Connecting People-to-People

Diller Teens

The Israeli Diller Teens visited Montreal City Hall, where they met with Michael Applebaum, City Councillor and borough Mayor for Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

By Ellen Yarrow

I was learning about Montreal before coming here, but nothing could have prepared me for how the Jewish community in Montreal takes care of the people who need the help. I did not expect to see that.” - An Israeli teen

The four pillars of the Diller Teens Fellows program focus on Jewish identity, community service, Israel and young leadership. Participants are selected based on their leadership skills and community activism, as well as their ability to represent diverse aspects of their Jewish community, both in Montreal and Beer Sheva/Bnei Shimon.

This spring, a group of 17 Israeli Diller teens arrived for a two-week visit to Montreal where they met with their counterparts, toured our city and were totally immersed in the culture of Montreal. The days were packed full of activities: a walking historical tour of the Old Port, a tour of Montreal City Hall, volunteering at the Old Brewery Mission, Maimonides Geriatric Center and Mada, and a visit to Ottawa.

But that was just the beginning! A special Shabbat was planned by the Montreal and Israeli teens at Camp B’nai Brith’s fabulous retreat centre where they led their own services, had discussions on Jewish peoplehood and took part in team-building initiatives.

Creating connections through history and art was a special time to explore the links that bind all Jews together: shared history. After visiting the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and hearing testimony from a Montreal survivor, the teens made quilts to bring back to Israel.

And through all the visits, touring and lessons learned, the highlight was having the Israelis leave their hotel rooms to join the friends they had communicated with over the months through e-mail, Skype and video-conference for home hospitality.

I’m an only child and now I feel that I was given a brother I never had.” - A Montreal teen.

These people-to people connections will be reinforced as our Montreal teens prepare to travel to Israel for a reverse mifgash and a continuation of the sense of belonging that is created through partnership and interaction between diverse Jewish individuals and communities.

We welcome your feedback and invite your comments.

Leave a comment

Reader comments are the opinion of the comment writer, not Federation CJA

Comments that make false or unsubstantiated allegations will not be published, nor will comments that contain defamatory, inaccurate, rude, distasteful, disrespectful, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented or threatening language.

Comments that use hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge also may not be permitted.

Federation CJA reserves the right to withhold from publication comments that are deemed to be spam or unrelated to the article at which they are posted. Comments that include personal attacks on other people taking part in this website and/or are invasive of another's privacy may also be withheld from publication.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes will not be corrected.