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Livnot U'Lehibanot

To Build & Be Built


Vision & Mission

Livnot U’Lehibanot is a holistic, physically and spiritually-challenging Israel experience program that connects participants to their heritage and community through an open environment.

Our retreats strengthen Jewish identity through hiking the land of Israel, experiential education, community service, and meaningful interactions                   with local Israelis.

What Is Livnot?

Livnot U’Lehibanot (Hebrew for “To Build and Be Built”) refers to the physical contribution of participants to building the land of Israel, and to the knowledge and experiences they gain during a retreat. Livnot is a non-denominational, nonprofit organization that has been running immersive Israel-experience programs since 1980. When the first programs began in the home of Aharon and Miriam Botzer, they included excavating and rebuilding the ruins of the Old City of Tzfat, hiking through Israel, studying Jewish values in experiential classes, engaging discussions, and interactive workshops. These programs at Livnot offered the first Israel experience that included spiritual content, without promoting a specific religious observance.

Livnot’s aim is to provide a powerful and transformative experience for all who walk through our doors. Whether it’s through our retreats, workshops or experiencing the national heritage site of 16th century Tzfat, Livnot builds a strong sense of Jewish community and encourages personal growth. We strive to develop a meaningful sense of identity, belonging, and connectedness, not only to the land of Israel, but to Jewish values and the Jewish people.


Since its inception, Livnot workers and volunteers from around the world have made significant and wide-ranging contributions to Israel during during times of peace and times of crisis. Livnot has repaired over 3,000 homes for the elderly, disabled, and terror victims, renovated 230 bomb shelters, and lent a helping hand to community centers throughout Israel. Livnot workers and volunteers have been responsible for delivering emergency provisions of food and water, excavating the Kotel tunnels, building parks, aiding in the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants, and much more.

Livnot’s impact continues far beyond the Israel experience through Alumot, our alumni association. This is a grassroots network that encourages meaningful Jewish activities to be adopted into the daily routine back home. They are accomplished through Shabbat and social gatherings, retreats, holiday celebrations, and community service events. Over 1,000 Livnot alumni have gone on to become active professionals and lay leaders in their home communities - including Federations, Hillels, JCCs, Birthright, NEXT, BBYO, Moishe Houses, synagogues and day schools. Our programs, designed for those with no prior Jewish communal connection, results in strengthening and enhancing volunteers' Jewish communities.

The Israel Experience

Our Israel programs are geared for young English-speaking Jewish adults (21-32) with minimal formal Jewish education. Participants in Livnot programs have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the enchanting Old City of Tzfat, the ancient home of Kabbalah. On adventurous hikes throughout the Galilee and Northern Israel, they also learn about Jewish spirituality through the lens of nature. The importance of Shabbat takes on a meaningful role in Livnot programs since it is an integral and festive part of regular life in Tzfat.

We believe that an Israel experience ought to lay the foundation for further personal growth, community involvement, and family values, in order to create a model of vibrant and sustainable Jewish life.

Livnot partners with numerous municipal and governmental organizations, as well as NGOs, in Israel and throughout the world, in keeping our programs running effectively. We own and operate The Kahal, the remnants of a 16th-century neighborhood in the heart of the city’s ancient Jewish quarter. The Kahal was declared a National Heritage Site in 2011 by the Prime Minister of Israel’s Office. This 15-room structure is being restored and transformed into a ‘Living Spiritual Museum,’ offering 1-3 hour workshops to the 1.2 million visitors to Tzfat each year.

Meet the Family

With years of experience and dedication, our professional staff is committed to bringing Livnot’s vision to life each day. We invite you to get to know some of the Livnot family:

Aharon Botzer

Founder & Executive Director

Banot Sherut Leumi

National Service Women

Michael Even-Esh

Senior Educator & Nature Guide