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....

I went to three holiday parties this week. At each one I served in a different capacity and at each one I had a vastly different experience....

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....

One of the many questions that I have while interning at JOIN (a non profit homeless aid organization that hands out supplies such as food and clothes to those in need) is ,“Can I see an outreach worker to help pay rent or to help figure out how to get a job?”...

Every Monday morning I intern at Portland Homeless Family Solution’s day shelter, Thirteen Salmon. I take the bus and arrive about 15 minutes before the shelter opens. In those 15 minutes, I’ve noticed something very striking....

The main theme I’ve noticed in my life since I’ve been in the Tivnu Gap Year is improvement, in many different aspects. While it’s only been 7 weeks since we arrived in Portland,  it is promising to see my personal maturity grow exponentially....

A long time ago there was a rainy town (much like Portland) that had a Jewish community. As the calendar turned to fall it came time to build a סוכה (sukkah) for the holiday of סוכות (sukkot). ...

Monday: We had our individual internships at local non-profits until around 12:30.  I have been interning with Sisters of the Road, a local cafe that seeks to create a "space to build community, empower ourselves, learn from one another, dine with dignity and organize for justice and human rights for all"....

Last Sunday, the group loaded up the van and headed to Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is a small coastal town similar to most in New Jersey, where I come from, with its strip of stores selling key chains, buckets, and various nick-knacks....

Ah, camping… A word that rattles everyone’s minds when it is brought up. In our fast paced society, many of us aren’t fond of spending our days without technology or a warm bed to sleep in....

What struck me about going on Tivnu’s camping trip was that I originally thought it would be extremely difficult.  I thought we’d have to sleep on the ground, or fish for your own food.  Because this is a gap year program focused on construction work and building, I had imagined camping in a much harder way....

The hectic nature of traveling cross-country mixed with the fear and nervousness associated with moving into a new phase of your life made for both a physically and emotionally exhausting day. My shoulders immediately relaxed at the sight of Steve’s (Tivnu’s founder) warm smile and sleeveless shirt. ...

It's the first week ever of the Tivnu: Building Justice Gap Year Program. The above statistics are a snapshot of the demographics of the group. We come from different types of schools, different regions of the country, we’ve got different areas of interest, and we have all chosen to try something new. Together....

I was one of the last people to land in Portland so when I first arrived at Shaarie Torah, I didn’t know what to expect. But when I walked in, I felt an instant sense of relief, because everyone was so inviting and friendly. ...