The Helen Diller Family Foundation and the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco announced today that the 2011 International Diller Teen Fellows North American Seminar is now underway in eight cities across the U.S. and Canada. The seminar brings together some of the best and brightest Jewish teens from around the world to collaborate in an unparalleled community service and leadership development initiative.

The Seminar, part of a year-long cultural exchange program for Jewish teens in the United States, Canada and Israel, aims to inspire and empower Jewish teens to be active, effective leaders with a strong Jewish identity, a sense of belonging and service to their community, and a responsibility to make the world a better place. Twenty exceptional 10th and 11th graders from each partner community are selected annually for the program from different Jewish denominations and traditions, representing a variety of cultural, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.

In addition to the 10-day peer-to-peer exchange – where Israeli teens are hosted by North American families in a “sister” community or cohort – highlights of the Fellows program include community service projects, weekend workshops, retreats and a three-week seminar in Israel that features an international teen leadership Congress.

The program was originated by San Francisco Bay Area philanthropist Mrs. Helen Diller in 1997, and since its inception has grown to include the following partner communities in North America, each of which is paired with an Israeli sister community:

  • San Francisco/Upper Galilee
  • Baltimore/Ashkelon
  • Boston/Haifa
  • Cleveland/Beit Shean
  • Los Angeles/Tel Aviv
  • MetroWest New Jersey/Rishon LeZion
  • Montreal/ Beer Sheva-Bnei Shimon
  • Pittsburgh/ Karmiel-Misgav
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