About

Vision & Mission

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

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

Impact

Livnot U’Lehibanot provides a powerful and transformative experience which builds a strong sense of Jewish community, encourages personal growth through challenge, and develops a meaningful sense of identity, belonging, and connectedness to the Land of Israel, Jewish values, and the Jewish People. Livnot’s impact continues far beyond the Israel experience through Alumot, our alumni association. This is a grassroots network that injects meaningful Jewish activities into the daily routine back home through Shabbat and social gatherings, retreats, holiday celebrations, and service to the community. 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.

History

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 the program. Livnot is a transdenominational 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.

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.

Present & Future

Our Israel programs are geared for young English-speaking Jewish adults in their 20’s 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 be the foundation for further personal growth, community involvement, and family values, in order to create a model of sustainable Jewish life.

Livnot partners with numerous municipal and governmental organizations, as well as NGOs, in Israel and throughout the world to make its programs possible. Livnot owns and operates The Kahal, the remnants of a 16th-century neighborhood in the heart of the city’s ancient Jewish quarter that 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’ to offer 1-3 hour workshops to the 1.2 million visitors to Tzfat each year.

Visit our Israel Programs page for current program opportunities. If you’re interested in learning more or joining us in our mission, please Contact Us.

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
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David Botzer
CEO & Strategic Coordinator
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Rabbi Dr. Meir Sendor
Resident Scholar
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Meir Paltiel
Director of Programs & Alumni
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Jordan Soreff
Advisor to the Director
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Michael Even-Esh
Senior Educator & Nature Guide
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Shlomo Tal
Educator
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Banot Sherut Leumi
National Service Women
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Tzivia Polsky
Office Manager
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Bracha Eitan
Executive Assistant
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Lea Saida
Administrator for American Friends of Livnot U’Lehibanot
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Meet the Board

Israel Board

Laurie Rippel, Chair
Rafi Abbo
Daniel Gewirtz
Stuart Hershkowitz
Pamela Moritz
Ron Mortiz
Matti Munk
Avraham Nadell
Yehoshua Sivan

American Friends Board

Joshua Katz, Chair
Vicki Compter Lefkowitz
Sheryl Fox Adler
Hallie Hurwitz-Abrams
Jeffrey Kaplan
Rabbi Mark Miller
Joshua Rocker, MD
Larry Rosenthal
Robert Stark
Marla Stark
Diane Wohl
Lois Zoller