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The Springboard blog highlights the experiences of Jewish teens and Jewish teen professionals participating in community programs across Chicagoland and beyond. Dive into blogs about different Jewish teen events, leadership programs, trip opportunities, and more! Join us in celebrating the unique perspectives and contributions of Jewish teens and professionals in the Jewish community. To post a blog, please email

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How Diller Teens Fellows Helped me Explore my Jewish Identity

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Hi everyone! My name is Ariana Freimuth and I am a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. I am majoring in Human and Organizational Development with minors in Business and Data Science. During my time in high school, I was a Yearbook Editor, VP/co-founder of Women in Business, Peer Group Leader, and I played varsity Field Hockey and Lacrosse. Outside of school, I worked as a Madricha at my synagogue’s Sunday school and at Apachi Day Camp during the summers. I also participated in Voices and, last but not least, Diller Teen Fellows.  

After spending nine years at Solomon Schechter Day School, I struggled with how I would maintain my connection to Judaism upon entering a public high school. I was able to continue my involvement in the Jewish community through working at Apachi and the Sunday school, but Diller was what allowed me to explore my Jewish identity. It gave me the space to reflect on what type of role I wanted Judaism to have in my life with a more adult-like perspective for the first time. The experiential activities combined with meeting other teens from all over the world enabled me to independently shape my Jewish identity. Forming relationships with the other teens in my cohort (shoutout cohort 8!) aided this as well. Despite our three-week trip to Israel being canceled due to Covid, I gained clarity in what being Jewish meant to me and how I wanted to serve the community going forward. At Vanderbilt this past year, I kept that inspiration going through Hillel and TAMID, which is a consulting club for Israeli businesses. Because of my experiences in Diller, I am motivated to continue my involvement with the Jewish community at Vandy, and I am excited to continue this beyond as well. 

Ariana Freimuth