Livnot U'Lehibanot began in 1980, in the home of Aharon and Miriam Botzer in Tzfat, incorporating the physical work of excavating and rebuilding the ruins of the Old City along with hiking through Israel and studying Jewish values through experiential classes, discussions and workshops. Livnot offered the only Israel experience program which included spiritual content yet was not geared towards promoting a specific religious observance. Participants have made significant contributions to Israel during times of crisis, including renovating bomb shelters and delivering emergency provisions of food and water. They have also been responsible for many Western Wall tunnel excavations and aiding in the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants.
The contemporary Livnot program maintains the same focus as the original, but includes a wider variety of community service activities. The original goal of encouraging each participant to build his/her own Jewish identity and connection to Jewish community remains the ultimate focus of the program. Livnot U'Lehibanot, which in Hebrew means "To Build and Be Built," refers to the physical contribution the participants make toward building the Land of Israel, and to the knowledge and experiences gained during the program. Livnot is also working toward the preservation of 16th century Tzfat; its "Kahal" excavations were recently declared a National Heritage Site and are being developed for educational tourism.
To learn more about Livnot, visit their official website.