Diller Teen Fellows Programme – developing our future leaders 

 

The Diller Teen Fellows programme is an immersive leadership programme inviting a select group of Jewish 10th and 11th graders from 6 continents and 32 communities to step up, lead their communities, and repair the world.

Each year, over 600 teens – from 32 communities worldwide – North American, South Africa, Australia, South America, Europe and Israel spend 12 months engrossed in the Diller Teen Fellows programme. The training features a commitment to hands-on tikkun olam, building a connection to the Jewish people and Israel, and deepening Jewish identity.

This is done through monthly workshops, Shabbatonim (weekend retreats), a ten-day visit by the Israeli teens to South Africa, culminating in a 3 week summer seminar experience that brings them all together in Israel

The depth of the programme, global engagement, and a focus on experiential learning, create an enduring impact on participants and their families, building leaders with the power to change the world.

Since its inception, over three-thousand teens have participated in and completed the Diller Teen Fellows programme. Today, Alumni create an international network of doers and leaders actively engaged in their communities to create a vibrant Jewish future. 

Diller Teen Fellows embraces pluralism in the broadest sense. Participants reflect the diversity of the Jewish communities in which they live. Throughout the programme, participants are introduced to a wide range of different Jewish practices, beliefs, values, and perspectives and are encouraged to develop an appreciation for the spectrum of Jewish expression. 

The SA Zionist Federation became the official custodians of Diller Teen Fellows programme last year working closely with King David schools and the Helen Diller Foundation. In line with our vision of engaging and empowering young leaders with a strong Jewish identity and love for Israel – Diller is the perfect platform to ensure that we are developing young hearts and minds. 

With the Diller Teen Fellows network spread around the world, participating communities benefit from access to an organization dedicated to empowering the future of the Jewish people as well as being part of an international community that fosters a sense of belonging to a greater whole. The Diller teens have the opportunity to create personal connections with other Jewish communities and professionals around the world, allowing them to be part of a global network of young Jewish leaders. A central office that serves the entire programme ensures long-term stability for each local community.

The Johannesburg Diller Teen Fellows are currently attending the Israel Summer Seminar, which brings together all 20 teens from the 32 international communities.  This 3 week seminar comes towards the end of their yearlong Diller programme and is, no doubt, the highlight of their journey. The Israel Summer Seminar serves as the culmination of their Diller experience and allows the teens to further explore and expand their understanding of who they are, who they want to be, and how they want to make a mark on the world. Despite the distances separating them, participants share a common history as well as hopes, concerns, passions, and commitments. The teens are continually collaborating, learning, and growing. At the same time, they build friendships destined to last a lifetime. 

The Programme’s clear mission of taking a select group of teens from around the globe and giving them the platform to learn how to become the next generation of Jewish leaders is followed through in the Israel Summer Seminar which is another piece of the programmes puzzle. These teens are empowered to play an important role in each of their local and national communities as well as become part of international & global platforms and initiatives. 

Ronli Dorfman, The local DTF supervisor, has been nominated by her international Diller colleagues to sit on the International Diller Teen Fellow Pilot Advisory Committee.  This committee serves as the voice of the partners and a sounding board for the Diller foundation to advise on topics such as programme content, community engagement, best practises and the like. Ronli has just returned from the first kick-off meeting in New Jersey, USA and we look forward to being part of this new initiative and seeing the exciting projects come into fruition. 

Registration for cohort 5 has officially been opened. We will invite applicant to two rounds of gruelling interviews after which we will select our next group of 20 Diller teens. For more information on how to register for the programme, please email Ronli on training@sazf.org

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