"My experience has not only changed the type of person that I am, but also changed how I live my entire life.
Not only did I develop this incredible love for Israel, but I’ve also built friendships in two countries that will last a lifetime. I came to realize that I could make an impact in the world, that I was more than ‘just a stranger walking down a street.’ Diller helped me realize who I was as an individual, and how that individuality could be celebrated. Additionally, I began to be much more involved in Judaism; I grew interested in studying Talmud and exploring Jewish morals and values. I began to live my life no longer referring to myself as an American Jew, but as a Jewish American."
“What Diller really gave me was a sense of empowerment and purpose:
That even though I’m just one teenager, I have all the skills I need to really paint the world as I’d like. I’ve realized that Diller is not really over for me – and neither is my commitment to repairing the world in a realistic, yet optimistic, way.”
"My participation in the Diller Teen Fellows Program was a formative experience.
It was a process that brought me closer to myself, a process that helped me develop and empowered me through exposure to new horizons and different ways of thought. More than anything, it gave me the ‘bug’ to affect change. They say that the best books are the ones that help you discover what you already know. Such is my greatest gain from participation in this program; the leader was already in me, all that I needed was to discover her."
"Hosting Yarden in my home was like nothing I have ever done before.
I got the opportunity not only get to know her better, but also to understand what it’s like to live in Israel. I learned that there is conflict between the Orthodox Jews and the rest of Israel because since most of the Orthodox Jews do not fight in the army. The rest of Israel constantly questions the fairness of this. I can only begin to imagine what it is like to not only be the center of conflict with neighboring countries, but also have conflict within your own country. But I also learned that Yarden along with most other Israel teens are very similar to us American teens. They like to sleep in, they don’t like homework or tests, they like to shop, and they love to just spend time with their friends. Even though Yarden and I live so far apart, I feel as though she is my neighbor."
"Many youth programs include in their charters the ideals of self-management, Jewish identity, pluralism, etc. but the Diller program is the only one that truly gives you the freedom to self-manage.
Diller constantly challenges me and has given me a real ‘toolbox’ of skills and allows me to actually use them. This program took me out of my comfort zone. It gave me the opportunity to tackle a variety of situations teens normally don’t encounter such as: running a seminar, dealing with budget, and guiding other teens through an experience I first encountered only a year ago. I feel I am being trust and believed in, that I am counted on 100%. And if I make a mistake, then this is the place to do it, because I will receive professional feedback and wisdom, and be able to learn from it."
"Overall, the Israel Summer Seminar was simply incredible.
It was not only a lot of fun but extremely valuable in creating close bonds, enhancing our sense of belonging to Israel, teaching us a lot about leadership and also teaching us about ourselves as Jews. All of this plays into giving every one of us a new sense of self-confidence that will be evident in everything we do, especially in giving back to this incredible Jewish community."