Test 2015-2016 Program Details

Location: Portland, OR

Eligibility Requirements:

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

2015 – 2016 Program Calendar

Aug/Sep Program begins August 26
Orientation – Setting our Foundation: Portland, Tivnu & You
Tool training for those in construction placements
Camping trip at Mt. Ranier August 31 – September 4
Rosh Hashanah Sept 14
Yom Kippur Sept 23
Dec/Jan Winter break Dec 20 – Jan 3
Nov Thanksgiving break November 25-29
Apr/May Passover break Apr 21 – May 1
Rafting trip down Deschutes or John Day Rivers
Program ends May 24


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 and are within walking distance of several synagogues. On-site residential advisors 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 Coordinator Marissa Block Masters has a graduate degree in Leadership Sustainability Education as well as a certificate in Permaculture Design that she learned while living on a sustainable farm in Modi’in, Israel. John Kott, our Construction Trainer, has been a licensed general contractor for 21 years and has many years’ experience as a leader and mentor of young adults. Tivnu’s volunteer partnersincluding writers, cooks, artists, activists, and rabbisalso share their knowledge and skills.


A Typical Week in  the Gap Year Program

If you choose the Building Track, you will spend four days a week on construction (typically working with Habitat for Humanity) and a half day  each week with direct service organizations, working with people currently experiencing homelessness.

If you choose the Direct Service and Organizing Track, you will spend three and a half to four and a half days a week in your service/organizing placement, with the option for one day a week either in construction or a different placement. Sample weekly schedule:

Morning Afternoon Evening
MON Secondary internships with organizations such as Join and Street Roots Educational programming, field trips, guest speakers Free
TUE Habitat for Humanity construction site OR Service/Organizing placement site Free
WED Habitat for Humanity construction site OR Service/Organizing placement site Educational activity, such as speaker or film
THU Habitat for Humanity construction site OR Service/Organizing placement site Free
FRI Habitat for Humanity construction site OR Service/Organizing placement site Communal Shabbat or free
SAT Free time and programming in the spirit of Shabbat – a time to rest, reflect, and appreciate
SUN House meeting, free time, and recreational programming – exploring Portland and the surrounding area

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition: $24,870 if application is received by Dec 15, 2014; $26,870 if application is received by Feb 15, 2015; $28,870 if application is received by Apr 15, 2015. 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.

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 info@tivnu.org 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 http://sssbynais.org/parents; 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 Steve@tivnu.org.

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 $500 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 and Enrollment Timeline

Application Period Priority Application Standard Application Final Application
Tuition* $24,870 $26,870 $28,870
Application Deadline
($54 non-refundable application fee)
Dec 15, 2014 Feb 15, 2015 Apr 15, 2015
Interviews Completed Jan 6, 2015 Feb 23, 2015 Apr 22, 2015
Acceptance Notification Jan 13, 2015 Mar 2, 2015 Apr 29, 2015
Commitment Deadline
($1,500 non-refundable deposit)
Jan 20, 2015 Mar 9, 2015 May 8, 2015
Half Tuition Due May 8, 2015 May 8, 2015 May 8, 2015
Balance Due Jun 26, 2015 Jun 26, 2015 Jun 26, 2015
Program Begins Aug 26, 2015 Aug 26, 2015 Aug 26, 2015

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


Payment Details

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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