor) calls us her Noodles. With all of the Tivnoodles running around the house, it’s always pretty energetic here. We’ve been getting acquainted with the organizations where we’ll intern, learning about affordable housing, exploring our neighborhood, and getting to know each other. I didn’t grow up in a practicing Jewish ...

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Goodbye and Thanks

By Max Drayer As you might know, this year's Tivnu gap year came to an end on Tuesday the 24th, so it’s time for the participants to go home. Although we are all sad that Tivnu is ending for us, it is time to go on with life. As the saying goes, the end is the beginning. We may be leaving Portland, but that does not mean our life is only just beginning: we choose where we go next.  During Tivnu, I made a lot of great memories. One of my favorite parts of Tivnu was all of the trips we took. Over Sukkot, we visited Opal Creek; it was very beautiful and the ...

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Tivnusletter: Becoming Part of the Tivnu Family

MALIA OBAMA IS COMING TO TIVNU? OK, so maybe Malia isn't signed up for Tivnu's gap year program (yet), but she and her parents have discovered the transformative possibilities of a gap year program. So have current Tivnu participants and their parents. Read here why Tivnu mom Beth "Missie" Polasky is jealous of her son Nadav's year with Tivnu. Read below for more first-person glimpses into the impact of the Tivnu gap year experience. TIVNU PARTICIPANTS AND THEIR PARENTS SAY... Dr. Susan Cohen, Mother of Sam I can honestly say our son is having an amazing ...

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Why I’m Jealous of My Son: Guest Post from a Tivnu Parent

by Beth “Missie” Polasky This might sound terrible, but I’m jealous of my son.  Nadav, 19, is part of the current Tivnu cohort (affectionately known as the Tivnoodles) and is having a wonderful year.  But enough about him (!) – this is about me, and my jealousy. Sam and I went out to Portland a few weeks ago to spend a few days with Nadav – to meet his friends, to see where he’s been working, and to explore some of his favorite spots in Portland with him. A little background: Sam and I each did a gap year – he represented Australian Habonim back in ...

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