KIVUNIM changed my attitude towards how I learn, express myself, think, and act. I follow KIVUNIM’s teaching model: if there is a topic I am interested in, I meet as many people who can talk about that topic, from various perspectives. KIVUNIM’s academic intensity integrated into each of the trips formed me into the person I am today. KIVUNIM helped me be a more moral soldier in the IDF, a more driven student in college, and a more active citizen. I am eternally grateful for the experience I had on KIVUNIM.
— NS, 2011-12

Building World Consciousness

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. Through our travels across the world, KIVUNIM inspires its students to form a lifelong relationship with Israel and the Jewish People. Students find themselves gaining an understanding of Jewish life and history as it grew alongside many cultures, religions, and worldviews in its 2000 year Diaspora. We welcome students from all backgrounds in the belief that mutual understanding can only enhance the possibilities for greater peace and justice. Our Academic Program Book will give you a complete picture of our program, including all itineraries, course syllabi, faculty resumes, social service projects, Israel experience program sites, all within the context of our unique philosophical outlook.

Take a moment and click here to view our detailed Academic Program Book


College Credits

KIVUNIM students receive a full year of college credit transferrable to and accepted by most colleges and universities across North America. KIVUNIM's Academic Program consists of five courses that support the basic goals and objectives of our extensive travel schedule. Formal academic credits are provided by Hebrew College of Boston, which is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Hebrew College provides academic supervision and issues academic transcripts for students who successfully complete KIVUNIM's course requirements. KIVUNIM requires students to take five full year courses:  Four majors: Civilization and Society - Homelands in Exile; Land, People, Ideas: The Challenges of the Middle East;  Arabic Language and Culture;  Hebrew Language and Culture and an Art minor: Visual Learning, the Art of Seeing.* Hebrew College reviews and approves all of Kivunim’s course descriptions, curricula, reading lists, tests and faculty qualifications.

Hebrew College then issues official transcripts indicating the academic credit equivalent earned by each student upon successful completion of the course(s), totaling a maximum of 30 credits.  KIVUNIM students have transferred these credits to a wide variety of North American colleges (e.g., University of Michigan, Emory University, University of Maryland, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Illinois, SUNY Binghamton, Colby College, Ithaca College, Columbia University [List College], University of California at Berkeley, McGill University, etc.)  The official Hebrew College transcript requires payment of an additional fee of $1350.

Academic Courses

We understand the Jewish experience in each land of the Jewish people’s Diaspora as one of integration, positive assimilation, and creative tension with the native culture. We want our students to appreciate the rich texture of life that has come from our dispersion. We have lived as Jews in over 50 countries of the world, in many places for over 1000 years and in some since the time of the First Temple. We have worn every costume, built in every architecture, decorated in every art form, prayed and sung in every musical mode – we have no cuisine, only a kosher version of whatever our neighbors ate. Even philosophically – our greatest philosopher was Maimonides, who was an Aristotelian.

To understand the Jewish people we must explore the environments in which they were born and nurtured.  “Civilization and Society: Homelands in Exile” is our setting for this exploration. Each unit begins in the Israel Museum, (ranked as one of the 15 greatest national museums in the world) and every KIVUNIM student receives a year-long membership for entry to the Museum whenever they wish. We have secured the services of one of the finest Museum Educators in the world and designed with him unique and powerful periodic full-day programs to introduce each new international segment of the course. Our students not only read and hear lectures about their travels, they develop a cultural awareness and literacy only dreamed about in most college humanities courses.

The academic program has required readings, fascinating lectures (courses are taught by top university professors from both Israeli and international campuses including those we bring to Jerusalem just for KIVUNIM), projects and papers - but it is brought to life when we travel. It is in some of the greatest museums of the world in country after country, at historical and archaeological sites, as well as sitting in cafes and restaurants talking with local people - hearing their struggles and appreciating the common humanity that we share - that our classroom study really comes alive!

Ask yourself! When else and where else will you ever have an integrated intellectual, aesthetic and experiential opportunity like KIVUNIM? There simply is no other. This is your opportunity. It comes but once in a lifetime! Seize it!

Our Middle East Studies course “Land, People, Ideas: The Challenge of the Middle East” does the same in the very loaded and complex arena of emotions and contending ideologies. Here we seek to make the history of the Zionist movement come alive and allow KIVUNIM students to truly appreciate the capacity of the human being to become an historical actor: to make things happen.  The course explores the growth of Pan-Arab nationalism and the specific development of Palestinian identity and nationalism.  We resist the temptation to turn academic study into wishful thinking and fantasy, presenting our students with the harsh reality of contending forces of destiny and desire.  We make extensive us of documentary film, archival materials and personal testimony to allow students to understand more deeply and with greater empathy.  We encourage our students to imagine solutions while studying problems and to develop their sense of empowerment in glimpsing a future more positive then the past or today.

Our language program enables all students to advance their knowledge of Hebrew and begin their study of Arabic, with many alumni becoming Arabic students when they return to college.  Some ask "why teach Arabic to Jewish students?" We answer: Israel lives in a neighborhood of Arabic language and culture.  Those looking to a more peaceful future must be able to understand and to speak to their neighbors.  As simple and profound as that!

Our Art Minor, Visual Learning - The Art of Seeing (taught by our Artist-in-Residence, world renowned Tobi Kahn) teaches our students, through the medium of photography, how to use sight to "learn" and not just to see.  We visit artists in their studios, study the great photographers to understand more of their perspective and insight and examine settings for clues to composition, structure, and expression in the photograph itself.

In addition to the formal academic program there are support sessions in music, dance, cuisine, literature and film related to the countries of our travels and to Israel, our home for the year.