Each year, Tivnu holds an end of the year siyyum to celebrate our Tinvuniks' year of learning and growing. To close out Tivnu 4, our participants received a warm sendoff to their next adventures from staff, host families, supervisors, co-workers, and friends. As part of the ceremony, a few participants shared their reflections on the program and this moment of transition. Below, please enjoy Calvin Lyster's insightful, honest thoughts on what it is to experience the Tivnu gap year. "As I was feverishly trying to organize ancient dusty plates and plastic dollar store grasshoppers and unused MAX tickets and ReStore discount CDs...

My name is Calvin Lyster. While making art is one of my main hobbies, I felt attending college straight after high school wouldn’t give me the satisfaction I need because I hadn’t yet found a real passion. I joined this gap year program to interact with different kinds of people, experience living more Jewishly, and explore different paths of life. So far, I have definitely not been disappointed....

We had an awesome time on our Mount Hood trip, full of new experiences. Those from warmer climates had their first adventures in feet of snow, and even seasoned veterans of snowy winters got to try new things, from snowshoeing to cross country skiing to cosmic snow tubing. Here are some highlights from the trip! [caption id="attachment_7867" align="alignleft" width="296"] Cross country skiing! Ron leads the pack.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7864" align="alignright" width="389"] Emma, Ari and Lauren put in some time on the inside of the growing igloo, packing in the snow that others shoveled.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7866" align="alignleft" width="376"] The igloo is gaining height...

Here is a little bit about myself: First, I am Leci, I'm from Texas, and I say y’all at least 200 times a day, even if I'm only talking to one person. I came here to make a difference in a community setting, both directly with individuals and in a bigger picture....

When my RA informed me that it was my turn to write a blog post, my initial reaction was one of violent stress. Tivnu is so chock-full of gloriously time consuming activities that sitting down and writing 5 paragraphs of text seemed like a monumental task....

Last week we celebrated the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.   Back home in LA, the High Holidays are always a big deal in my family.  That is why it was hard for me to be away from my family for the first time during the holidays....

Our new cohort of Tivnuniks brings together so many different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We're thrilled to welcome our new participants from (clockwise from top left): Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, and California....

In the final week of the 3rd Tivnu gap year program, the participants planned a siyyum, which is a traditional Jewish way of celebrating the completion of a book of Torah or other Jewish learning. ...

In the final week of the 3rd Tivnu gap year program, the participants planned a siyyum, which is a traditional Jewish way of celebrating the completion of a book of Torah or other Jewish learning....

In the final week of the 3rd Tivnu gap year program, the participants planned a siyyum, which is a traditional Jewish way of celebrating the completion of a book of Torah or other Jewish learning....

In the final week of the 3rd Tivnu gap year program, the participants planned a siyyum, which is a traditional Jewish way of celebrating the completion of a book of Torah or other Jewish learning....

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....

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....

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....

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....

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....