Welcome Back from Israel, 2013 San Francisco Diller Teen Fellows!

On July 17, the San Francisco Diller Teen Fellows journeyed to Israel for the program’s annual Israel Summer Seminar (ISS). On the same day, 140 other Fellows began their journey, representing a diverse mix of individuals from seven other communities across North America.

In Israel, the North American cohort met up with 160 Israeli Fellows and spent three memorable weeks exploring Jewish identity, discussing leadership, forging international connections, conducting community service, and traveling the country.

The Israel Summer Seminar is part of a larger 15-month fellowship dedicated to inspiring and empowering teens to be active, effective leaders with a strong Jewish identity and sense of responsibility to their communities, the Jewish people, and Israel. The San Francisco Fellows returned home last week and will continue their Diller experience throughout the fall.

These local teens developed and participated in unique experiences, and they documented their adventures through blogs and pictures. Check out some highlights of their trip below, and read about some of the experiences of the seven other North American cohorts.

San Francisco Diller Teen Fellows on their way to Israel


Israel through the Diller Lens

Each cohort traveled the country, discovering Israeli history and culture through the lens of leadership, Jewish identity, Israel, and tikkun olam (social action). The Diller Fellowship allows each individual to make personal connections to Israel.

Ben Yehuda Street” by Hallie Goldstein
Hi Everybody” by Natalie Breuner

Community Week

Each North American community has an Israeli partner community with whom they conduct joint programming throughout the year. During community week, San Francisco teens enjoyed homestays with the families of Israeli fellows in the Upper Galilee, conducted community service, and learned about some of the challenges facing their partner community. Below, you can also learn about Community Week from another cohort’s perspective.

SF Diller Teen Fellows in Israel” by Katie Rachel Simkovitz
Pictures: “A Day in the Life of the SF Diller Teen Fellows in Israel
Pictures: “Our Week in Israel So Far
Day 4: Exploring Israel’s Past, Present, and Future” by Hannah Evans (Montreal)

North American Kennes

At Kennes, or “Gathering,” North American teens met to discuss North American Jewry, and they had the opportunity to connect with Fellows from eight communities. As Kennes is a national platform to discuss North American Jewish life, check out a few blogs written by teens from other North American cohorts.

North American Kennes” by Karin Kazakevich (Toronto)
North American Kennes” by Hanna Elbaum (Boston)

International Leadership Congress

North American and Israeli Fellows reunited to explore their individual and collective responsibility in regards to the future of the Jewish people. They did this through engaging speakers and small group discussions. Congress brought 320 Fellows and 56 Junior Staff together for four days of reflecting, learning, and forming international friendships. Check out some of the links below for different communities’ perspectives on their Congress experience.

Individual Leader Panel” by Noah Feiwell
…Crossing Cultures” by Eli Schechner (MetroWest)
2013 International Congress” by Michelle Banayan (Los Angeles)

Joint Travel Days

Fellows closed their experience in Israel by traveling around the country with their Israeli partnership community. San Francisco and Upper Galilee teens had a wonderful time exploring the Negev together.

August 6, 2013” by Rachel Ferm

Closing Thoughts

Final Blog Post” by Corey Gold (Baltimore)
A Bittersweet Goodbye” by Zane Braslawsce (Pittsburgh)

For more information on the Diller Teen Fellowship contact Gabi Lazar, Diller Teen Fellows Program Coordinator, at 415.512.6292.



August 20, 2013


Amanda Cohen