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 provides a powerful and transformative experience 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 provides meaningful Jewish activities into the daily routine back home 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–despite the fact that our programs are for those with no prior Jewish communal connection.
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 large role in Livnot programs as it is a 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 sustainable Jewish life.