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.

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 in writing (up to 250 words each). Please choose at least 3 of the additional essays questions to answer. You have the option of submitting a 2-minute video in lieu of a written response for some of the essays.

  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 Habitat for Humanity, an agency working with people experiencing homelessness, an environmental agency, a school, or another organization. (Written response, up to 250 words.)
  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? (Written response, up to 250 words.)

Please choose at least 3 of these additional essays. Up to 2 of them may be video response instead of written responses if you choose.

  • 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.
  • What do you hope to find next year that you have in your current life or living situation? What do you hope to leave behind from your current life or living situation?
  • Describe a situation in which you and someone you were working with had to decide something together in which you saw things very differently. How did it play out? What did you do?

3. References: Please send the Tivnu reference form (DOC) to two people who will serve as your references. These two recommenders should be able to 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. 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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