Diller Teen Fellows helps Jewish teens become leaders

Diller Teen Fellows (Diller) is a 12-month Jewish leadership program for high school students in Toronto and UJA Federation's partner community of Eilat/Eilot, Israel. Uniquely combining leadership training with Tikun Olam/Social Justice opportunities, Diller offers its participants the opportunity to become active leaders with a strong Jewish identity. Additionally, selected Fellows get to participate in two seminars: one in Toronto and one in Israel.

My Diller Experience So Far

by Shira Litvack

It took me a little while to figure out how I was going to transfer the words onto the page, which was odd for me considering I romanticize the idea of writing anything. But I find myself on my computer with a lot to reflect on after volunteering at the Dinner of Miracles, a truly moving experience in which the Diller Fellows had the opportunity to celebrate Chanukah with young professionals and Holocaust survivors. This very special event, put together by UJA Federation, the Neuberger Holocaust Education CentreCIJA, and March of the Living Canada, was a unique opportunity for youth and survivors to get to know one another and for survivors to share their remarkable stories. I can’t describe the powerful emotions I felt after leaving this dinner, and how grateful I am to the Diller Fellows program. 

My Diller story started when our family decided to host a ShinShin – a life changing experience – and the idea of becoming a fellow was brought to my attention. I can’t recall how I felt in that exact moment because the idea was a far-fetched one. All I could remember was I needed to apply. But the day my dad printed my acceptance email and handed it to me is a memory I will never forget.

Getting into the car after my first Diller workshop came to an end, I just couldn’t stop gushing about my experience. I have met people with similar ideas, shared values and a passion for the Jewish community.  I am becoming more confident with each passing session.  I feel as though my Diller colleagues are part of my family, and like we are on a very special journey. A journey to become Jewish leaders in our community. I find myself looking more deeply into everyday experiences and trying to take what I learn in our workshops to better apply myself in school, in life and in service to my community.

I’ve begun counting down to every workshop and adventure we go on because right now, Diller is my pride and joy. The future for us is grand, and I am so excited to grow with this group of people.