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