20 Melbourne teens join Diller Teen Fellowship

August 7, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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350 Jewish teens from 16 communities in six countries joined a three-week seminar as part of a year-long Diller Teen Fellowship, an immersive leadership program for teenagers from across Israel and the world.

The Melbourne cohort

The teens hail from Melbourne, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore, central New Jersey, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and the United Kingdom. Each community has an Israeli partner community, and shortly after arriving in Israel, the international teens will join Israeli teens also taking part in the program.
Jade Miller (15) from Caulfield South, Australia. She goes to Leibler Yavneh College:
“After almost a year, I feel inspired, empowered and equipped with important tools to help make the world a better place. Connecting with teens from around the world has provided me with the opportunity to explore different opinions and be reminded that ultimately, we are all one big Jewish people.”

Jade Miller Photo: Dror Miller, courtesy of Diller Teen Fellowship.

The Diller Teen Fellows program is one of the world’s most respected global leadership opportunities for Jewish teenagers. Participants are self-identified Jewish 10th and 11th graders selected to participate for their leadership potential and encouraged to apply for this unique, international program. Participants then become part of the program’s international network of Jewish leaders.

The Diller Teen Fellows program has cultivated new generations of Jewish leaders since 1998. It started when philanthropist Helen Diller (z”l) observed the effectiveness of existing leadership programs for young professionals and saw the need to reach potential leaders much earlier, when they are in the critical teenage years. Today, there are more than 6,500 Diller alumni worldwide.
Jen Smith, executive director of the Helen Diller Family Foundation Programs, says, “At a time when our world can feel more fractured and divided than ever before, Diller Teen Fellows from across the globe are uniting to build understanding, create connections and help repair the world. Diller serves as a foundational year that can impact the lifetime of a teen, as they explore their Jewish identity and the good they want to do in the world as a leader. While the goals, values, and mission of the program unite participants as one global Jewish family, each teen brings their own unique perspective, lived experience and leadership qualities. Working together, we believe they can change the world.”
After arriving in Israel, the teens will travel and learn about the country (July 4-8), experience a Shabbaton retreat experience (July 8-10) and participate in Community Week (July 10-17) with teens from their Israel-partnership communities: Upper Galilee, Rishon Lezion, Karmiel/Misgav, Be’er Sheva, Haifa and more. The last part of their Israel visit is known as Global Congress (July 17-21), with the 350 international participants gathering with the 350 Israeli participants for a week of global connection, exploration of Jewish peoplehood, and shared community service projects.
Throughout the yearlong Fellowship, all 700 teens across the globe participate in local workshops (mifgashim in Hebrew) where they learn about the diversity of their local Jewish community and peers; hands-on opportunities to lead Tikkun Olam initiatives, where they learn to lead through a Jewish lens; local weekend retreats (Shabbatonim), where they experience Jewish pluralism in action; and active partnership connections between Israeli and diaspora communities.

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