Michael Livni (born Langer, called Max as a child) was born in Vienna, Austria on January 26th, 1935. Max’s education began in Tel Aviv, where he attended the Nordau school and received private lessons in English. This time in Palestine, while brief, had a significant impact on Max’s life as a Zionist. In Canada, Max attended Cecil Rhodes Elementary School and King Edward High School. In high school he played table tennis and badminton. He went to the YMCA camp Elphinstone throughout his childhood and eventually became a camp counselor there. At 15 he attended his first meeting of Habonim and began his involvement with the Jewish community. Michael studied pre-med with an intended career in child psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, starting at age 17 in 1952. He was in the Varsity Outdoors Club, and President of the Hillel foundation throughout medical school. Starting in July of 1959 Michael interned for two years in Brooklyn, New York, was the doctor at a Jewish summer camp in New York in 1960, and did a locum in Ontario in 1961. From 1961-1962 he accompanied Habonim to Israel, working as a medic, visiting kibbutzim, and getting a temporary license to work in Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva for a month. He then returned to New York for his residency at the Brooklyn State Hospital. This was a turning point, where he felt that he no longer wanted to work in medicine.
Michael left New York in 1963, arriving in Israel on June 10th of that year. He worked on kibbutz Gesher HaZiv, for the first year focusing on agriculture. He met his first wife, Zmira Yechezkel, at the kibbutz, and they were married in July 1964. He spent a year in Advanced Studies in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the Oranim Seminary School in Kiriat Tivon before becoming a 6th and 7th grade teacher at Gesher HaZiv. Michael held this position for two years before moving on to several other positions in areas such as the kibbutz education department, treasury, turkey breeding program, and health committee. He served on the Israeli army home guard and as an army reserves medic. Michael worked in New York as the central Shaliach for the reform movement from 1975-1977, organizing the first groups going to kibbutzim Yahel and Lotan. He returned to Israel in 1978 and worked with the Israeli reform youth movement from 1979-1983. Michael and Zmira were divorced in 1986; he moved to kibbutz Lotan the same year in an advisory role. He changed his last name to Livni in 1988 as a way to Hebrewize his name and reconnect with the meaning of the family name ‘Lowy.’ Michael met Dr. Brenda (Shaw) Herzberg in 1992, and they were married in 2005, both in a reform ceremony at kibbutz Lotan and in a civil marriage in Australia. At kibbutz Lotan Michael has worked in accounting, date farming, citrus groves, tourism, and the ecology branch. His other work includes Chairperson of the Education Committee of World Habonim, Executive Director of the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Education and Culture in the Diaspora, and Executive of the Kibbutz Movement’s International Communal Desk. While Michael retired in 2005, he continues to volunteer, write, research, and work with several organizations. He has three children from his marriage with Zmira. Dvir was born in 1968, he and his partner Sarah Bar Avraham have three daughters, Gefen (b. 2001), Ruth (b. 2003), and Noor (b. 2009). Nimrod was born 1970, he and his partner Andrea Jarvis have three sons, Jordan (b. 2001), Raphael (b. 2003), and Hadas (b. 2006). Sivian was born in 1978.