More than 100 teens from six North American communities are currently
traversing Israel – but not as part of a Birthright journey.
exceptional 10th- and 11th- graders are part of the three-week Diller Teen Fellows program, which partners the Americans and Canadians with Israeli
counterparts to work on initiatives within their respective
The students participate in educational training, weekend
retreats and a 10-day North American seminar, culminating in the summer program
with their sister communities and teen counterparts. Student partnerships include
San Francisco/the Upper Galilee, Boston/Haifa, Los Angeles/Tel Aviv,
Pittsburgh/Karmiel and the Lower Galilee’s Misgav region, Montreal/Beersheba and Bnei Shimon, and
MetroWest, New Jersey/Rishon Lezion.
Doria Charleson, a Diller Fellow alumna who
works as a junior counselor on the program, said, “For me it was my first
encounter with Israel in a way that was meaningful.
There’s a practical
[aspect], I learned very real skills about leadership and about what kind of
person I wanted to be...and how I can improve myself as a leader for the people
The program was established by San Francisco Bay Area
philanthropist Helen Diller in 1997. She created groundbreaking programs in a
broad range of priority areas, including youth, education, the elderly, the
arts, medical research, leadership development and Israel.
teens are our future. We need to invest in them, show them that they can lead us
and help repair the world,” Diller said in a statement. “It fills me with pride
to know that these teens will unite under the banner of peoplehood, learning to
guide the next generation in meaningful pursuits during this inspiring trip to