On Sunday, September 18th, the 6th cohort of the Diller Teen Fellows gathered for the first time. The Kaiserman JCC hosted twenty new Diller Fellows from across the Great Philadelphia area. The Fellows met this year’s staff, learned about the history of each other’s names, and co-created a Brit (Contract) which details how they will be learning and growing together this year. We are excited to embark on our unit on Jewish Identity and can’t wait to see how the Fellows grow this year.
Below you will find a message from Diller Teen Fellow Alumni, Shalom, about his acceptance into the Hartman Teen Fellowship Program, and how his experiences in the Diller Program influenced his decision to apply.
Diller Teen Fellow Philadelphia Program Coordinator
This past year, I was a Diller Teen Fellow. If I’m being honest, my main reasons for applying to Diller were a trip to Israel and something fancy to put on my college application, but I ended up getting much more out of the experience. I made friends, had a blast, and began to develop a new outlook on my Jewish identity. Before Diller, my exposure to Judaism had been primarily through my family, synagogue, and summer camp. A positive exposure to be sure, but also a narrow one. Through Diller, I met Jews from every continent (sans Antarctica), Jews of many denominations and belief systems, Jews of many cultures. I had never before appreciated how diverse we are as a people. The experience left me with more questions than answers… If we are so diverse, what ties us together? And where do I fit in?
In my continued quest to understand my Jewish identity, I applied and was selected for the Shalom Hartman Teen Fellowship in the coming year. Through the Fellowship, I hope to further explore the breadth of Judaism and my place among our multitudes. I begin activities with the Fellowship this November, and if it is anything like Diller, I will certainly expect great things.
Shalom, 2021-2022 Diller Teen Fellow Alumni