Program Details

Location: Portland, OR

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Age 17– 20
  • High school diploma
  • Possess health insurance

2017 – 2018 Program Dates

  • Program begins: August 24th, 2017
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov 19 – 26, 2017
  • Winter Break: Dec 14, 2017 – Jan 8, 2018
  • Passover Break: Mar 29 – Apr 8, 2018
  • Program ends: May 24, 2018

View the Annual Calendar:

Jewish social justice gap year program annual schedule activities trips education


Housing: Tivnu provides housing for Gap Year participants in our own communal homes in one of Northeast Portland’s most vibrant neighborhoods. The Tivnu participants live close to shops, parks, restaurants, and entertainment. On-site residential advisor provides assistance and guidance.

Staff: Our  founder and Executive Director, Steve Eisenbach-Budner has decades of experience in construction training, education, and Jewish communal leadership.  Program Director Adinah Miller has an advanced degree from Yale in Judaic studies and spent 6 years as the Dean of Jewish Life at the American Hebrew Academy. Erik Brakstad, our Construction Trainer, has been a licensed general contractor for over 17 years and has many years’ experience as a leader and mentor of young adults.  Ellie Goldman, our Resident Advisor, is a graduate of Kalamazoo College in Michigan where she majored in Religious Studies. Tivnu’s volunteer partnersincluding writers, cooks, artists, activists, and rabbisalso share their knowledge and skills.

A Typical Week in the Gap Year Program
Our experienced staff works with each participant to customize a program of internships that reflects their varied interests. Some participants will spend two days a week at an internship working directly with people in need of housing, nutrition, psychological or medical attention, education, or other basic human needs, and spend two days a week on the Habitat for Humanity job site. Others might work one day a week in advocacy and three days a week in direct service. Everyone spends at least one half day each week working with people currently experiencing homelessness. A sample week’s schedule:

Jewish social justice gap year program week calendar activities trips



$26,180 for early bird applications received by January 1, 2017
$28,180 for application received by March 1, 2017
$30,180 for applications received by April 25, 2017

Tivnu is committed to making its Gap Year accessible to young adults of all economic backgrounds. Approximately 50% of past participants have received some financial assistance. Please see information about financial aid below. Priority consideration for tuition assistance and for internship placement will be given to early applicants. Late applications will be accepted as space permits.

Tuition covers:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Supplies for internships (including construction training and tools for Habitat for Humanity placements)
  • All program costs including educational sessions, field learning, activities, excursions and trips, staffing
  • Transportation to and from the worksite and all Tivnu programs
  • Consistent one-on-one coaching and mentoring with a member of the Tivnu staff

Tuition does not cover transportation to and from Portland for the Gap Year program itself or incidental living expenses such as entertainment, personal items, personal travel, etc. The tuition represents a large percentage of the total cost of supporting each participant; the remainder is offset by the generous support of donors.

Financial Aid: Tivnu is committed to making its Gap Year accessible to young adults of all economic backgrounds. Please contact Steve Eisenbach-Budner at or 503-232-1864 with any questions about the affordability of the program for your family. Need-based financial aid is available. Please note that financial aid applications are due at the same time as program applications and priority consideration for tuition assistance will be given to early applicants. The financial aid application is located at; please use the school code 201518. For assistance with the financial aid application steps, call 1-800-344-8328. Those applying for tuition assistance must also send copies of their W2 and 1040 forms to

Refer a friend discount. If you tell a friend about Tivnu and both of you are accepted by the program, each of you will get a $1000 discount off the program price.

College Credit: Tivnu is currently in discussion with a potential academic partner. Check back for more details and feel free to contact us for the most up-to-date information.


Application Period Priority Application Standard Application Final Application
Tuition* $26,180 $28,180 $30,180
Application Deadline
($54 non-refundable application fee)
Jan 1, 2017 Mar 1, 2017 Apr 25, 2017
Interviews Completed Jan 15, 2017 Mar 8, 2017 May 1, 2017
Acceptance Notification Jan 22, 2017 Mar 15, 2017 May 8, 2017
Commitment Deadline
($1,500 non-refundable deposit)
Jan 29, 2017 Mar 22, 2017 May 15, 2017
Half Tuition Due May 18, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 18, 2017
Balance Due Jun 30, 2017 Jun 30, 2017 Jun 30, 2017
Program Begins Aug 24, 2017 Aug 24, 2017 Aug 24, 2017

*Priority consideration for tuition assistance and for internship placement will be given to early applicants. Late applications will be accepted as space permits.



Full payment for the program must be made by personal check or wire transfer.

Cancellation Policy: For cancellation less than 1 month before the program start date, Tivnu will retain 25% of the Gap Year program tuition. For cancellations after the program begins, Tivnu will retain 100% of tuition.

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Questions? Read the FAQs.