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Diller Teen Fellows Blog

Diller Teen Fellows Blog

Stay up to date with the Diller Teens on their Summer travel experiences in Israel!
Learn more about the Diller Teen Fellow Program HERE!

Exploring Jaffa and Experiencing Family Life – 7/13

Wednesday rolled around, and the good vibes from the concert kept going as well. We started the day with more icebreaker games, and then drove to Jaffa to have a food tasting tour around the old port city. We walked around Pishpeshim Market, and enjoyed the live music and delicious treats in the sun. The highlight of the day was most definitely the opportunity for our Philly teens to be hosted by the Herzliyan families, once more eating good food with great company. The Philly teens were welcomed with open arms, and had the chance to fully experience family life in Israel. It has truly been an absolute joy to watch the two cohorts become one partnership. Our teens have done an incredible job opening up, being vulnerable, and being receptive while listening to others. I am truly so proud of them and so lucky to have this group of wonderful teens to guide. The best is yet to come!

Maagal Boker, Exploring Tel Aviv, and the Herzliyan Beach – 7/12

We started Tuesday recognizing the differences in all our expressions of Judaism during our Maagal Boker and spoke about the strength of diverseness. After, we drove to Tel Aviv (my absolute favorite city) for a cooking workshop with some elite chefs who lead the teens in preparing quite a feast for lunch. From there, we had a tour of Apollonia, a historic site in Herzliya, lead by the Israeli teens. Dvir, the Herzliyan coordinator, got sappy beside the cliff side view and shared his proposal story with us all, creating a heartfelt, funny moment for all of us to remember. A short bus ride later and we were all on the beautiful Herzliyan beach, with crystal clear water and warm sand to spend a few hours in. As if free time at the beach wasn’t fun enough, we ended the day getting a taste of teen night life at a concert hosted by the youth center, where once more our teens danced and sang and laughed in the company of their Israeli counterparts. It was truly a night to remember!

Woodworking Community Service and More! – 7/11

Monday began with more icebreakers as the teens familiarized themselves with each other before working together to impact their community. We went to a wood-working workshop, where as a team we helped make balance boards for special needs teens to practice on as the first step in learning how to surf. From there, we were all taken out of our comfort zone during Guru Zuzu, a sort of silent disco activity where we all danced our hearts out throughout the mall in Herzliya, spreading joy and tapping into our childlike silliness. We ended the day all together at a barbecue hosted by one of the Israeli teens, enjoying good food and good company.

Meeting our partnership cohort! – 7/11

It’s Emily E. and Shalom, back at it with your very own leaders of the day! On Sunday morning, we rounded out International Shabbaton and said goodbye to our new friends for the next week.  We reflected on our time over the weekend, emphasizing how we all went out of our comfort zones when meeting new friends, yet we also found comfort in our Philly cohort family. After some waiting and a bus ride, we finally arrived in Herzliya! We were immediately welcomed by the fellows from our partnership city and had a great time getting to know them.  From learning Hebrew slang, to icebreakers, to speed dating with questions, we can’t wait to continue getting to know our Herzliyans during Community Week and all the fun activities we have to look forward to together!

Wrapping up International Shabbaton – 7/10

Shavua Tov! Good morning from the end of International Shabbaton! As we gather our belongings and leave the outskirts of Jerusalem to head to our partner city of Herzliya, we leave the 14 other communities having spent a meaningful, impactful, and reflective weekend listening and sharing with other Jewish teens from across the globe. Saturday morning began with a delicious breakfast, followed by an assortment of different expressions of Shabbat services, including an acrobatics lesson from Darren, the legend, himself!  The parshat this week focused on Jacob’s tents, of which the idea of preserving and sharing one’s traditions and being open to new ones were expanded on and discussed. There was ample time to for Shabbat naps and Shabbat schmoozing, followed by more learning together. We ended Shabbat with a boisterous Havdalah service, sharing in the togetherness of the experience as a whole. This Shabbat came with a range of emotions, and once again Diller Philly showed how powerful and diverse it is both as a whole and on the individual level. Darren and I are thrilled for the teens on their new connections to their peers and their willingness to expand spiritually. We now are transitioning to Community Week in which our partnership with the Herzliyans will develop and flourish! We are so excited!

First Shabbat in the Holy Land – 7/9

It’s Sarit here, writing from International Shabbaton where our fellows are meeting and connecting with all Diller Teen Fellows outside of Israel, coming from throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australia. There is an electricity in the air as these teens explore their Judaism and leadership together. It has been an immensely fun filled 24 hours so far, and we are all so excited for all that’s still in store this Shabbat! Back to yesterday, we started off our Friday morning in Netiv HaAsara, where we visited Path to Peace to learn more about the Gaza Strip and the communities surrounding it. Moreover, we were able to add our wishes to a mosaic on the interior border wall and hear first hand experiences living on the frontlines of the conflict. After this meaningful experience, we transitioned from the Negev back to outside Jerusalem to attend International Shabbaton, where our fellows continue to push themselves out of their comfort zone socially, mentally, and spiritually. This week has been an incredible time touring as a cohort and hearing many diverse perspectives on the land of Israel. We are so proud of the fellows for their openness and adaptability!  Diller Philly is truly something special! Thank you so much for all your support and patience with these updates. There are so many more amazing experiences to come!

A Day in Netivot – 7/7

It’s Yemima and Darcy, your very own leaders of the day, here to recap today’s activities! Today we started our morning with a security tour where we were able to view both the Gaza Strip and the Iron Dome. From there, we traveled to Netivot to meet with Philadelphia’s partner city where we spotted a liberty bell just like in our home city. We spent the day with local teens who shared music, food, and laughter. From there we were invited to the Kaiserman Ethiopian Cultural Center in Netivot and learned about the Ethiopian community and its rich culture, including tasting Buna, a unique coffee, and making pottery. We wrapped up our day with a belated July 4th barbecue with the Israelis. Today was a great day full of insight to Israeli life and we are so excited for International Shabbaton tomorrow!! Tali and Leah will tell you all about tomorrow’s adventures….

Floating in the Dead Sea – 7/6

Today we began with an early breakfast, and then drove to the South where we dipped our toes in the waterfalls and oasis’s of Ein Gedi during a hike in which sadly, no ibex’s were spotted. Then we drove to the Dead Sea where we floated around in the warm water and ate lunch of fresh pitas and hummus. After hours in the sun, bus rides were full of napping teens. Afterwards we met with Eretz Ir in Be’er Sheva to learn about their grassroots efforts to build communities in the peripheral lands of Israel. We ended our day in Alumim, a kibbutz near the border cities. Looking forward to another day in the sun tomorrow!

Exploring Jerusalem – 7/5

Today was a long, hot day in the city of Jerusalem, and we fellows explored the winding corridors of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City.  We went to the Western Wall and added our wishes to thousands scattered amongst the holy site. We then traveled to Machane Yehuda, an open market, for lunch and wandered around the various shops, embracing Israeli culture and got a taste of bargaining. We ended the day in Gush Etzion, where we had the opportunity to listen to different perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the West Bank, including first hand stories from a Palestinian who lives in Bethlehem. On the bus ride back, future doctor Darren treated us to his favorite, Medjool honey dates, and rugelach from Marzipan Bakery. A sweet ending to a sweet day! Ella and Gavriella will update you all about our adventures tomorrow….

First Day in Eretz Yisrael – 7/5

Diller Philly has officially arrived in Israel! After a short delay, the teens withstood 10 hours on the plane, expertly navigated Ben Gurion airport, and made it to Jerusalem right in time for ״ארוחת ארב״…. dinner time! After the long travel day, we are all looking forward to a good night’s rest and even more excited for the first full day of activities around the Old City! Our leaders of the day, Marin and Leora, will share all about it tomorrow! The journey has truly just begun…..