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Turning teens into leaders

Read this story in the Australian Jewish News

A HIGHLY-RESPECTED US-based initiative aimed at creating an international network of Jewish teenagers to serve as effective leaders is being brought to Melbourne by the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA).

The International Diller Teen Fellows program involves a one-year curriculum of workshops, community service and international travel, in which participants explore their Jewish identity and develop tools for leadership and activism.

Each year, the ZFA will be looking to recruit 20 year 9 and 10 students from both Jewish and non-Jewish schools representing various denominations and cultural backgrounds, who will take part in the program alongside 20 teens from the Golan.

The ZFA is also in the process of recruiting a program coordinator to spearhead the program in Australia.

Throughout the year, the teens will take part in educational workshops and weekend retreats. They will work together to create and implement social service projects, including helping to host a 10-day exchange program with their peers from the Golan.

The highlight of the program is a three-week seminar in Israel – the Diller Teen Leadership Congress, which includes all Diller Teen Fellows from across Diaspora and Israeli communities.

The fellows are encouraged to form a global network of Jewish leaders who will creatively and collaboratively engage in activism and community leadership.

ZFA executive director Ginette Searle said the program “empowers participants to be active, effective leaders with a strong Jewish and Zionist identity. Diller Teen alumni are known for showcasing a commitment to tikkun olam, a sense of belonging and responsibility to their communities, Israel and to the Jewish people.”

She added, “At a time when it is increasingly difficult to engage young adults in Jewish and Israel-related activity, the potential of a program, which provides tools, knowledge and importantly motivation for young leaders to take continuing active roles is priceless.”

For more information on the program, email zfa@zfa.com.au. For more information on the role of program coordinator, email gsearle@zfa.com.au.