Diller Teens Finally Meet In-Person and Outside!

Posted on 01/29/2021 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: Teen Education & Engagement, Diller Teen Fellows

Miami’s Diller Teen Fellows Cohort 8 had a breakthrough moment this past Shabbat. Although they have been participating in the Diller program since September, this past Shabbat was the first time the group was able to gather in person, rather than on Zoom. Teens went through screening protocols, were physically distanced, masked, and outside to create a safe environment for all.

Led by Lindsay Spiegelman, our fantastic Diller Coordinator these past three years, Fellows (all in 10th or 11th grade) met on Friday afternoon before Shabbat to explore their Jewish identities and consider ways they can bring in Shabbat with their families. After individually creating a visual representation of their Jewish identities, together they discussed their relationship to Judaism and community.
While this cohort is comprised of a very diverse group who identify with the breadth of Jewish expression-- Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Just Jewish-- they focused on what they all share in common and respectfully exchanged their opinions, thoughts and ideas about who they are as Jews.
The Shabbat experience continued at home where Diller Fellows and their families received a Shabbat dinner and resources to encourage experiencing Shabbat practices such as: Mindful Meditation, trying out a “Tech Shabbat,” unplugging, and having meaningful conversations with those around them. Each family also was given handouts with Shabbat blessings, Torah commentary and questions to discuss related to the weekly portion.

After Shabbat was over, the group gathered for Havdallah at the Miami Beach JCC, where Fellows wished each other a very spirited “Shavua Tov” or “have good week” Diller-style. That same energy continued into the night as they participated in a life-sized monopoly game about the Global Diller community, which is found on six of the seven continents.
And while the teens were excited to spend time with each other IRL, their parents were thrilled to be given an entire Shabbat dinner (no cooking!) and the opportunity to dialogue with their child over Jewish texts. Many parents even called and wrote us Thank You notes!
Recently, the CAJE Board, in consultation with Dr. Kenneth Ratzan of Mt. Sinai Hospital, voted to allow CAJE programs to take place in person, under very stringent conditions and based on the best scientific knowledge of the moment. CAJE is thrilled to be able to devise ways for the Diller Fellows to be able to bond further and continue to build relationships in a safe environment.
If you know an entering 10th or 11th grader who wants to learn about Global Jewish Peoplehood, connect with peers in Israel, and learn leadership skills that they can immediately practice, click here to get more information about the Diller Teen Fellows Program.