What did Israeli teens think of Jewish Montreal?

“This past March, we, the Diller Teen Fellows from Beer Sheva and Bnei Shimon, started an amazing journey. We finally arrived in Montreal!”

This spring, a group of 20 Israeli Diller teens arrived for a two-week visit to Montreal where they met with their Montreal counterparts, toured the city, visited Irwin Cotler, PC, OC, MP on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and were immersed in the culture of Montreal.

40

Each year, the program welcomes 40 teens:
20 from Beer Sheva/Bnei Shimon and 20 from Montreal.

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

Here is a personal account from the perspective of two Israeli Diller Teen Fellows:

By Hili Paryenty and Neta Alima

This past March, we, the Diller Teen Fellows from Beer Sheva and Bnei Shimon, started an amazing journey. We finally arrived in Montreal!

“We earned a Canadian family and strengthened the connection with the Israeli one. We learned about Canada and we showed Israel to Canada.”

The real expedition began when we first met our peer group from Montreal. During the preparations for this significant delegation, we were concerned and worried about a lot of things- will we get along with the Montreal group? How will it be to be a guest in a stranger’s house? How will the Jewish community respond to us as a group from Israel? We were so glad when the worries were proven wrong.  After a few moments of awkwardness, we started to realize that now we had the opportunity to share this great experience with new friends for life.

Right away we drove for an hour and a half to the retreat where we spent three days together. We learned more about each other and how to overcome the differences and find out the similarities. Through activities, we got to know each other, we talked about Jewish peoplehood. The most important part was the experience of Shabbat out of Israel and to be exposed to different ways of expressing Judaism.

After a lot of bonding and making memories, we drove to Montreal and started to experience the Jewish community. In the following seven days, we visited Jewish community centres, we were hosted in the homes of the Montreal group and we volunteered with a lot of different organizations, including Jewish ones, such as the JEM Workshop. We talked to the workers there and did an art project with them. The most important thing we learned was how to communicate and be attentive to other people with differences (and also similarities) from us.

The Jewish community in Montreal received us better than we even thought it is possible – with a lot of curiosity and patience to the language difficulties and cultural gap. Our host was so warm and gave us real feelings of home when we needed it.

And about our Montreal twin group – they turned out to be amazing friends who we love and we are sure that we will keep in touch with even after the year will end.

This journey, which was so important and meaningful for us, left a lot of memories that we will never forget.  We earned a Canadian family and strengthened the connection with the Israeli one. We learned about Canada and we showed Israel to Canada. We really felt a connection to Montreal’s Jewish community and it was very major for us to share our feelings, volunteer and meet you all.

Thank you for this unique and important experience- we hope that we all stay united and strong and keep the connection with each other.


Got what it takes?

Do you have what it takes to be a Diller Teen Fellow? To find out, email Yamit Ochayon, Montreal Diller Teen Fellows Coordinator at yochayon@ymywha.com or call 514.737.6551, ext. 541.

Visit federationcja.org/en/diller for more information.

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.