International DTF highlights from their second week in Israel

This week has provided the International Diller Teen Community with hard work and great rewards. Each community delved into their service projects and teens both led and participated in educational programming. The inspiring projects that were led by the Diller Teens engaged Israeli citizens and immigrants from the underprivileged, abused and physically challenged communities. 
Metro West, NJ Diller Teens with Ethiopian Israelis in Rishon L'Tzion

Metro West, NJ Diller Teens with Ethiopian Israelis in Rishon L'Tzion

The Metro West DTF Cohort has been preparing for months with their Israeli counterparts in Rishon Lezion to create a camp for underprivileged Ethiopian Israelis. Through email, Facebook and Skype the Diller Teen Fellows and Manhigut Esreh were able to organize a camp in Rishon Lezion that focuses on creating connections cross culturally through body language. Earlier this week the Metro West Cohort learned the importance of non-conventional communication. The teens experienced a meal in the dark: they were blind-folded while the meal was brought to them by the organization Na Lega’at which means, “please touch.” The meal was followed by attending a show where the actors were both blind and deaf. The “take-away” from these experiences helped them to communicate more effectively with their campers at the Ethiopian Israeli camp in Rishon L'Tzion.

The teens have had many remarkable moments throughout the week that have empowered them to see Israel as a diverse country comprised of not only Israelis but Ethiopians, Americans, physically challenged and many other groups of people as well. Meanwhile the Diller Teen Fellows from Montreal have spent a very warm week in the desert being activists, volunteers and pioneers. The teens planned a speech and activity on Gilad Shalit at the Beer Sheva Courthouse.

As volunteers the teens took part in two amazing projects which they organized and ran. The first project, “The Happening,” took place at the Maslan shelter in Beer Sheva, which provides support for women and children who have been abused. The teens planned a carnival for the residents at the Maslan Shelter which had an array of booths, cotton candy and a large bazaar, where goods were sold for two Shekels. The second project took place at the Australian Soldiers Park, also in Beer Sheva. The park is specially designed to accommodate children with special needs. The teens utilized this unique space to lead inspirational activities. Finally, the Montreal Diller Teens were pioneers as they ventured through Mitzpe Ramon on a hike and overnight camping trip just as their ancestors did before them. 

The Baltimore community has had an intense Israel Seminar experience thus far. On Tisha B’av many of the teens chose to fast which created a spiritual day as they toured Har Hertzel and saw the Paratrooper Memorial, the Memorial for the War of Independence and the Dakar Submarine Memorial. The intensity of this group of teens has allowed for an even greater Jewish experience as they tour sites such as Yad Vashem and the grave site of paratrooper Hannah Sennesh.  

The San Francisco community was able to observe Tisha B’av in their own way as well. After a full day in Tel Aviv, the teens went to the Jaffa Institute where they assembled packages of food for families who could not afford to celebrate the breaking of the Tisha B'Av fast. As the teens traveled to the North of Israel to meet with their Israeli counterparts they were able to hear first hand stories of Northern Israel during times of war.  The teens listened to a father speak about his son, Liron Saadia’s, life and tragic death in the 2nd Lebanon War in 2006 as a fallen solider.   

The teens from Pittsburg spent a day exploring the religious richness that comprises Israel’s history. To begin this educational and religious journey the teens traveled to Tzippori which previously was the center for the Jewish people during the time of the Roman invasion in Israel. The main focus of their visit was to contrast the events that occurred in Tzippori to those of Masada, where the Jews committed mass suicide instead of surrendering to the Romans. The Dillers learned that, in Tzippori, the Jews went along with the Romans and were all spared. Thus Tzippori was able to become a thriving Jewish city.

To continue on their religious exploration the teens traveled to the” Jumping Mountain” and then to Nazareth. In Nazareth they learned about the historical importance of the many buildings that still remain and visited churches with significant meaning to the stories of Mary and Jesus. Many realizations were reached in this past week’s Israel Summer Seminar. For many of the teens, this is their first venture to Israel and their expectations are being more than fulfilled!

Categories: Endowment, Teens


August 02, 2010