You’ve taken a look at our website. You’ve followed some links, imagined what you might do with a Tivnu year, and you’re ready to take a look at the application. We have just one more thing to say to you.


Start the application and we’ll know that you want to be one of the difference-makers. The world-repairers. The future-builders. We’re strong, we’re committed, and we want you to be a part of it.

So, welcome to the Tivnu world of making a difference. There’s a little prep work to do, but take it from Tivnu participants and families from years past: it’s worth it.

Health and Safety Note:

Tivnu requires all staff members and participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before participating in the program. There are very few health conditions which preclude vaccination, but if you feel you have one, please discuss this with the Executive Director before applying.

To complete this application, you will need to provide the following:

1. Basic Information: Contact information for applicant and guardian. We also request education information, including an official copy of your high school transcript, current to the last grading period completed before the date of your application.

2. Short Essays: You may wish to draft your responses to the following questions before beginning to fill out the online application form. Please answer essays 1 and 2 and choose at least 2 of the additional essay questions to answer. For all 4 essays, you may answer in writing (up to 250 words per essay) or you may submit a 2-minute video in lieu of a written response.

  1. Describe a social justice issue that is important to you, explain why you care about it, and describe any activism or volunteering you have participated in regarding it. Describe one particular experience you’ve had that might prepare you for the internship experience at Tivnu, whether with our construction crew working with unhoused people, an advocacy group for immigrants’ rights, an underresourced school, or another organization. And if you haven’t had much experience, tell us what you would like to have done.
  2. What is your background in Jewish learning? What has excited you? What has turned you off? What aspects of Judaism or Jewishness would you like to explore? If you are not Jewish, tell us why you’re interested in a Jewish program.

Please choose at least 2 of these additional essays: 

  • Please describe with some detail two areas of your life in which you hope to grow in the coming year. How do you think the Tivnu gap year experience will contribute to your growth in each of these areas?
  • Please describe one of your strengths and one challenge that you face, and how they might impact your participation in Tivnu.
  • What is a piece of art, book, movie, song, etc. that has influenced you? Tell us how.

3. References: Please send the Tivnu reference form (DOC) to two people who will serve as your references. These two recommenders should be adults who can offer insights into who you are, what you can contribute to Tivnu: Building Justice, and what you might gain from the program. They might know you from your involvement in school, work, volunteering, the Jewish community, or any other important aspect of your life, but they should not be relatives or close friends. Their recommendations are due along with your application, by one of the application deadlines listed here.

4. Fees and Financial Aid: There is a $72 Non-Refundable Application Fee. This fee can be paid by credit card at the end of your online application. Tivnu is committed to making its Gap Year accessible to young adults of all economic backgrounds. If this fee poses a financial barrier, please reach out to

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

Tivnu in the NY Times

Taking a gap year at home can be as meaningful as doing one abroad.
Featured in The New York Times
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