Tuesday, March 3, 2015

North American Coordinator and Junior Counselor Shabbaton in the 305! (Miami)

Wow. What an experience! This Shabbaton was probably the best three days of my life. It was a reprieve from the biting cold and boring class work. It was amazing to talk to the other international staff. Every staff member saw their role differently and brought a different strategy towards how to improve our fellows’ Diller experience. Although each one of us is very different, something that is very consistent is our passion and enthusiasm for the Diller program. It was very refreshing to be with people who shared many of my values and interests (aside from my fellow Metrowest staff :) ).
Another amazing part of the weekend was the programming. As a JC, I have become somewhat of a programming nerd and creating and leading better programming is almost always on my mind. It was such a pleasure to be a pupil of such pros i.e. Lily, Andrew, Nitay, Liat, Alon, and my fellow JCs and coordinators. I learned a great amount about the content development method, how to use feedback as a tool, how to perfect ODT-style activities, how to use text study in a fun way that everyone will enjoy and find meaning in, how to lead fun and meaningful ma’agal lylas, how to better collaborate with my fellow North American staff, and so much more. A huge goal of mine is to implement as many of these lessons as possible into my daily and Diller lives!
To conclude, I cannot be more thankful to be part of Diller’s international staff and for being part of this Shabbaton. It was truly a life-changing experience. Even the food was excellent! I’m certain the bonds that I made with the other JCs will last beyond our final days in the program and I hope to pass the lessons I’ve learned to as many people as possible. This experience has inspired me to not only be a better JC for my fellows but a better, more enthusiastic member of the Jewish people and the world in general.
-Sam Grossman, GMW Diller 8 Junior Counselor, Cohort 6 Alumni

If I could describe the JC Shabbaton in two words, it would be desperately-needed. Both Sam and I have been caught in a whirlwind for the past few months and have little time to breathe. It’s very easy to lose yourself in the ongoing stresses of high school, college admissions, and simply remembering to put on socks in the morning. The Shabbaton served as the perfect way to recharge mentally and spiritually, all while learning more about Diller and what it means to be a Junior Counselor.
In addition to being #blessed with warm weather, Sam, Amanda, and myself were also able to connect with an incredible group of people; the North American Staff. Very few people are put in our position and understand what it’s like to be a Junior Counselor or Coordinator. Our roles are incredibly rewarding and inspiring, but up until the shabbaton we had not been able to interact with people who understood exactly what we were feeling as a staff. Having every single member of the North American Staff at the shabbaton was personally my favorite part of the entire experience. There was a sense of respect and understanding that flowed between everyone at the shabbaton, even before we had all been properly introduced. Between swapping ideas for programs and ways to stay awake through an entire shabbaton, I felt like I had known the staff for years. Not only did I create strong bonds with JCs and Coordinators, I also grew immensely as a Junior Counselor and as an individual. The North American Staff proved to be an incredible resource for me; I have never felt more challenged and inspired from one weekend with a group of people since I was a fellow.
The programming throughout the weekend was incredible and gave me a lot of fresh ideas that I can’t wait to present to my fellows. I was especially impressed by the programs given to the staff by the Junior Counselors themselves. It was amazing to be surrounded by such creativity and passion for programming. I’m always trying to give them captivating activities to enhance their Diller experience and I’ve already put some things I learned whilst on the shabbaton to use.
The weekend served as the perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with myself and my role as a Junior Counselor. Life can get very stressful very quickly and it’s often hard to push the constant responsibilities of being a high school senior away. Being surrounded by a group of people that shared the same goals and experiences seemed to help me slow down for a few days and truly made me remember why I wanted to apply to be a JC all those months ago. After this weekend, I am inspired to be the best possible role model for my Dillers and continue to develop as a person. Looking forward, I am ecstatic to welcome the Israelis from Rishon Le’Zion to New Jersey and eventually travel to Israel for the International Summer Seminar.

-Annabelle Hanflig, GMW Diller 8 Junior Counselor, Cohort 6 Alumni

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Diller 8 Self-Management Shabbaton

After weeks or hard work and planning, Diller 8 embarked on our first self-management experience. The weekend began with the content committee leading us in an activity coloring puzzle pieces and writing about ourselves on flowers before Shabbat began. Then, the Shabbat spirit committee took over and led a wonderful service before leading us in some fun Shabbat games. Later that night, we had a discussion about leadership and it was really interesting to see how each of my fellow Dillers saw the same leader. The next day was filled with meaningful activities about community, which was the narrative for the weekend. In the afternoon, we had a self-defense class led by Ben! After Ma'agal, we had a neon party in the conference room-fog machines were involved.
We were all completely exhausted by the end of the night, but our final day had more in store. The next morning, we added more to our puzzle pieces as a way to reflect on our weekend. Then, we had to put them together to reveal the hidden image:

We then had a yoga class where we made Hebrew letters using our bodies before giving feedback about the weekend. Then came NAS planning! We got into our new committees and got even more excited for the Israelis to come. Overall, it was a great weekend and it made me so much more excited to move along in our journey.
-Rachel Malaga

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Celebrating Tu B'shevat and Dropping some beats!

            The latest Diller 8 workshop can best be summarized by one word: Swag. The morning started out with an intimate Tu B’Shevat Seder. The Dillers feasted on an array of different foods from a tree, ranging from pineapples to chocolate covered pomegranate. Amanda recommended trying dried dates to the courageous Dillers, and those who tried it were rewarded with a delicious taste. As the Seder progressed, each Diller shared new ideas as to how to protect the environment. The theme of preserving the environment is very important to Diller 8, dating back to Tikun Olam committee’s first water bottle challenge. As the Seder drew to a close, the birthday committee began preparing their activity. The committee brought out a piñata with the intention of picking candy up off the ground just as one should pick trash up off the ground.

            Lunch followed soon after. During lunch a few of the Dillers may have noticed two men unknown to them before today poke their head through the door. Unknown at the time, but these two men were Matt and Emmanuel from “Bible Raps” here to inspire the Dillers to write their very own rap song. Sitting in a circle, the Dillers were skeptical at first that they would actually be able to create their own rap. All doubt went away when Matt showed off his demo, ushering in the new phrase, “I’m not white I’m Jewish!” Inspired by this line of poetic masterpiece, the Dillers broke off in different groups to begin writing the rap. Emmanuel took a group of five to create the beat while the rest broke into teams of four to brainstorm lyrics. All of the groups started off slow at first but once the first line was written, there was no stopping. It felt like it had just started when Matt called everyone saying it was time to record the rap. Gathered back together as one, Emmanuel began to lay down the beat as all stars Lilly, Lex, and company began spitting out their lyrics. With Ethan filming for the music video, the remaining Dillers formed a mob around the rappers bobbing their heads, pumping their fists, and occasionally breaking out into a little YMCA action. After the rappers finished spitting their fire, it was time for the entire group to record the chorus. Everyone sang out a repetition of “Diller Teens… Diller Teens,” with the occasional out bust of federation and pluralism. With all parts of the rap finished, the day finally began to wind down. Noticing the clock for the first time all day, the Dillers realized that their time together was just about over. They said their goodbyes and left with a feeling of excitement to hear the final product of the rap, which can be heard in the link below.


-Adam Lorimer

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Prep Stages for the Self-Management Shabbaton

       Our most recent workshop kept everyone in the cohort busy and engaged, it was never dull for a moment.  We began with an activity focused on communication and the importance of understanding why it’s important to keep good communication with everyone in the cohort, especially leading up to our self-management shabbaton.  Before arriving, we were told to bring a blindfold, if we still had the one from our first shabbaton, for one activity in particular (throwback to the trust walk!).  We quickly found out why.  We split into pairs and awaited instruction.  Next, peanut butter and jelly made an appearance, featuring gluten-free bread.  At this point, we were told to blindfold one person who would be making the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, while the other person acted as eyes, facilitating the sandwich making.  During this activity, we saw some groups communicated well and were successful, while others had a more difficult time.  When everyone had finished, we quickly went around the circle discussing the problems we faced and how we reached our end product.  We saw that although there might be a traditional way of going about things, there is not only one way to accomplish the same goal. 
After that, we did activities led by our very own JCs!  Sam’s activity was focused on looking in at ourselves in order to see what motivated us, specifically regarding Diller.  It consisted of an interesting lesson on things like motivation, mission, and vision.  Then, again we got paired up and were given a guiding question.  After giving a response, our partner listened thoughtfully and came up with a further “why” question.  This was a way of probing ourselves to see where our motivation truly lay, beyond the surface.  It was interesting to see how each answer took shape, becoming more concrete and true of ourselves as we kept going.  We ended the activity by recording our answers on a tree, with the superficial answers in the branches, and each deeper response first on the branches, then the trunk, and then the roots. 
Annabelle’s activity, like Sam’s, was something eye-opening.  In pairs, once more, we began the next activity.  The goal was to practice active listening and see how it differs from how we normally listen.  On four note cards, words like college and Israel and parents were written, all flipped over.  One at a time, someone would pick a card and be given three minutes to say whatever came to mind.  The catch was that for the entire three minutes, the other person could not respond or chime in.  After each sort of round, people were called on to give quick summaries of what their partner discussed to show that they listened to and absorbed what their partner was saying because all they had to do was listen, not think of how to respond or move conversation forward.  During the final discussion post-listening, we brought up how although everyone was given the same four words, our conversations were nothing alike, because we as people have different views and different experiences.  We also touched on how difficult it could be to listen thoroughly to what someone is saying and hold back from responding even when there is something you’ve been waiting to say. 
After all of the wonderfully planned activities, courtesy of Amanda and co., everyone was given time to get into their committees for the self-management shabbaton to solidify ideas and start finalizing plans.  All in all, everyone is getting excited and can’t wait to see how things will fall into place.  One more workshop and then we’ve made it!  Wish us luck!

Sophie Caplan

Monday, January 5, 2015

Diller 8 Super Stars at GMW Super Sunday


The Super Sunday workshop was our first meeting after the Shabbaton. Essentially, it was our first meeting as a truly solidified cohort. However, while we waited for the workshop to begin, a slightly uncomfortable silence hung in the air. The connections we made during the Shabbaton were certainly not lost, as we had all been engaging in consistent contact via social media, however the rapid escalation of our relationships in such a short time followed by a drought of human interaction with one another perhaps caused an awkwardness when we reconnected in person. After beginning the workshop, though, we were given an opportunity to rekindle the connections we made over the Shabbaton through guided interaction.
During the workshop, we began the initial planning of our Self-Management Shabbaton. After being assigned to our committees (content, food, morale, logistics and Shabbat spirit), we composed a mission statement, a vision, and a set of goals. This process was challenging as most of us were eager to contribute our ideas and, as a result, there were lots of side conversations and many layers of voices, all trying to be heard. Having twenty strong leaders work together is not always easy. We managed to overcome this, however, and the final product was one that seamlessly combined each of our own hopes for the Shabbaton along with the Diller pillars and values. This strong starting point has personally made me very enthusiastic about the prospect of planning our own Shabbaton, tailored to what our cohort most wants to achieve. I feel that this Shabbaton will be the most rewarding as, if it is successful, we will have provided ourselves with a memorable experience that will benefit each individual as well as the entire group.
After our mini workshop, we began Super Sunday. For those that do not know, Super Sunday is an entire day devoted to raising funds for the Federation. This day is essential to the continuation of all of the amazing programs that the Federation supports, one of which is Diller. For those that do know what Super Sunday is, you have most likely received a phone call requesting a donation for the Federation. However, what goes on behind the scenes of these phone calls is incredible; hundreds of local Jews gathering to make phone calls to urge donations. Intimidating, defeating, frustrating and rewarding are all words that one may use to describe the phone-calling process. Most people do not answer the phone calls, this is the frustrating part. When people do answer the phone, many can be rude or terse, this is the intimidating part. Often times, people decline the request of a donation, or, better yet, hang up the phone mid-sentence, this part is defeating. However, many people are very generous and appreciative of the work being done for the Federation, and this is where the rewarding part comes into play. Knowing that we are giving back to the community that is providing us with so much is an amazing feeling, and it was overall a very rewarding experience.

Alexandra Constantinides

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Yad Vashem and Mega Evening

Today the Dillers visited Yad VaShem, the Holocaust museum in Israel. We had a very meaningful experience learning about the history. It was also really amazing to  hear about individual stories. We reflected on the importance of passing on our knowledge to our children so that another Holocaust doesn't happen. Then after our bagels, we headed to the mega event! It was amazing to meet all the North American and Israeli Dillers. It was awesome to have workshops with friends from all over the world. The best part is we all have one big thing in common, our love for Diller Teen Fellows. We discussed the importance of family (blood related or otherwise), and where our roots stem from. The night ended with a fun concert where many Dillers got up and danced on stage. It was a memory that we will never forget.
p.s. HAPPY 18th birthday Seth!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Desert Day

Hey everyone! Sorry we've been spotty with updates-wifi is a commodity and we haven't had access to computers while we're traveling. We will post about last shabbat soon, but here's a post about the day after, this past Sunday. More to come soon!!!

After being woken up at 4 am, we all struggled to get dressed and prepare for a long day ahead of us. We took a bus to Masada and hiked up a steep path, able to make it to the top just in time to watch the sun rise. It was moving and after taking plenty of pictures, we all watched in awe. The group learned about the history of Masada and then toured An Gedi later in the day. We were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and swim in a small waterfall. Next stop- Dead Sea. Many complaints were made about the "burning sensation" that the water caused. But after much discussion, we came to a conclusion that it was a "good burn". A two hour bus ride later, we arrived in Jerusalem. Excitement is in store for what this magical city will bring for us. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Finally Here

After months of anticipation and planning, Diller 7 finally boarded the bus to JFK full of excitement after we said goodbye to our parents. Once we arrived at the airport, the 18 of us went through the check in process, went through security and found the gate- with an hour and a half to spare! We split up to buy food for the flight- many of us decided to visit the friendly terminal Shake Shack for one last burger, others visited Hudson News for magazines or gum. The excitement was high as we boarded our El Al flight (and saw a menorah wishing us a Happy Hanukkah!) and got settled. Our flight didn't take off for a little while, which gave us the perfect opportunity to take lots of pictures. The flight was fairly uneventful- lots of movie watching,  eating, and  only some sleeping. As we began our decent into Israel, it finally dawned on us that we were about to embark on a journey we had waited so long to have- and the trip has yet to disappoint. At the airport we saw Shiri and Leah, and as we arrived at the Agaf (their federation) we were surprised to see Anais there waiting for us. And then, as we walked upstairs, we all started looking for closets. Now you may be wondering- why on earth would a bunch of jet lagged teens be looking for closets? It's because in April, when the Israelis came to the US, we surprised them by jumping out of closets. Well, we found one. And yes, our Israelis were inside. It was so nice to see them all again- and as soon as we reunited, it was time to go home with our host families for our first Shabbat in Israel. I'm writing this after being with my hosts for a few hours- if my whole trip is going to be this great, then I can't wait!

Shabbat shalom and we miss you all!
Micaela Kaplan/ DJ Kaplan Crunch

See the vlog from our first day here: 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The First Shabbaton: Through New Eyes

It was Friday at 2:16 when I was waiting patiently for my school’s dismissal bell to ring. I was so excited yet very unsure of what the upcoming weekend had in store for me. My father picked me up and we began our drive to the Federation building. My stomach was filled with butterflies. As many of you may know, I was just joining Diller so this was going to be the first time meeting everyone! Many thoughts were running through my mind at the time. Were they going to like me? Was I going to fit in? As I entered the federation building, I was greeted by so many friendly faces eager to meet me and my worries disappeared. I was now ready to begin my amazing weekend.


Everyone quickly piled onto the bus and began filling the bus with talk and laughter. It became instantly apparent to me that this was one amazing group of people. When we arrived we had to quickly change for Shabbat, which I can say was a pretty hard task for the girls! Although cold outside, together we made the weather and atmosphere warm.


I am not very religious so I was very curious of what the Shabbat service was going to be like. Surprisingly, that service was honestly one of the best I have ever experienced. Combined with everyone’s favorite poems, songs and prayers, all the Dillers sang and listened together. Our night wrapped up with a delicious Friday night dinner and then our first Maagal! Maagal means circle in Hebrew and before we would be able to get into the circle, all the Dillers had to take an extra-unique step. Blind-folded, we all walked out of the cabin holding on to the person in front of us. Through communication and trust we successfully completed that difficult task and were finally into our first Maagal.


We started the next morning with a beautiful morning prayer called Modeh Ani that focuses on being thankful for the day we have been given. We then spent our day discussing the situations other Jewish people face in different countries. We realized how grateful we are to have been raised here, where we haven’t faced such extreme forms of violence like others have to endure. As young Jewish leaders, we must represent the Jewish people and to encourage understanding and coexistence.


We then moved our way to a low-ropes course which focused on using team-work to accomplish different tasks. I learned that without an open-mind, these tasks would be impossible to accomplish. Our day concluded with our second maagal that really touched my heart. We all first shared an item that we each brought representing what we are most grateful for. From their objects I learned a lot about my fellow Dillers. We then opened the maagal where anyone could share whatever they wanted. This forum of trust and openness brought us closer as a group.


Sunday, we learned about our  self-management shabbaton which got many of us very excited. Most of the boys were already thinking about what food they wanted to bring and how many bags of twix they would need. When we got back to the Federation building, we were met by Dillers from cohort 7 who helped us record a video to introduce us to our Israeli counterpart. We sang and danced to a “Dillerized” version of Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off. We ended the weekend by having an open discussion with Diller 7.  We talked about their experience with the North American seminar and how they succeeded in their self-management shabbaton. Their experiences were really good to hear considering we will be embarking on the same journeys. I ended my first shabbaton being happier then ever. I couldn’t stop telling my parents my wonderful stories and the truly amazing friends I had made. I can’t wait for the rest of the year and to see the growth of the group and of every individual teen. Lillie wasn’t lying, Diller 8 is GREAT!

-Arielle Rosenberg

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Diller 8 Shabbaton 1: The Best is Yet to Come

To be honest, I was a little weary in the days leading up to the shabbaton. Will we get along? Will the other teens like me? Will I have time to do homework? Basically, the average questions that constantly run through a high-schooler’s mind. Although we had orientation and two workshops, we didn’t really have an opportunity to really get to know one another on a deeper level, aside from the typical ice-breakers that I never seem to have anything interesting to say about myself. Everything changed the minute I arrived. We all welcomed each other with an enthusiastic hello, and introduced ourselves to the new fellow Arielle. That hello quickly transformed into a tight hug by the end of the first night. Once we got to the camp, we set up in our incredibly warm rooms and gathered in the common room which I LOVED. We welcomed Shabbat with a re-invented service that really blended all of our beliefs together . For me, I really learned to trust my fellow Dillers in our blind-folded trust walk (nerve-wracking, I know). It showed us that not only do we have to trust the person in front of us (or our leader) but we also have to lead the people behind us and be trustworthy and responsible. I really felt that we were “all in this together” (*insert High school musical dance here*). We closed the night sitting in the living room playing cards like a true family. The next day we started with saying a prayer thanking God for allowing us to wake up and for being alive, a concept that many of us didn’t really think about when we wake up for school . On a side note, I actually really enjoyed the weather because I think that it brought us closer together, literally and figuratively. The theme of being grateful, with Thanksgiving this week, really resonated throughout the weekend, and after learning about the anti-Semitism around the world, I became appreciative of our group and the Jewish community as well as being safe in New Jersey. We spent the days become more trusting, grateful, and more and more like a family.  Saturday night ended after really opening up to each other, with a dance party, while Amanda and the JCs hid in the other room. Although I started weary, I can now say that I know that I have made many new best friends and we have created a family. Isn’t amazing how Jews can do that so quickly?! Sunday we met with Diller 7 and recorded a video to send to Rishon LeZion. AND LET ME TELL YOU, I am BEYOND excited to meet them. I can easily say that since the minute I got home on Sunday we have already gotten in touch with the Israelis and we have not stopped talking to them on Whatsapp and Instagram. Instagram can really be a great thing. I am truly grateful for my fellow Dillers (aka my brothers and sisters) and those in Rishon. Not to mention Amanda, Sam, Annabelle, and Izhak!  I am so excited that we started off this year so awesome and there is so much more to come! Diller 8 is great!
-Lillie Heyman

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Journey to Diller 8

The Journey to Diller 8
My Diller experience so far - which I feel speaks for all of Cohort 8 - has been one of excitement and anticipation.

Having only two workshops and one social event, I can tell that with each group gathering our Cohort is becoming closer together and more tightly knit.  Our event at the bowling alley, organized by the social committee, solely proved that we are willing to come together and act as one mishpacha to become leaders for social change in our communities.  The Diller workshops have allowed us to further progress in the right direction by helping us build trust between each other, establish friendships, and to learn about necessary leadership qualities.

But while this is very exciting, I have yet to see the true potential of Diller.  Although I have learned a handful in our three group gatherings, there have still been only three gatherings!  Thus, our Cohort is still breaking out of its cocoon, its full force and beauty waiting to be recognized and admired.  I am sure that with time, our true potential will shine.  But until then, I have to sit here in my big brown chair, writing blog post number two, patiently anticipating the Shabbaton.

-Ethan Ramer

Monday, October 20, 2014

Becoming Diller 8

Our first Diller meeting was not an awkward gathering of newly formed acquaintances, but rather a reconvening of long lost friends.  Shared values and goals, and identities rooted in Judaism seemed to be a fertile common ground in which the seeds of a fantastic future were sown.  The meeting started off with a discussion of the Diller pillars and values, and continued with an exploration of our own views on the necessary positive and destructive negative components of our group's success. 
I found fascinating the varied Jewish backgrounds each of my fellow Dillers come from; a myriad of affiliations were discussed, one of which, Humanism, I'd never even heard of before.  I'm so excited to learn more about my religion from new and unique perspectives.
The shofar blast, an intermission of sorts, was, quite literally, a blast.  Jews of all ages, genders, sizes, races, and affiliations gathered to blow the traditional rhythms of the shofar calls.  We could barely make out each tkiah, we were so far from the stage; I haven't laughed so hard in months.
After a delicious lunch, made all the more entertaining by the seemingly endless dietary restrictions of my fellow Dillers (gluten-free anyone?), came the making of our Diller flag.  Each of us chose a saying, value, or pillar that leapt out to us as particularly meaningful, and illustrated it onto a patch.  I chose a verse from Pirkei Avot, P'kuach Nefesh: save a life, save a world.  I love the message that the actions of any one person can have such a ripple effect.
I left the first true Diller meeting invigorated by the reaffirmation of my kavanah with the Jewish people, and with the Diller group, and already looking forward to a next time.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Suspended State

Yesterday, all of us were in the Federation for the Solidarity Rally. Congressmen and civilians alike applauded us as it was announced that we would be leaving for Israel in 48 hours. News stations interviewed us. Amanda could barely keep us contained because of our excitement. 24 hours later, everything has come crashing down around us.
Last night, news began to trickle in. Baltimore, Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, LA- all cancelled. In our group chat, we started worrying. We went to sleep knowing that our day would be full of packing. By the morning, eight of the ten cohorts had cancelled. We feared the worst. I sent a Facebook message to Amanda.

Arielle: Amanda, are we still going?
Amanda: An email will be coming soon.

And then we all went into panic mode. An hour later, our worst fears came true. In 24 hours, we will not be on a plane to Israel. We will not be 30,000 feet in the air, trying to sleep in order to combat the fatigue that will come with the first day at the Dead Sea. Our feet will be firmly planted on New Jersey soil. Without our Israeli brothers and sisters.

Everyone’s reaction was basically the same: anger. We wanted to scream, punch walls, curl up into balls and cry ourselves to sleep. For the past six years, our Diller cohorts have never had this issue. But Diller 7 is unique. And we’re going to deal with it.

There is a silver lining, though. We’re receiving the ultimate Hanukkah gift: we’re spending part of the holiday in the Holy Land. Tentatively, we will now go to Israel from December 20-January 2.

Right now, we’re trying to find new plans. Will a smaller group go to Israel tomorrow anyway? Will we meet some other North American cohorts instead? Will we all go on a cruise together? Will we go to another country together? These are just some of the ideas that have been tossed around in our private Facebook chat. But for now, we’re awaiting another update from Federation.

How do I feel personally? I’m really, really angry. I want to cry. I want to lock myself in my room and not leave until school starts. But that’s just not logical. Instead, I’m trying to keep positive. In an attempt to cope, I’ve made a list of seven positives (because we’re Diller 7, get it??) regarding our trip:
1.       When we go in December, our trip is going to be so much more powerful because we’ve waited so long.
2.       It will not be unbearably hot in December.
3.       It’s going to be a great reprieve from the freezing New Jersey winter.
4.       Israel on Hanukah!
5.       We’ll be in Israel when Seth and Micaela turn 18…one day apart from each other!
6.        The current situation will be resolved, and we’ll be able to see much more of the country.
7.       At least we still get to go.
The next few hours, days, and weeks are going to be stressful, crazy, and hectic, but I know that we will get through it. We are Diller 7, and after this news, we can get through anything.

-Arielle Dror/DJ Drora the Explora

One Day More!

Today our cohort was not in Israel physically but in spirit we all were.  We went to the Solidarity Rally for Israel at the federation in Whippany.  The overwhelming love for Israel and thirst for peace that the hundreds of people around me made me feel like I was standing in the Holy Land.  Senators, rabbis, reverends, and more all stood up and spoke beautifully about peace, showing that Israel is not alone.  I was very moved by all of these speeches; Israel has become a big part of my life now and hearing people who share my love for it, and all the things they've done to help it, warmed my heart.  We sang the national anthem at the front of the room to start off the rally, I felt like a celebrity singing before a football game.  The rally was very inspirational to me and I loved watching it, even if I did have to sit on the floor and could only see the back of the seat in front of me.
After the rally we all had lunch together.  By this time in Diller our lunches are less about eating and more about hysterically laughing.  After our lunch we worked on making a video for social media to show the greatest things about Israel.  The great and beautiful Annabelle Hanflig of Diller 6 helped us out with our videos.  My groups video focused on Israeli food and was a masterpiece- I was being called a young Steven Spielberg.
After our video was finished Annabelle answered any last minute questions we had about Israel, and it was time to go.  The morning was very meaningful and being able to spend the afternoon with my Dillers was not too bad.
-JoeyHart/DJ “Hart” Attack

No vlog today...it was a difficult day to vlog because of many logistical conflicts.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

(No) Sleep, Sun, and Fun!

Footsteps on the carpet. Jubilant laughter fills the room. Friends who have now become second family surround me. We are sitting in the JCC, playing Cards Against Humanity. I know that no matter what we do, we end up crying from cracking up.

After eight rounds of Cards Against Humanity, we are too riled up to continue. We take a half hour break to calm down and settle in to our home for overnights. After brushing our teeth and washing our faces, we are ready. It is time for the Maagal.

This was Amanda's first Maagal. We hadn't had one in a while, and we were anxious to get started. This night circle was made by our peers, Claire, Micaela, Meredith and Arielle in order to introduce Amanda to the idea and talk about group dynamic. Their goal was to make us feel united as a group heading into Israel, and it worked. We switched into serious mode, and voiced our concerns on things that we normally wouldn't say without the safe and open environment Maagal provides.

After Maagal, many people stayed up late, much to the dismay of others. While some climbed into their makeshift beds for the night, others were out dancing in the hall and just having an overall good time. At about 3 AM, the last of the group called it quits. It was a great start to our weekend!
-Sarah Rogers/DJ Roger that

Sunday started with a lovely wake up call from our awesome new coordinator, Amanda. After making lunches of bagels and cookies, cooking waffles for breakfast and downing some coffee to rejuvenate our sleep deprived bodies, the Dillers hit the road for some community service. We went to a lot in Union Beach that was full of debris from Hurricane Sandy and sorted trash and organic materials to be taken away. It was all hands on deck! Even the Diller Dads pitched in to help! It was very meaningful to be able to help out in a community that was affected during Hurricane Sandy. As the music blasted from the car radio, everyone had a great time! After finishing, we headed to the beach in Deal. The Dillers had a great time in the ocean and playing games in the sand. At first, we were hesitant to dip our toes into the waves because the water was super cold. Eventually, everyone was jumping in the waves and tossing footballs around in the sand. In due time, the water finally felt refreshing and the waves were tons of fun. Then we ended the day with a dinner at Dougie’s, an amazing and delicious gift from a sponsor at Federation. It was a truly spectacular day and we all smiled as we piled into cars to go home. A huge thanks to the parents that helped out and a huge Happy birthday, Dan!

-Meredith Weinerman/DJ Merry Go Round

Our last 24 hours have been filled with sleep deprivation, sunburn, hard work, and TONS OF FUN! Check ‘em out!