Tivnu participants have opportunities throughout the gap year to learn from academics, rabbis, activists, mentors, and from our own Program Director, Adinah Miller. The Tivnu educational program confronts social justice from Jewish and global perspectives, in formal and informal meetings at internships and placements, and from the people experiencing challenges every day. In addition to learning construction skills from our construction trainer and other site-specific skills in each internship, Tivnuniks come together as a community to learn two to three times each week.

Site visits and tours

capaces leadership and woodburn highDignity Village – a city-sanctioned, self-governing homeless community
South Portland Walking Tour of Jewish immigrant and urban renewal history
Fair Housing Council of Oregon historical bus tour
Tour of the ReBuilding Center and a DeConstruction Site
Woodburn, Oregon: Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, PCUN (Latino Treeplanters and Farmworkers Union), CAPACES Leadership Institute
Know Your City Portland Policy walking tour
Salmon habitat restoration sites
Tour of Columbia Eco-Village Cohousing Community
Tours of master woodworker’s, metalworker’s, and creative engineering studios

Guest Teachers

Jewish Social Justice LessonTopics have included (but are not limited to):

Dr. Naomi Adiv, Portland State University Department of Urban Studies and PlanningUrban Wealth and Poverty (three-part seminar) – an introduction to economics, cities, and social inequalities

Noah Barish, labor and employment attorney and legal mediator, and Eddy Shuldman, teacher, consultant, artist, Jewish communal leader
Communication and mediation skills, team building exercises and how to have difficult conversations

Robert Brown, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice and Larry Kleinman, CAPACES Leadership Institute and Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)
National and local immigration policy, Judaism and social justice, and Jewish role in union organizing

Jodi Darby, media educator and documentarian
Q & A on film Arresting Power: Resisting Police Violence in Portland, Oregon

William Deresiewicz, essayist and critic
Values clarification, personal self-reflection: Who am I and what do I really want?

TeachingRachael Duke, Community Partners for Affordable Housing and Jessica Larson, Welcome Home Coalition
Portland’s housing crisis, legislative solutions and the Housing First approach to eliminating homelessness in Portland and elsewhere

Deborah Eisenbach-Budner, Havurah Shalom Jewish meditation and Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, the real story of Hanukkah as a lens into the many voices of the Jewish people

David Feder, Jewish history and contemporary society
Sukkah design; Urban renewal, gentrification, and the Portland story.

Jeff Gottfried, Educational Recreational Adventures, and Josh Lake, Outdoor Jewish Adventures
Science and wilderness education, Torah and the trees, public land resources, snowshoeing, igloo-construction

Laura Isiordia and Abel Valladares, CAPACES Leadership Institute
Educating and building new leadership among young Latino farmworkers’ families

Roberto Jimenez and Juan Venegas, Farmworker Housing Development Corporation
Creating safe, healthy, affordable housing for migrant farmworkers in Oregon

Rabbi Rachel Joseph, Congregation Beth Israel
Tikkun Olam: Past and Present

Mark Lakeman, City Repair Project and Planet Repair Institute, and Reyna Lopez, Our Oregon
Creating community through architecture and public space, and current initiatives for economic and social fairness facing the Oregon electorate

Javier Lara, migrant farmworker activist
The Bracero Program, a Mexican immigration experience

Dr. Elliot Leffler, Reed College Theatre Department
Bibliodrama, theater of the oppressed

Andrew Lustig, poet, arts fellow at Brandeis Collegiate Institute
Spoken word poetry workshop on Jewish identity

Adrian Martinez, Center for Intercultural OrganizingEnding racial profiling, carrying on the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. through political action and intercultural experiences

Shalom Mayberg, Shalom 360
Jewish mindfulness and spirituality

Learning at PicunSteve Messinetti, Habitat for Humanity Portland Metro/East
How does Habitat for Humanity confront the problem of affordable housing?

Rabbi Eve Posen, Congregation Neveh Shalom
Kashrut, ethical eating, and building community through food

Ramon Ramirez and Jaime Arredondo Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN)
Issues facing the farmworker union, pesticides, wages, decent life for farmworkers, on the ground struggles

Sacha Reich, Jewish Theatre Collaborative
Davita’s Harp and the Page 2 Stage educational approach

Rabbi Joshua Rose, Congregation Shaarie Torah
Talmudic sources: What is your responsibility to the poor?

Dr. Gail Sherman, Reed College English Department
Jewish literary responses to poverty and social activism

Kris Soebroto, Sisters of the Road Café and Village GardensFood justice: systemic roots and grass-roots solutions in Portland; Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Working with People Experiencing Homelessness and/or Poverty but Were Afraid to Ask

Rabbi Joey Wolf, Havurah Shalom
It Pays to Know- Talmud on Market Wages and Who’s in the Market for What?

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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