A weekend retreat for Diller Teen Fellows

March 16, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Recently, Diller Teen Fellows Melbourne held its second Shabbaton (weekend retreat) for Cohort 6, with a program aimed at developing self-management skills among the teens.

The Diller Teen Fellows is a year-long Jewish leadership program designed for Year 9 and 10 students in order to develop lifelong leadership skills, strengthen their relationship with Judaism and Israel, build connections with like-minded Israeli teens and contribute to their local and global community. Run in Australia through the Zionist Federation of Australia, the year-long Diller experience generally includes fortnightly workshops, weekend retreats, an opportunity to host their Israeli counterparts for 10 days as a 3-week Israel trip which usually takes place in July. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all Diller communities within Israel and around the world have been significantly impacted, including the international travel component.

Remarkably, the Melbourne cohort is the only cohort around the world able to meet face-to-face. The current group consists of 15 teens from a diverse range of schools, backgrounds and religious affiliation. The strength of the program is also reflected in the staff group which includes Diller alumni: student interns, Jessy Benary Belfar & Timna Cohen, and Junior counsellor, Mor Flenner.

The Leadership Shabbaton took place at the end of February and was the teens’ first platform for significant self-management. On this weekend retreat, the teens were solely responsible for organising logistics, content areas and Shabbat programming. The Fellows were given tools for planning and intentionality. In their fortnightly Mifgashim(meetings), they explored their leadership qualities such as time management, prioritisation, and tools to effectively design and implement a project. With this “leadership toolbox”, the Cohort created a successful Shabbaton where they cooperated with one another and took responsibility for their own actions whilst balancing individual and collective growth.

One of the participants, Hadar Flenner said of the experience, “I learnt to use my time more effectively and collaborate within the group.” Meanwhile another participant, Theo Feiglin said, “The best results come about when everyone communicates their ideas and isn’t afraid to disagree for the sake of productivity.”

Praising this Cohort, Diller Teens Fellow coordinator Shlomit Weidenfeld said, “Melbourne has been through some tough months, but this group have put in the hard work and now we get to bring life back into our surroundings and be together.” With wisdom beyond her years, participant Dahlia Gold summed it up perfectly when she said, “I think that we never know when something is going to hit, like COVID, we have to remain flexible”.

Applications for Cohort 7 will open in June. Please contact Coordinator Shlomit Weidenfeld on dillertf@zfa.com.au for further details.

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