KIVUNIM students forge a lifelong relationship with the land, people and State of Israel through the immersive experience of living there, based in the city of Jerusalem for a full academic year. 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 presents. We travel the breath of the country, exploring issues that unite and divide, often raising questions whose answers are sometimes obvious but more often 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, a 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 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.  

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.