20 named Chicago-area Diller Teen Fellows

Twenty Chicago-area Jewish teens have been chosen for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s inaugural cohort of Diller Teen Fellows, a 15-month international leadership program that includes a three-week trip to Israel.

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 Teen Fellows, creating a network of young Jewish leaders throughout the world.

Diller Teens

The selected teens are: 

Name                            Hometown              Congregation

Rena Auerbach              Lincolnwood              Congregation Yehuda Moshe

Emily Bakal                    Glencoe                     Am Shalom

Daniel Balogh                 Mundelein                  Beth Judea

Leta Berkowitz                Deerfield                    Kehilat Shalom

Shira Brandhandler        Wilmette                     Temple Beth Israel

TaliusChickering            Chicago                     Ner Tamid Egalitarian Synagogue

Robby Cohn                    Highland Park           North Shore Congregation Israel

LielHagen                       Chicago                    Temple Sholom

Amanda Jackson             Lisle                         Beth Shalom

Lizzy Katz                        Oswego                    Beth Shalom

Sam Klein                         Northbrook               Aitz Hayim

Kyle O'Day                       Schaumburg             Beth Tikvah

Emily  Reisler                   Skokie                      Or Torah and Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel

JamieSchlacter                Riverwoods              B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim

Colin Silverman                Vernon Hills              Chabad Jewish Center of Vernon Hills

Leah Umanskiy                Chicago                     KAM Isaiah Israel

Seth Wasserman              Arlington Heights      Chabad of Buffalo Grove

Alyssa Wexler                   Buffalo Grove           Shir Chadash

Rina Zell                            Highland Park          North Suburban Synagogue Beth El

Zoe Zirlin                           Highland Park          B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim

Accepted teens 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 runs concurrently with a mirror program in Chicago’s Partnership 2Gether region in Israel, which includes Kiryat Gat, Lachish, and Shafir. In the spring, American fellows will host their Israeli peers in Chicago, before the Chicagoans travel 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.

In addition to hailing from a wide range of geographic areas in Chicago, the Diller teens also represent a variety of Jewish experiences and denominations.

“I’m excited about being able to form a network with Jewish teens from diverse backgrounds and many different movements of Judaism,” said Colin Silverman, a junior at Stevenson High School in north suburban Lincolnshire.

The Diller Teen Fellows program is generously 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 Chicago’s Partnership 2Gether region in Israel.

The local program is open to Chicago-area Jewish high school sophomores and juniors. The application period for next year's cohort will open in early spring 2014. For more information, visit http://www.juf.org/teens/diller.aspx or contact Jessica Fisher at JessicaFisher@juf.org.

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