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    KIVUNIM Gap Year


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destinations: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Turkey
    • Credit Awarded: College
    • Program Length: Academic Year
    • Start Month: September
    • Category: Jewish
    • Selective: Yes
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Dorm
    • Application Fee: $125
    • Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Loans, Payment Terms
    • Minimum Cost: > $20,000
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    KIVUNIM delivers a transformative gap year experience of study, international travel and cross-cultural dialogue. These take place within the exploration and growth that develops our students’ Jewish identity as engaged global citizens. Students forge a lifelong connection the Jewish people through travel experiences that impart a nuanced understanding of Jewish civilization through contact with the remarkable spectrum of religious traditions, cultures and world views.

    KIVUNIM combines classroom academics with the experiential; not for a one day or even a one week in-depth encounter, but all year for all courses.  Not only does the classroom inform the field experience, but the field experience enhances the classroom and opens new vistas for students accustomed to using only their eyes and ears to study. Studying about and then traveling to 12 different countries where our students move between approximately 70 cities, towns and villages worldwide, entering some of the acknowledged greatest museums of the world, visiting some of the most expressive archaeological sites, meeting some of the most distinguished thinkers, writers, political and religious leaders, artists, musicians, poets…the intellectual growth and expansion made possible by this fully integrated approach is uniquely powerful. 

    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.

    KIVUNIM believes that the future leadership of the Jewish people must become better informed and more comfortable with the broader world in which we live. Ironically, studying about and traveling into the Jewish Diaspora requires an in-depth encounter with the histories and cultures of the peoples of the world. Our program weaves knowledge about the Jewish people’s international roots with a deeper appreciation of culture and tradition across the globe - elements that have actually formed contemporary Jewish identity.  

    KIVUNIM often begins its travel program in Greece at the Parthenon working our way up through Chalkida, the capital of the island of Euboea, the historic Oracle at Delphi, the massive monoliths of Meteora, the charming old Jewish quarter of Ioannina and Veria and finally the magnificent port city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece... and then on to Tirana, Albania and then to Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. While exploring the cultures, politics and histories of these countries, KIVUNIM begins a year-long examination of majority/minority, God and gods, language and longevity, nation and nationalism and a massive dose of art, culture and “big ideas.” 

    In the winter they travel to India visiting Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Alibaug, and either Cochin or Dharamshala. In the Spring they are off to Morocco including Casablanca, Essaouira, Fes, Meknes, Rabat, Marrakesh, Telouet, Taroudant, Arazane, Quarzazat, Errashadiya, Erfoud and Merzouga for the Great Sahara (and points in-between). Students will also assist in the reconstruction of a 500 year old adobe synagogue during their stay.  From Morocco they cross the Mediterranean by ferry to Spain journeying to Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid. From there to Belmonte, Trancoso, Porto and Lisbon in Portugal; The final travel of the year includes Berlin, Prague and Budapest in Central Europe and ends in Venice, Italy with a 4 day summative seminar,

    Each trip is intensive, with a program on-the-ground prepared by experienced historians and travelers and geared to maximizing our 14-21 day periods to the maximum. In addition to obvious and important tourist sites, KIVUNIM arranges for unique and special experiences with fascinating artists, journalists, academics, poets, religious leaders and government officials in each country that we visit. It is through the human encounter that we learn the most about ourselves and the "other."