JUF launches inaugural Chicago Diller Teen Fellowships

The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is seeking teens for the region’s inaugural group of Diller Teen Fellows, a 15-month international leadership program that includes a three-week trip to Israel.

Beginning this fall, accepted teens will participate in monthly seminars and weekend retreats focusing on tikkun olam (social action and community service), Jewish identity, Israel and Jewish peoplehood. The Chicago program will run concurrently with a mirror program in JUF's Partnership 2Gether region in Israel, which includes Kiryat Gat, Lachish and Shafir. In the spring, American fellows will have the opportunity to host their Israeli peers in Chicago, before the local cohort travels to Israel for a joint seminar the following summer.

Upon returning from Israel, teens will be mobilized to put what they’ve learned into action through individual social justice projects.

“This is an incredible opportunity for teenagers throughout metro Chicago,” said Jessica Fisher, who will coordinate the program. “Participants will go back to their schools, youth groups, clubs and home communities with stronger leadership capabilities and a deeper engagement with Judaism.” 

The international Diller program began in 1997, and has grown to include 10 North American/Israeli partnerships. The program was created to inspire and train future generations of Jewish leaders worldwide who will be committed to the Jewish community, Israel and community service. Since 1997, the Helen Diller Family Foundation and partner communities have graduated more than 2,000 Diller Teen Fellows, creating a network of young Jewish leaders throughout the world. 

The Diller Teen Fellows program is funded by the Helen Diller Family Foundation, a supporting foundation of the San Francisco Federation’s Jewish Community Endowment Fund. The local Chicago program is a collaboration of the Helen Diller Family Foundation, the International Diller Teen Fellows office, the JUF/Federation, and JUF’s Partnership 2Gether region in Israel.

The local program is open to Chicago-area Jewish high school sophomores and juniors. Applications are due Aug. 9.  For more information or to request an application, visit www.juf.org/teens/diller.aspx or contact Jessica Fisher at JessicaFisher@juf.org.

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