Kivunim had a significant impact on my life in many ways. It helped me to understand the global world in ways that I never knew existed. It showed me the power of communities and the rich diversity of the Jewish community. As Peter always said Kivunim was a year on not a year off. Today I work to help global Jewish communities around the world and I have Kivunim to thank.
— NL, 2007-08


KIVUNIM students forge a lifelong relationship with the land, people and State of Israel through the immersion experience of living in Jerusalem. Students cultivate this relationship by walking its streets, meeting and speaking with its diverse population - all while grappling intellectually with the many complex issues that Israel demands we confront. We travel the breath of the country, exploring issues that unite and divide, often raising questions the answers to which are illusive. Our students come to appreciate nuance; the subtle space within which understanding begins to emerge. We are not afraid of controversy or contradiction, for in such depth of analysis, commitment is borne.

Within our academic program, one full year humanities course is devoted to the study of the roots of Zionism and the history of the Zionist movement, Israeli history, Palestinian history and an exploration of the issues that have divided and psychologically conquered the Middle East.

We meet Israel’s artists, journalists, writers, musicians, politicians, religious leaders, scholars and philosophers. We see Israel's magnificent ancient archaeology and her more recent historical sites, all the while looking for connections, offering interpretations and building a deeper appreciation for what has taken place in and on this land.

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 you 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 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.”

Our students come to appreciate the Zionist promise as the national ideology of the Jewish People. However, we seek to expand that ideology from its current inwardness to a greater outer- directedness. We do so by actively seeking improvement in the world’s tolerance, mutual respect, and 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.