It was June, 2011 and I was a high school freshman interviewing for a place in the 2011-2012 Boston JCC Diller Teen Fellowship cohort. I was in a familiar setting: the Leventhal-Sidman JCC, where I had grown up starting with preschool. I knew that many other Jewish teens around the world had also been racking their brains: some were thinking in English, others in Hebrew, Amharic, and even Spanish, but we were all thinking along the same lines…What can I say to stand out?
We were all determined to reserve a spot for ourselves in next year’s Diller Teen Fellowship. From 16 cities: eight North American, eight Israeli; twenty young teens would be selected to engage in a pluralistic, national, youth leadership fellowship. They would be selected based on leadership aptitude, commitment to Jewish learning, interest in exploring their connection to Israel, and passion for serving their community. As I looked around the room I found solace:. just like riding an old bike, sitting down in the JCC to talk about my Judaism was something that I could never forget how to do, the seat just felt larger. The Jewish community would always be behind me and as I grew older I would adopt new perspectives of it.
I ended up becoming an official “Diller”, the best decision I ever made. Diller has taught me to listen in on everything that I possibly can, to filter all of that information into something useful and to lead peers using my developed skills.
– Julia Ellis, Age 15, Westwood MA
JCC Boston Diller Teen Fellow 2011-2012