Teens giving back: Diller fellows plan concert for trauma relief

Teens giving back: Diller fellows plan concert for trauma relief

The Diller Teen Fellows
The Diller Teen Fellows

The goal of the International Diller Teen Fellowship is to teach young people about leadership, Jewish identity, Israel, and tikun olam, repairing the world.

Now, a few months after graduating from their program, the 20 members of the 2012-2013 Greater MetroWest cohort are putting their idealism and leadership skills into action through mitzva projects. One group — Eli Schechner, Annabelle Hanflig, Rebecca Cooper, Eden Posner, Hannah Kanter, Michael Paisner, and Sam Grossman — is hosting a concert in West Orange to raise funds for NATAL, the Israeli Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War.

The teen organizers have enlisted bands and soloists from Millburn, Short Hills, New York, and Israel for their Saturday, April 12, “Songs of Support” fund-raiser. They include pop/soul singer Khaya, Millburn High School a cappella group Soulfege, 17-year-old singer Anya Parker-Lentz from Short Hills, rock-pop group The Crash Native, and Israeli singer/lyricist Yariv Peled.

The event is being supported, in conjunction with JCC MetroWest, NATAL, and Diller Teens, by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. The federation sponsors the training program together with the San Francisco-based Helen Diller Family Foundation and the Israeli municipality of Rishon Letzion, a federation partner community.

“We wanted to do something that brought together our love of Israel and our personal passions,” said Annabelle, a junior at Livingston High, who is cochairing the event with Eli, a senior at Millburn High. “NATAL is an incredible organization that is on the brink of changing the way Israelis recover from rocket attacks, and we are honored to be organizing Songs for Support in order to help it.”

The organization helps PTSD victims by sending a response team to places that have recently been attacked, providing a telephone hotline staffed by psychiatric professionals, and offering free therapy sessions to families suffering in the aftermath of attacks.

Eli said, “April 12 will be a fun night not just for teens but for music lovers of all ages. I also hope that while enjoying the music and festivities, people leave with a strong understanding of the vital threats facing southern Israel, and that the basic safety of these families is not a political issue, but a fundamental issue that needs and deserves our support.”

Three weeks before the event, they had already surpassed their initial goal of $5,000.

“The Diller program highlights, among other values, the importance of tikun olam and community service,” said Eli. “Once we had the idea for the fund-raiser, it became very clear that this was the right thing to be doing. It’s wonderful to engage the community for such a great cause, and we hope that’s exactly what the concert will do.”

Maya Tadmor-Anderman, executive director of American Friends of NATAL, has been helping the concert organizers.

“It is truly inspiring to see the Diller teens’ passion about NATAL’s cause and how they are making a real difference in the lives of so many,” she said. “They exemplify the sense of voluntarism that allows NATAL to help others.”

Recruitment for the next cohort of Diller Teen Fellows begins after Passover. For more information, go to jfedgmw.org/diller or contact Leah Maas at lmaas@jfedgmw.org or 973-929-2712.

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