Four key pillars define the program. They spring from our values and shape our curriculum.
Some might say leaders are born. We believe they are made. Participants are challenged to define their strengths, weaknesses, and personal leadership goals. Then we provide the tools, feedback, and mentoring they need to experiment, collaborate, and learn from their mistakes. The result? A meaningful experience they can apply to real world challenges.
"A person should first put one’s house together, then one’s town, then the world."
Rabbi Israel Salanter
"We do not know the extent of our own power to change and to effect change. But we must act; that is in our power."
Rabbi Baruch Bokser
Diller Teen Fellows is based on a belief that true leadership stems from a strong sense of self, and an appreciation of others. Participants examine and reflect on their sense of Jewish identity in order to understand how their history, traditions, and values motivate them to act in the world.
Participants are encouraged to wrestle with their notions of Jewish identity and those of their peers. The result is a deeper understanding of what it means to be Jewish, both individually and collectively.
"Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement."
Participants gain a new perspective on Israel, informed by direct and authentic connections to the land, the country, its history, and its people.
A peak experience of the program is the Israel Summer Seminar. The three-week seminar brings together all participants to engage in the diversity, vibrancy, and complex reality of modern Israel.
"No country in the history of the world has ever contributed more to humankind and accomplished more for its people in so brief a period of time as Israel..."
The approach, experience and impact of tikkun olam, "repairing the world," are central to the Diller Teen Fellows. Participants are given opportunities to create and lead tikkun olam projects close to their hearts. Students move beyond academic participation to engage in hands-on work to "repair the world."
It is never too late, too early, or too often to give back and make the world a better place.
Helen Diller z"l
Deeds of giving are the very foundations of the world.
Mishna, Pirkei Avot 1:2