An Extraordinary Year
in Portland & Beyond

The Tivnu Gap Year

Nine months you'll never forget

Our unique approach to changing the world: hands-on grassroots work, communal living and learning, and adventure in Portland and the Pacific Northwest, all while exploring the links between Jewish life and social justice. It’s nine months of purpose, discovery, and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Sophie Headshot

I love Oregon. A lot of my friends at Tivnu are from the East Coast and everything here is huge and magnificent to them and I’m like, “Yup. I told you so.”

— Sophie R.W.

Wesleyan University ‘25

Social Justice Work

We match your passions to the needs of Portland’s grassroots organizations


Communal Living

Real support for all the things you dream of doing

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Exploration and Adventure

Pack a bag — we’re gonna take your breath away

Important Dates


  • Arrive in Portland: Sept 5, 2023
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 19 - Nov. 26, 2023
  • Winter Break: Dec 14, 2023 – Jan 9, 2024
  • Passover Break: Apr 21 – May 1, 2024
  • Depart for Home: May 23, 2024


  • Arrive in Portland: Sept 2, 2024
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 25 - Dec. 1, 2024
  • Winter Break: Dec 19, 2024 – Jan 15, 2025
  • Passover Break: Apr 10 – April 21, 2025
  • Depart for Home: May 21, 2025

36 Weeks of Amazing Accomplishments

A Week in the Life


A week in the life

You’ll make each week your own, and find the things that motivate and inspire you. Or, as Ben L. said, “Tivnu has opened my eyes to new things I would never have thought possible!”

Your Year with Tivnu


Your year with Tivnu

Your Tivnu Gap Year, means stepping up for justice, stepping out for adventure, and stepping into a whole world of possibilities.

A Year in 4 Minutes


A year in 4 minutes

Check out Aliza's fantastic video showing glimpses of daily life with Tivnu!

Frequently Asked Questions

We love it. Every week, Tivnuniks cook and eat dinner together, lead a group conversation about justice in the weekly Torah portion, sing some Shabbat blessings, and share the triumphs and challenges of the week. Sometimes you’ll join in with prayers, songs, or other Shabbat activities before dinner, organized by your friends and Tivnu staff. Maybe dinner’s a picnic? Maybe it’s a themed party with a mystery to solve? It’s up to you. Saturday is wide open: go for a hike, pick up lunch at the farmer’s market, sing at a synagogue, or just chill after a full week. Ending Shabbat with a Havdalah gathering is a lot of Tivnuniks’ favorite part. There are lots of directions a Tivnu Shabbat can go, and we’ll check in a few times each year about how we want it to look and feel.

You can do this! Our program is specifically designed for people of different skill levels, and our construction coach works with everybody, novices to experts. Even if you have no building experience, you’ll be able to participate fully, learn construction skills, and gain strength and self-confidence. Plus, you’ll get to meet some of Portland’s most inspiring makers, from hands-on engineers creating tools for the space program to artists working by hand in wood and metal.

You will stay in a Tivnu house, a bayit, in Portland, Oregon. You’ll have one (or occasionally two) roommates and share all-gender communal space and an ample kitchen. Both houses are in Irvington, a popular, walkable neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and parks nearby. Your tuition includes rent, utilities, communal food shopping and other household expenses.

Tivnu provides a weekly budget for communal food shopping, which covers meals you prepare for yourself and a few weekly communal meals. Beyond that, you can always branch out with personal food shopping or picnic with some take-out. Not feeling the entrée inspiration? We’ll help out with guest chefs and hands-on workshops to raise your kitchen game, whether you’re a beginner or a Top Chef.