TivnUSY: Building Justice

Join USY on an exciting new partnership with Tivnu, a hands-on, Portland-based organization that provides a literal opportunity to build community. (Tivnu: Building Justice also offers a Jewish, hands-on, social justice Gap Year Program). Spend two weeks of your summer making a difference in the lives of others through construction and other worthwhile projects in Portland, Oregon with this incredible organization and USY. Click here to review more details about this meaningful, hands-on opportunity.

Participants will:

  • Deepen their understanding of some of today’s most pressing social issues, including housing, food, and environmental quality;
  • Learn what Judaism, Jewish history, and Jewish sources have to offer them as agents of social change;
  • Build the kind of lifelong, transformative friendships that come from working, studying, and living together in an intense communal setting;
  • Be inspired to put their new skills to work as leaders in their Jewish communities at home;
  • Know their efforts made a difference in the lives of others.

What to expect:

  • Hands-on work with local organizations. The work will be physical—light construction, gardening/farming, and environmental restoration—but it will always be conducted with an understanding of its larger social context. We believe in working with others, not “for” them: learning from them, listening to their stories, and moving toward a wider form of justice that embraces us all.
  • Jewish education. Participants will delve together into classical and modern texts as well as into historical and contemporary responses to the issues that their efforts raise. What does our tradition have to say about collective responsibility? What have Jewish communities done when members lacked for basic human needs? Whom did they consider to be part of their community, and whom do we consider to be part of ours? Additional experiences will be woven into the program’s educational component, as well: Shabbat celebrations, programming with local Conservative synagogues, and meetings with Jewish leaders and change-makers.
  • General social justice education. We will bring in speakers to meet with participants and offer foundational knowledge with regard to the issue of affordable shelter and other aspects of the livable city, as well as to humanize these topics through encounters with individuals whose stories shed light on them. Field trips to teach participants about local responses will include a visit to a city-sanctioned “village” created by homeless individuals and a tour of housing developments created by and for Oregon farmworkers.
  • Recreational activities. We will take advantage of Portland’s beautiful summer weather and the rich opportunities the area affords. Activities will include a weekend camping trip and two or more of the following: a professional soccer game, a trip to an amusement park, bowling, and a pool/falafel party.

Ready to make your escape with USY?

  • Click here to read more about the day-to-day activities for this group during the Summer of 2014.
  • Click here to complete the 2015 USY Summer Program Preliminary Registration (using our online application tool).
  • Click here to read Frequently Asked Questions about USY Summer Programs.
  • If you have any questions or need additional information about this and other USY Summer Programs, e-mail us at wheels@uscj.org.