Frequently Asked Questions


The Basics

Tikkun Olam literally means "repairing the world." The name of our program refers to the biblical commandment that all of mankind should seek to perform acts of tikkun olam and gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness). Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa seeks not only to educate young Jews about these important tenets of Judaism, but to put them into action with social action and grassroots activism in the neediest parts of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Tikkun Olam is operated by an alliance of non-profit organizations -- BINA Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture, The Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism, and the Union for Reform Judaism.  All three organizations are dedicated to putting Jewish values into practice in Israel, reinforcing the connection between Jewish identity and social action, and strengthening the bonds between Jews from all around the world.
 
On a day-to-day basis, Tikkun Olam is operated by a dedicated and experienced staff, committed to crafting the most meaningful volunteer and learning experience possible for you.  Click here to read our staff profiles.

Living in Tel Aviv

Participants will live in apartments with other members of the Tikkun Olam group, including Israeli participants. If you choose the Social Action Track, you'll live in the south Tel Aviv neighborhood of Kiryat Shalom. If you choose the Coexistence track, you'll live in Jaffa. During the registration process, you may elect to share a room during the program, for which you will pay a reduced tuition rate. You may also select to have your own room, depending on availability.

The apartments are fully furnished, with kitchens and common areas, washing machines and all the basic kitchen essentials, as well as wireless internet.

The Community Service apartments are located in the Kiryat Shalom neighborhood of south Tel Aviv, and the Coexistence apartments are located in Jaffa. The Community Service apartments are about a 20 minute walk from the Tel Aviv New Central Bus Station and Hagannah Train Station, while the Coexistence apartments are just a short bus ride away. Both sets of apartments are just a short bus ride from the center of Tel Aviv, thus making all of Tel Aviv and all of Israel easily accessible to the participants.

Hebrew/Study

No problem! Our program begins with one month of intensive Ulpan study with experienced and highly qualified Hebrew Ulpan teachers. By the time participants begin volunteering, even those who did not know the Aleph-Bet upon arrival are able to speak at a high enough level to function in their volunteer places. Ulpan instruction continues with sessions throughout the duration of the program to ensure that the participants' Hebrew will continue to improve. By the end of the program, all participants will be able to speak Hebrew at a functional level.

During the Ulpan classes, participants will be split into groups according to their level of Hebrew knowledge. Prior to the start of the program, our Ulpan teachers will send each participant a diagnostic test, which they use to place each person in the appropriate level so that everyone should feel that he or she is being challenged in Hebrew class.

In some cases, a participant may speak Hebrew well enough to not require Ulpan at all. This should not discourage anyone from signing up for the program! The Tikkun Olam staff and Ulpan teachers will make decisions on a case-by-case basis to ensure that all participants are using their time wisely. In some cases, this may mean that a participant will be exempt from Ulpan, but only if that participant exhibits a very advanced level of Hebrew fluency. If you think this might apply to you, please ***contact us*** for more information.

Volunteering

On Tikkun Olam, you'll work to make a difference for the community where you live, in south Tel Aviv or in Jaffa. Although the specific volunteering places vary from term to term, a broad assortment of opportunities will be made available.  Each track has roughly 15-20 different volunteering options, such as:
 

  • Tutoring in public schools in struggling neighborhoods (all ages)
  • Working with disabled populations
  • Tutoring and mentoring in after school programs for youth-at-risk
  • Activities involving both Arab and Jewish youth
  • Work with south Tel Aviv's migrant worker population
  • Work with south Tel Aviv's African refugee and assylum-seeker population 
  • Women's empowerment
  • Adapted sports programs for children with disabilities
  • And much more!

 
You will receive information on the specific volunteering options during the first couple of days of the program. You will then have the opportunity to tour the various volunteering options and, with the guidance of Tikkun Olam staff, you'll choose which projects to take on for the remainder of the program. Participant initiatives beyond the pre-arranged offerings are welcome!

Three days each week are dedicated to volunteering, and participants will choose 2-4 regular volunteering jobs to be done each week, totaling approximately 24 hours of volunteering per week. You'll have your own unique volunteering schedule based on your interests, skills and preferences, and you'll have your Tikkun Olam track coordinator to help advise you in creating the most meaningful and impactful volunteering experience possible.

Applications and Admissions

Click here to get started on our online application!
 
Please note that ALL components of your application must be submitted in order to be eligible for acceptance to Tikkun Olam, including your application fee -- this fee will count towards your tuition payment if you are accepted to the program. Please contact us if you are interested in making your application fee payment via credit card.

Yes. We will make decisions on a case-by-case basis to determine if such individuals will be a good fit for our program. To find out more, please contact us.

Financial Issues

Tuition information is available on our tuition page.

Your tuition payment gets you:
 

  • Accommodations in Tel Aviv or Jaffa (including apartments and all utilities)
  • Health insurance
  • Educational programming, including intensive Hebrew Ulpan, during the orientation period
  • Educational programming, including Hebrew Ulpan, during the main portion of the program
  • Wireless internet in the program apartments
  • Educational tours, overnight trips and seminars

 
Participants are responsible for funding their own airfare, food and day-to-day expenses.  There are lots of ways to help cover these costs -- visit our financial aid page to browse through your options.
 

Technical Details

Yes, all participants will receive basic health care coverage from one of Israel's health care cooperatives (Clalit). There is a clinic and pharmacy in the neighborhood, a very short walk from the apartments. Please be advised that your health insurance will not cover preexisting conditions, and thus it is recommended that participants taking prescription medications for preexisting medical conditions bring enough with them to last the duration of the program.

Participant safety is the number one priority of the Tikkun Olam staff.  Although there is no reason to fear for one's safety in south Tel Aviv, in Jaffa or in Israel as a whole, the Tikkun Olam staff recommends that participants take certain basic precautions to insure their safety, such as:
 

  • Register with your home country's embassy as a citizen spending time abroad, and abide by travel advisories
  • Abide by travel advisories issued by the Israeli government
  • Follow Tikkun Olam and Masa Israel policies prohibiting travel to certain neighborhing countries and in the occupied territories
  • File emergency contact information with Tikkun Olam staff, as well as with your home country's embassy in Israel
  • Keep your apartment door locked to prevent theft
  • Only take buses from the major Israeli bus companies, and only take cabs that are clearly marked in the standard fashion.
  • Avoid hitchhiking.

 
Most safety precautions are common sense measures that one would follow in any country in the world. Tikkun Olam participants will never be forced to do anything that involves unreasonable danger, or that they do not feel safe doing. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about safety in Israel.

Don't see your question here? Please feel free to contact us!