The visit was part of the extensive, one-year program that brings together 10th and 11th grade Pittsburgh teens with Israeli peers from Pittsburgh’s Partnership 2000 communities of Karmiel and Misgav.
The Israeli teens arrived in Pittsburgh on March 15 and departed on Tuesday, March 23.
Throughout the week, the 37 teens in the two Diller Teen Fellow groups engaged in activities related to building Jewish identity, leadership and community service, and learned about the relationship between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. The Israeli teens were hosted by the Pittsburgh Diller Teen Fellows’ families.
The program’s activities ranged from visits to synagogues and Jewish agencies to group building activities like a High Ropes Course. The teens also participated in topical programs on Israel and on American Judaism, social service in settings like the Kosher Food Pantry and Rainbow Kitchen and an environmental learning program.
The visit concluded with the two groups traveling together to Washington D.C., where they toured as well as participated in more learning programs and community service work.
Founded in 1998, the Diller Teen Fellows Program strives to develop future generations of Jewish leaders committed to the Jewish community, Israel and community service.
Pittsburgh was selected last year to participate in the program. It is managed by the Agency for Jewish Learning, with the participation of the Jewish Community Center and the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh is truly fortunate to be part of the Diller program,” said AJL Director Ed Frim in a prepared statement. “I have been extremely impressed with the caliber of the teens in our local group and their counterparts from Israel.”
The Diller Teens will continue to connect throughout the year to explore relevant issues such as cultural diversity, political attitudes, denominational differences and other topics that allow students to expand their worldview. Each participant is planning a social action project that he or she will implement as part of the program.
The program includes six to eight Sunday workshops, three Shabbaton retreats and a three-week summer seminar in Israel, including the international Diller Jewish Teen Fellows Congress in Jerusalem.