Twenty MetroWest Jewish teens joined 120 of their North American peers in Israel for the 2011 International Diller Teen Fellows Israel Summer Seminar. Culled from 16 different Jewish communities, each group visits its partner community — MetroWest’s is Rishon Letzion — in Israel for 21 days of leadership programming and cultural exploration. The seminar culminates with a teen leadership congress, which is also attended by Jewish leaders and dignitaries.
The summer seminar is the culmination of a year-long program for Jewish teens in the United States, Canada, and Israel. Twenty 10th- and 11th-graders representing a variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and denominations are selected annually in each partner community. They work throughout the year, building relationships with peers at home and in Israel.
The Diller program is sponsored by the Helen Diller Family Foundation and locally by United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ. The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, MetroWest’s Jewish education and identity-building agency, is actively involved in the community service aspect of the program when the Israeli cohort visits New Jersey.
Daphna Yizrael, MetroWest youth shliha stationed at the Legow Family Israel Program Center of MetroWest and coordinator of the Diller program here, said the program’s is “for this future generation of Jewish leaders to be committed to the Jewish people, Israel, and community service.”
The program was created in 1977 by San Francisco Bay Area philanthropist Helen Diller. “These young teens are our future. We need to invest in them, show them that they can lead us, and help repair the world,” said Diller in a prepared statement. “It fills me with pride to know that these teens will unite under the banner of peoplehood learning to guide the next generation in meaningful pursuits during this inspiring trip to Israel.”