Program Overview

The Tivnu Gap Year is nine months of hands-on Jewish social justice engagement. Participants create a community living together, discovering the Pacific Northwest, and exploring the bond between Jewish life and social justice while working with Portland’s cutting-edge grassroots organizations.

The Basics

PDX Living

Portland Living

Begin the year with an introduction to Portland, Oregon – the greatest city in the country. (Except your hometown. That’s great, too.) Move in to the Tivnu home –the bayit– , and get a feel for the neighborhood together with your Tivnu cohort. And then – to the mountains! Get a perspective on your new home on our camping trip in the Western Cascades.

Internships that Matter

Internships that Matter

Here’s where the real work begins. Four and a half days a week you will cook meals, teach GED skills, grow food with kids in the community garden. We match your passions and commitments to the needs of Portland’s grassroots organizations, so that you and the community can thrive. Your hands may get dirty, you may go home each day covered in bits of compost or eraser shavings. But you’ll go home knowing you did real work supporting people who are working to make their lives better.

Community & Home

Community & Home

What does Judaism mean to you in your adult life? Begin the High Holidays with your host family and Portland’s wide range of Jewish options. We’ll put our tool training into action putting up a Sukkah in our own backyard, then head to Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center for a couple of days, and build another temporary shelter outside our mountain cabin.

Wide Horizons

Wide Horizons

In the winter and spring, you’ll see yourself more and more as part of the community at your internship. You’ll broaden your own perspective as you expand the world of people you know and care about. And you’ll study with some of Portland’s most engaging educators, activists, rabbis, and college professors, to explore some of the national, local, and personal context for grassroots change.

Building

Building & Chilling

Hands-on work isn’t a lost art at Tivnu : all of our participants learn building basics with Erik, Tivnu’s expert Construction Trainer. Come wintertime, you’ll learn to build an igloo, too, on our mid-winter trip to Mt. Hood. Are the snowshoeing and cross-country skiing just an excuse to go hot-tubbing in the snow afterward? We’ll leave that up to you.

Bring the World Home

Bring the World Home

Trips to Seattle and the University of Oregon will give you more urban and collegiate experiences on your gap year, not to mention connections with Greater Portland Hillel, Moishe House, and other innovative Jewish young adult communities. By the time you get back from a 50-mile four-day rafting trip on the incomparable Deschutes River, you’ll have plenty of stories for a final Shabbat dinner with your internship supervisors, friends, and host families.

2017-2018 Important Dates:

Arrive in Portland: August 24th, 2017
Thanksgiving Break: Nov 19 – 26, 2017
Winter Break: Dec 14, 2017 – Jan 8, 2018
Passover Break: Mar 29 – Apr 8, 2018
Depart for Home: May 24, 2018

2018-2019 Important Dates:

Arrive in Portland: Aug 28, 2018
Thanksgiving Break: Nov 18 – 26, 2018
Winter Break: Dec 20, 2018 – Jan 14, 2019
Passover Break: Apr 18 – 28, 2019
Depart for Home: May 21, 2019

Week in the Life

Annual Calendar

Internships

1,000 hours a year, every year.

Before you arrive in Portland, you’ll work with Adinah, the Tivnu Program Director, to create an internship program that matches your passions. You’ll put that time to work in ways you’ll never forget, expanding your personal horizons and contributing to the world around you.

Some of the internship options you will choose from include:

Housing & Homelessness

Housing & Homelessness

Habitat for Humanity

Build foundations, walls, and roofs with Habitat for Humanity. Solutions to families’ housing struggles will literally take shape around you as you work alongside the future homeowners. Our Construction Trainer Erik will show you the house-building skills you’ll need to assemble single-family homes for first-time owners. Families will contribute “sweat equity.” You’ll get your own dividend: confidence, resolve, and determination.

Hazelnut Grove

At Portland’s Hazelnut Grove encampment of formerly homeless people, a tiny house isn’t just a novelty you might pop in your backyard. It’s 8’x8’ of autonomy, independence, and integration into the social and economic life of their intentional community. Tivnu participants – first-time builders, mostly — lay the floors, raise the walls, and install the roofs to help residents transition to a more settled, productive life. And solar paneling, shower facilities, and communal spaces? We make those, too. Hazelnut Grove houses might be tiny, but ask our friends there. They’re immeasurable.

PORTLAND HOMELESS FAMILY SOLUTIONS

Having the time to sit down at the breakfast table is easy for some families. But if you don’t know if you’ll be able to afford breakfast tomorrow, and don’t know where that table might be, it’s hard to imagine life ever taking a turn for the better. Tivnu interns make breakfast at Portland Homeless Family Solutions , and then they make it possible for whole families to rise up to meet the day. PHFS ’s day and overnight shelters help 150 homeless families each year with life skills training, parenting classes, and tenant education; Tivnu interns specialize in working with kids while parents learn. But first they have to clean up from breakfast.

JOIN

A home is so much more than just a street address. Tivnu interns and JOIN make sure that restrooms, laundry, career services, decent clothes… even just a cup of coffee and a conversation are always available. The JOIN system fosters dignity for those who find themselves suddenly or chronically homeless, and together we create a community where everyone invests their time and opinions and talents. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make it all run right: for an intern, it’s a challenge just as much as an opportunity.

Ariella Hirsch

Food & Food Justice

Sisters of the Road

Cook the food, serve the meals, and help keep the business – and community – running at Sisters of the Road. Portland has a great café scene: you can get vegan cuisine served in a yoga studio, or a scoop of dill pickle sorbet. But there’s only one Sisters, where the homeless and working poor contribute their time in exchange for a meal that adds healthy food to their diet and dignity to their day.

Urban Gleaners

There’s a harvest that happens every day in Portland, all year round. Not just at Oregon’s farms and dairies, but at restaurants, markets, bakeries, and cafés – who all end the day with unsalable but still edible surplus food. Tivnu interns work with Urban Gleaners to marshal small resources for big impact. Taking in food and preparing it for redistribution to schools, shelters, and low-income housing won’t solve the whole food insecurity puzzle for hungry Portlanders, but ever since the Hebrew Bible we have known that there is no solution without it.

Outgrowing Hunger

At Outgrowing Hunger, Zenger Farm, or Learning Gardens Laboratory, you don’t just see the roots of the problems of hunger, health, and food insecurity – you see the roots of the solutions. And we’re not just talking about metaphorical roots here: if you intern at OH or Zenger or LGL, you’ll make sure those actual roots are taking hold in the compost system you built. You’ll teach school kids how to keep the plants thriving. And you’ll help get the crops they raised home to hungry families and communities that need them.

Immigration & Labor

Labor & Immigrant Communities

Portland Jobs with Justice

Communities come together with a common factor – it could be a neighborhood, a religion, an ethnicity. If you intern with Portland Jobs with Justice, you’ll be building community through the kind of coalitions that organize rallies, mobilize picket lines, and educate about labor and workers’ rights. What does it take to bring together over 100 labor organizations and community groups, and build a society based on economic justice? Hard-working Tivnu interns find out.

VOZ WORKERS’ RIGHTS EDUCATION PROJECT

When a new immigrant is looking for work opportunities, they turn to the day laborer center at VOZ, the Workers’ Rights Education Project. When you intern here, you and VOZ will build relationships that empower day laborers and immigrants to improve their working conditions and protect civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education, and opportunity. It’s worker-led, education-focused, and a path to long-term employment that many laborers need and Tivnu interns can support. At VOZ, laborers sign in for an upcoming job. As a Tivnu intern, you’ll sign in to work for justice every day.

Education & Literacy

Education & Literacy

Portland Youthbuilders

Put yourself back in the classroom as a tutor at Portland YouthBuilders, helping nontraditional learners focus on the skills they need to get good jobs, face the world with confidence, and lead successful lives. You’ll help PYB students develop academic, vocational, communication, and leadership skills. Portland YouthBuilders supports young people through meaningful long-term connections, and that goes for Tivnu volunteers as well.

Environmental Justice

The Environment & Environmental Justice

Rebuilding Center

Recycling is great. Our partners at the ReBuilding Center show what you can do when you take it one step further. By processing, selling, and supporting the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials, the RC strengthens the environmental, economic, and social fabric of local communities. From de-nailing boards to helping contractors find sustainable resources, Tivnu interns help make it happen.

Johnson Creek Watershed Council

Portland is shaped by the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, but urban life in the city owes just as much of its identity to the sloughs and watersheds that flow through town. Tivnu interns at Johnson Creek Watershed Council take on restoration and stewardship of the river ecosystem with hands-on environmental science and community engagement. In one week you might gather data about conditions in the creek, conduct wildlife surveys, or put on restoration events to remove invasive plants and install native riparian vegetation.

Women & LGBTQ

Women’s, Gender & LGBTQ Issues

Rose Haven

Trauma, abuse, and disruption of home life always threaten the course of a person’s life, but they don’t have to define it. Rose Haven is Portland’s home for support and services to help women and children regain stability in their lives. Rose Haven staff and Tivnu interns open the doors every day to welcome any woman who needs help, with legal advocacy, medical needs, resumé clinics, and more. Art workshops to help nourish the spirit of a scared kid or tired mom (or pet turtle!)? Tivnu interns do that too.

Adventures

PNW

Pacific NW

Scott Lake, OR

4 days of camping and hiking the Obsidian Trail and Mt. Scott with campfire singing and our poetry slam

Seattle, WA

3 days of fun and culture in Seattle, from the Underground Tour to the Seattle Art Museum and Arboretum

Mt. Hood, OR

3 days of fun in the snow, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and igloo-building

Deschutes RIver, OR

5-day camping and rafting trip along 50 miles of the Deschutes River, with visits to Warm Springs Reservation and Smith Rock

Cannon Beach, OR

Weekend trip to the Oregon Coast to explore the seashore and estuary ecosystems

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, OR

3-day Sukkot retreat, including hikes, meditation, building a sukkah, living off the grid, and unplugged talent show

Eugene, OR

Weekend visit to university of Oregon, with programs at Hillel and Akiva and time to explore

Columbia River Gorge, OR

Hikes, visit to Multnomah Falls Lodge, and fresh salmon from the Columbia

PDX

Portland

Powell's City of Books

Explore the world’s largest independent bookstore

Portland Night Market

The Portland Night Market blends food, culture, music, drinks and retail together for an adventurous evening in the Industrial District.

OMSI

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science centers, from the submarine to the planetarium, and the whole world in between

Timbers/Thorns Soccer Game

Be sure to pick up a songsheet for the cheers and don’t be afraid to wave a giant Portland flag in the stands

In-House Celebration

In-House Celebration

Seder & Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Make dinner with your friends and bring in the sweet New Year together.

Host Families and Teachers for Sukkot

Nothing makes the Jewish holiday of temporary housing feel meaningful like building a sukkah in the backyard, and welcoming our larger community to join us.

Rosh Hadesh

Marking the start of a new month with our friends from Greater Portland Hillel.

Havdalloween

From the Phantom of the Opera to… that lady from the insurance commercials? Tivnu participants love a chance to dress up, wrap up Shabbat together, and invite the neighbors in for a party!

Education

The challenges Americans face have deep roots in the make-up of our country. For solutions, we will have to dig even deeper.

  • capaces leadership trip to woodburnWhat can we learn about participatory democracy from folks in a homeless encampment?
  • How does an LGBTQ lens help us understand youth homelessness?
  • How do Jewish roots in the labor movement affect fair labor practices today?
  • How do we expand environmentalism by considering environmental justice?
  • What does Maimonides teach us about affordable housing?

Tivnu meets with educatorsTivnu Program Director Adinah Miller designs a year-long sequence of learning opportunities with leading educators, activists, rabbis, and college professors. The goal? To understand social justice work – the kind of work Tivnu participants do all week long – from Jewish and global perspectives. We want to look straight at the challenges facing our world, and steer straight toward solutions.

In Tivnu’s experiential, participatory program, you will:

Ari at MuseumTour homeless encampments, maker spaces, and re-building sites

Meet with high school-aged children of farmworker union activists

Delve into economics from the perspectives of both privilege and poverty

Investigate Jewish immigrant history, and the impact of urban renewal on Portland neighborhoods

Dive deep into Jewish texts on nature and society, activism and justice

Study with Professor of urban studies Naomi Adiv. Bestselling author William Deresiewicz. Director of Portland Jobs with Justice Will Layng. Engaging rabbis Rachel Joseph and Josh Rose. Theater pioneers Dr. Elliot Leffler and Sacha Reich. President of the Oregon Farmworkers’ Union Ramon Ramirez. And a dozen more amazing educators who make the Tivnu: Building Justice program an incredible opportunity for hands-on tikkun olam – repairing our broken world.

Please note: Tivnu is working with an academic partner to grant college credits through our program. Check back here, or check in with us directly for more details and the latest developments.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tivnu is committed to making its Gap Year accessible to young adults of all economic backgrounds. Over 60% of past participants have received some financial assistance. Please see information about financial aid below. Priority consideration for tuition assistance and for internship placement will be given to early applicants. Late applications will be accepted as space permits.

Tuition:
$26,880 for early bird applications received by January 1, 2018
$28,880 for application received by March 1, 2018
$30,880 for applications received by May 1, 2018

Tuition covers:

  • Housing and utilities
  • Food
  • Supplies for internships
  • Educational sessions, field learning, activities, excursions and trips
  • Transportation to and from the worksite and all Tivnu programs
  • Staffing includes consistent one-on-one coaching and mentoring

Tuition does not cover transportation to and from Portland for the Gap Year program itself or incidental living expenses such as entertainment, personal items, personal travel, etc. The tuition represents a large percentage of the total cost of supporting each participant; the remainder is offset by the generous support of donors.

Financial Aid: Tivnu is committed to making its Gap Year accessible to young adults of all economic backgrounds. Please contact Steve Eisenbach-Budner at info@tivnu.org or 503-232-1864 with any questions about the affordability of the program for your family. Need-based financial aid is available. Please note that financial aid applications are due at the same time as program applications and priority consideration for tuition assistance will be given to early applicants. The financial aid application is located at https://sssbynais.org/parents; please use the school code 201518. For assistance with the financial aid application steps, call 1-800-344-8328. Those applying for tuition assistance must also send copies of their W2 and 1040 forms to Steve@tivnu.org.

Refer a friend discount. If you tell a friend about Tivnu and both of you are accepted by the program, each of you will get a $1000 discount off the program price.

Application and Enrollment Timeline for 2018-19

 

Application Period Priority Application Standard Application Final Application
Tuition* $26,880 $28,880 $30,880
Application Deadline
($54 non-refundable application fee)
Jan 1, 2018 Mar 1, 2018 May 1, 2018*
Interviews Completed Jan 15, 2018 Mar 8, 2018 May 8, 2018
Acceptance Notification Jan 22, 2018 Mar 15, 2018 May 11, 2018
Commitment Deadline
($1,500 non-refundable deposit)
Jan 29, 2018 Mar 22, 2018 May 18, 2018
Half Tuition Due May 18, 2018 May 18, 2018 May 18, 2018
Balance Due Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018 Jun 29, 2018
Program Begins Aug 28, 2018 Aug 28, 2018 Aug 28, 2018

*Priority consideration for tuition assistance and for internship placement will be given to early applicants. Late applications will be accepted as space permits.

Payment Details

Full payment for the program must be made by personal check or wire transfer.

Cancellation Policy: For cancellation less than 1 month before the program start date, Tivnu will retain 25% of the Gap Year program tuition. For cancellations after the program begins, Tivnu will retain 100% of tuition.

Scholarships

BBYO MEMBERS: Discover Your Next Adventure with Tivnu

If you’re a member or an alum of BBYO, you’re eligible for one of two $5,000 scholarships for the Tivnu Gap Year Program. Ten $1,000 discounts are also available.

The Tivnu Gap Year program is nine months of hands-on Jewish social justice engagement in Portland, Oregon for 17- to 20-year-olds. Participants live together, create community, discover the Pacific Northwest, and explore connections between Jewish life and social justice with their heads, hands, and hearts.

Among their other activities, Tivnu participants intern with local grass-roots organizations. They plant sustainable gardens and learn about nutrition with elementary school children, prepare and serve meals at a café for people experiencing homelessness, tutor at-risk youth in an alternative high school, build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and more.

Between the leadership skills and training you’ve gained through your programs, your experience with team-building, and your emphasis on social change — we believe many BBYO members have built the foundation to become stellar Tivnu Gap Year participants. In recognition of this, Tivnu is offering two $5,000 scholarships and ten $1,000 scholarships. A few notes:

    1. Interested teens will need to apply by May 1st and be selected to receive this award.
    2. Tivnu will award additional need-based financial aid if warranted.
  1. One of the two application references must be from a BBYO staff member.
Tivnu is excited to debut a new relationship with JCC Association!

Exceptional JCC-affiliated applicants and alumni of JCC Association camps can become Tivnu/JCC Association Fellows, earning one of two $5000 scholarships to the gap year program. A $1000 discount also is available for the next ten applicants.

The Tivnu Gap Year program is nine months of hands-on Jewish social justice engagement in Portland, Oregon for 17- to 20-year-olds. Participants live together, create community, discover the Pacific Northwest, and explore connections between Jewish life and social justice with their heads, hands, and hearts.

Among their other activities, Tivnu participants intern with local grass-roots organizations. They plant sustainable gardens and learn about nutrition with elementary school children, prepare and serve meals at a café for people experiencing homelessness, tutor at-risk youth in an alternative high school, build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and more.

JCC Members and Camp Alumni: Discover Your Next Adventure with Tivnu

Between your commitment to pluralism within the Jewish community, your experience with team-building, and the leadership skills and training you’ve gained through your programs — we believe many JCC alumni would be great fits for the Tivnu Gap year. In recognition of this, Tivnu is offering two $5,000 scholarships and ten $1,000 scholarships. A few notes:

  1. Interested teens will need to apply by May 1st and be selected to receive this award. After that date, applicants for this award will be considered as funds and space allows.
  2. Tivnu will award additional need-based financial aid if warranted.
  3. The application and selection process will be run entirely by Tivnu, so please direct all questions to Tivnu.
  4. One of the two application references must be from a JCC or JCC camp staff member.

Featured Gap Year Participant