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It’s all Fun and Learning at the Diller Teen Fellows’ annual Jewish Community Mifgash!

Posted by Rebecca Kahn, Director of Teen Leadership on March 28, 2023

Our Israeli Diller cohort of 20 teens from Pittsburgh’s Partnership2Gether community of Karmiel and Misgav landed in Pittsburgh Friday for the  Diller Teen Fellows’ annual Jewish Community Mifgash (JCM). This is the first time JCM has happened in three years and we’re thrilled to host the Israeli Teen Fellows here in Pittsburgh for a 10-day, co-learning, partnership experience with 19 Pittsburgh Diller Fellows. A whirlwind of fun and learning is planned for this week – follow their adventures in this blog!

March 28, 2023

Wow! What an incredible four days of JCM we’ve had so far!

Our Shabbaton was full of budding new friendships, conversations about how we all “do Jewish” differently and many more fun activities to ease into our week together.

Yesterday, we jumped into getting to know the city with the Israeli Fellows. The Israelis spent their morning on the North Side learning about Andy Warhol and Pittsburgh’s steel city history at the Andy Warhol Museum. We then walked through the historic Mexican War Streets Neighborhood to Randyland where we took lots of photos and even got to meet Randy! The Israelis then stopped for lunch in the Strip District, where they did some shopping to prepare for the Penguins game later this week and represent an iconic pieces of city history (I’m sure many of you saw the Heinz T-shirts and sweatshirts Fellows were sporting when they went home last night).

Both groups of Fellows joined together in the afternoon for a raucous Amazing Race of Squirrel Hill. Fellows had a fantastic time running around the Squirrel Hill neighborhood and learning a bit about its fixtures and history. They were all quite tuckered out by the end of their race around Forbes and Murray. We ended our nights separately by checking in in our native languages about how everyone is doing and how we can continue to support the Fellows for the rest of this crazy, fun week.

One participant had this to say about yesterday’s activities: “I had a blast today! We really bonded as a group. It was super fun to compete against each other. I feel like it brought us together.”

There’s so much more to come this week as we begin digging into Jewish Pittsburgh! Thank you for your continued support in this amazing week together!

March 30, 2023

We’re past the halfway point of JCM! The last few days of JCM have been incredible. The Fellows are forming incredible bonds with each other and engaging with difficult and poignant conversations about Judaism in Pittsburgh.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Fellows began their morning with a riveting Rabbi’s panel that discussed the importance of Jewish engagement in Israel and America, and how diaspora Judaism differs from Israel. After debriefing the Rabbi’s panel, we headed to Federation to learn about how Federation supports the Jewish community here in Pittsburgh. They learned about the different organizations Federation monetarily supports and participated in a mock allocations competition to learn about Federation’s philanthropic support of the community. We ended the day with visits to Rodef Shalom and Shaare Torah where we learned about the history of both buildings and their congregations and got a full picture of the differences between all the different streams and denominations of Judaism in America.

Wednesday, the Israeli Fellows spent our morning at CDS. They had a true American Day School experience, following the bell schedule and eating a school lunch. They met and played games with the 8th graders headed to Israel this summer, took tours of the CDS building with student ambassadors, and saw what our Shinshinim do for work while they’re here for the year. From CDS, we took the public bus to Hillel JUC in Oakland which was a very quintessential Pittsburgh experience for them. We then stopped for a snack and Starbucks break at Hillel JUC before heading with Hillel staff on a tour of their building and Carnegie Mellon University. Your Fellows joined us at CMU where we took a lovely walk back to Hillel JUC along Flagstaff Hill and past the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History. Upon returning to Hillel, the Fellows all participated in series of roundtable discussions with some of Hillel’s student leaders from Pitt and CMU about being Jewish in college, choosing your major, Israel programs in college, and much more. We ended the day together by debriefing the experience and eating a delicious dinner together.

A Karmiel Misgav Fellow had this to say about JCM: “The last two days were very meaningful and I’ve got a really good connection with all the American Fellows.” And a Pittsburgh Fellow had this to say about JCM thus far: “I’m extremely exhausted but it’s been incredibly amazing. I love experiencing all the new cultural differences.”

Interested in being a Diller Teen Fellow? Diller Teen Fellows is an international program that inspires and empowers Jewish teens to be active, effective leaders. Applications for the 2023-24 Cohort are open for any Jewish teens currently in 9th or 10th grade. Apply Today: Click HERE
Learn more:
For more information about Diller Teen Fellows click HERE
Contact Rebecca Kahn at [email protected] or 503-501-6060.
The application period closes Monday, May 22.


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