KIVUNIM students are informed and inspired to interpret the past and understand the present in order to build and ensure the future.
Welcome to KIVUNIM, the Premier Gap-Year Program. Not a "year off" but a year incredibly and intensively ON! A gap-year is a gift that you give to yourself in more ways than you can even imagine. As you move through our website, we hope you will find that we are the right program for you next year. If we have peaked your interest, begin your KIVUNIM journey by applying now and continue to read through our website to get a complete picture of who and what we are!
Merit and needs-based scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Here's what some of our alumni say (and the full remarkable study is available here):
“KIVUNIM exposed me to the world in the most thoughtful, thought provoking way imaginable. With this, KIVUNIM helped me to create new facets of myself; facets that are increasingly curious, facets that see the world through a lens that encompasses everything I learned last year. As a freshman in college, I think Kivunim most manifests in that I try my hardest to listen to what other people feel and say, specifically those who I may disagree with. When I go out of my way to listen, and I see another group shocked and touched by my presence, it is one of the many times I can be sure that if not for KIVUNIM, this could not have happened. I know that as I grow older and wiser and more confident and more creative, my experience on KIVUNIM will continue to inspire me.” (Student enrolled in 2014-2015)
“KIVUNIM is most formative in its encouragement of expanded consciousness…But even more so, a humble awareness of how much there is to truly do and see in one lifetime. I believe KIVUNIM helps to create a foundation of self, but that self continues to evolve toward career and personal choices that come from culminated experience, not a single course or program. Still, KIVUNIM arguably has a much more profound impact than most institutions, encouraging a rigorous exploration of so much in such a short time. KIVUNIM left me with more questions than answers, and that's why it elicits true learning.” (Student enrolled in 2009-2010)
KIVUNIM is like a puzzle. International travel supported by engaging academics; service to others through our social responsibility program and a deep encounter with Israel. And you get to play with all of the pieces:
KIVUNIM's MISSION is to...
inspire our students to forge a lifelong relationship with Israel and the Jewish People through our travels across the world - gaining understanding of Jewish life and history together with that of the many cultures, religions and world-views amongst whom the Jewish people grew in its 2000 year Diaspora. Our international travels build and deepen Jewish identity within the context of an emerging sense of “world-consciousness” both as Jews and as citizens of the world. We welcome students from all backgrounds in the belief that mutual understanding can only enhance the possibilities for greater peace and justice.
We are based in Jerusalem where we encounter Israel openly: appreciating its grand and historic achievements together with its unfulfilled goals and aspirations. We encourage a perception on the part of our students that there is work yet to be done and that they have a role to play in the fulfillment of the Zionist promise.
We introduce our students to the world of Arab-Jewish co-existence, perhaps the greatest challenge to the State of Israel and the Jewish People in our time. We expect our students to return to their college campuses and their future lives with the capacity for and commitment to building dialogue in place of confrontation and of becoming living representations of the words of the founder of the Zionist Movement, Theodor Herzl:
"IF YOU WILL IT, IT IS NOT (WILL NOT BE JUST) A DREAM."
The Zionist Promise is the national ideology of the Jewish People. KIVUNIM is attempting to expand that ideology from its current inwardness to a greater outer-directedness actively seeking improvement of the world’s tolerance, mutual respect, commitment to human rights and human dignity, in a more just and more peaceful world. Giving life to the words of the Hebrew Prophets in modern times.
To accomplish this goal we must re-establish the lost link to the history of the Jewish people throughout the world within our young people by sharing with them the noble and creative story of Jewish life around the globe. Jewish education for this new century must help to minimize fears and maximize comfort with people, cultures and religions that are different than our own, both as Americans and as Jews. Today’s institutions often educate to the opposite.
KIVUNIM teaches students to interpret the past and understand the present in order to build and insure the future. KIVUNIM believes that Jewish Education must take place within a context of lofty goals and aspirations filled with optimism, tempered by reality and encouraged by the understanding that words have power and that betterment of the world is the central goal of the Jewish people and its religious and national tradition.
For a taste of the significance of our international and inter-religious work, please take a few moments to read this newspaper article about a unique and quite historic event sponsored in December, 2015 by KIVUNIM. We think you will be surprised!