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Our Diller Teen Fellows will be hosting teens from Herzliya in April!


Dear Friends,

Within the Diller Teen Fellows program framework, a key element is an annual hosting of teen fellows from Herzliya, Israel, the location of our sister-partnership. This year, numerous Diller Teen Fellow/Israel partnership trips across the United States encountered challenges amid the current climate in Israel. We are thrilled to share that this past week we secured official approval for our hosting, and will welcome 19 teens from Israel for a 9-day stay this April. We are incredibly excited to have navigated through the complexities and feel fortunate to have secured this opportunity – recognizing its importance for both the Israeli teens and our teens here in Philly. A heartfelt thank you to The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, our partners in Herzliya, The Helen Diller Foundation, and to everyone who played a role in helping to make this trip a reality.

The primary objective of this trip is to familiarize our Israeli guests with Jewish Philadelphia and the diverse Jewish life that thrives in our community. Together, both groups of teens will engage in a Rabbi panel, featuring representatives spanning the full spectrum of Judaism present in our community. In Israel, those who identify in Jewish often fall into a “religious” or “not religious” space, and the range in Judaism we have here in Philadelphia will offer a unique perspective to our visiting teens, and eye opening for our teens who are very used to what they are familiar with.

Our itinerary includes a visit to Old City, Philadelphia, for an exploration of United States history. A special stop at Congregation Mikveh Israel, established in 1740 and renowned as the “Synagogue of the American Revolution,” will provide a deep dive into our community’s historical roots. Beyond historical insights, we are enthusiastic about sharing how Jewish life intertwines with the vibrant tapestry of Philadelphia. The teens will also have fun during their trip, including a visit to Independence Hall and a full day to enjoy with their host families.

The trip culminates in a weekend retreat at Pinemere Camp in the Poconos, fostering lasting bonds between the two groups of teens that will endure across the ocean for a lifetime. Discussions will revolve around the meaning of being Jewish and how cultural differences shape one’s identity. The significance of this trip resonates deeply with everyone involved, and we are immensely grateful for the opportunity to continue this cherished tradition.

Shabbat Shalom,
Darren Rabinowitz