Monday, April 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles teens team up with their Israeli peers to become future world leaders by stepping up, reaching out and giving back some of the best and brightest Jewish teens from North America and Israel are in Los Angeles for the next ten days to participate in community service projects and develop leadership skills.

Endowed by the Helen Diller Family Foundation and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the 2011 International Diller Teen Fellows North American Seminar is now underway in Los Angeles and seven other cities across the U.S. and Canada. The seminar is one of the most prestigious international Jewish teen programs in the world.

The Diller Teen Fellows North American Seminar is part of a year-long cultural exchange program for Jewish teens in North America and Israel. The program aims to inspire and empower Jewish teens to be active, effective leaders with a strong Jewish identity, a sense of belonging and service to their community, and a responsibility to make the world a better place.  Twenty exceptional 10th and 11th graders from each partner community are selected annually for the program from different Jewish denominations and traditions, representing a variety of cultural, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.

“Here in Los Angeles, CA, we are hosting 20 Jewish teens from Israel,” Los Angeles Diller Teen Fellows North American Coordinator Shoshana Hirsh said.  “During the next 10 days our kids will be involved in all kinds of projects, workshops and activities designed to build leadership skills and empower Los Angeles’s next generation of Jewish leaders. This is an exciting and intense exchange that will leave an indelible mark on our community—not to mention these amazing young teens.”

In addition to the 10-day peer-to-peer exchange -- where Israeli teens are hosted by North American families in a “sister” community or cohort -- highlights of the Diller Teen Fellows program include community service projects, weekend workshops, retreat and a three-week seminar in Israel that features an international teen leadership Congress.

The program was originated by San Francisco Bay Area philanthropist Mrs. Helen Diller in 1997, and since its inception has grown to include the following partner communities in North America, each of which is paired with an Israeli sister community.


~This article appeared in The Jewish Observer Los Angeles