Here are five things I’ve learned in these first few months of the Tivnu gap year program. They range from pretty concrete tips to bigger life lessons - and I’m surprised by how often the two are related....

Tivnu has had a fun and busy two weeks! We had our first full work week. I started off my week by going to Saint André Bessette, a homeless shelter that provides food, clothes, blankets, and sanitary supplies to people experiencing homelessness- all done with a smile....

New York Times best-selling author William Deresiewicz wrote a great piece about Tivnu in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Check it out for inside information about founder Steve Eisenbach-Budner, past and present participants, and our gap year program in Portland, Oregon connecting Judaism and social justice....

Hey! My name is Nadav, I'm from Newton Massachusetts, and I’ve spent the past four weeks living the Tivnu life! Friendships have been formed, beds have been built, and the great outdoors have been explored. ...

Saying my goodbyes is an increasing phenomenon as the program nears its end. I want to share a few of these goodbyes here, to thank those who have impacted me these past few months....

I enjoy the fact that its something new to what we did earlier in the program which was four days a week at Habitat. There is a lot of variety for Wednesday programming, which makes me, look forward to each week and the new activates that we have. ...

As a group, we planned an exciting yet relaxing weekend to Seattle. Upon arriving to to the city, first thing I noticed was how much more urban it was in comparison to Portland....

On Sunday of this week Tivnu went to a play called The Ministry of Special Cases, put on by the Jewish Theatre Collaborative, which is set in Argentina in the 1970’s....

The past few weeks have been really powerful and intense for me at Portland Homeless Family Solutions, where I intern every Monday. There’s a seven-year-old boy and his father who have timed out of the 8 family spots in the night shelter but have luckily been able to stick around the day shelter. Two weeks ago I was coloring with the boy and he leaned over as if to tell me a secret....

This was our first full week with our new construction trainer, Eric. Eric has worked in the Portland area for 20+ years as a trained carpenter and with Steve at Portland Youth Build, so he was a great candidate for the job. He's lived up to his billing so far as he's been patient, productive and understanding during our time at the work site....

It is good to be able to learn a new set of skills and be able to see a very specific project go from start to finish. I have seen that in the shed, in pickling with Marissa, and baking hamentchen with Baye....

Over the last few days I was able to revel in my love of soccer. On Wednesday we attended a Portland Timbers game. I was surprised to learn that the people of Portland are die hard soccer fans. ...

As we sat down with a group of high school students from Woodburn, Oregon, a predominately Hispanic town, we were asked an icebreaker question that I had never thought to be such a quintessential part of what makes us so distinct from one another. ...

Three weeks ago, I took on another internship. I really enjoyed the work on the worksite, but I found that I was struggling to see how the little tasks I was doing were essential to the bigger picture. I knew that they were important; I just couldn’t feel it....

On Wednesday, Tivnu decided to go to the Columbia River Gorge for a group hike to Angel's Rest, as part of the new hiking regime and in celebration of Tu B'shvat.  It seemed like we had a real need for speed since we climbed the mountain really quickly, despite the high winds....

A few weekends ago we went on a little 3-day trip to one of the main Oregon mountains, Mount Hood. A little getaway is always nice, but I especially had a good time on this one....

JOIN is a Portland based organization that caters to it's homeless community. At JOIN, you can take a shower, grab some clothes of your choice, get a laundry voucher, eat some breakfast and lunch, get your mail, use the phone, get haircuts, have a room to play with your kids, and even get acupuncture treatments....