Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Workshop 2 for Cohort 7

Our second Diller workshop was held on October 18, 2015 at the JCC Squirrel Hill. We started off the workshop with our different committees doing presentation. The Ruach committee led a pictionary-like icebreaker, the Israel committee led a group activity/discussion on our opinions on what is happening in Israel, and the swag committee gave us our treats, sour candy and a clementine. 

Then we started talking about the main topic of the workshop- qualities and characteristics of a leader. The most agreed upon characteristic was confidence. After dinner we met with our parents and Rabbi Schiff. He had us rank 10 of the most selected leadership characteristics chosen by business moguls from least to most important. We then discussed the groups' top 3 selected qualities, integrity, good communication skills, and the ability to inspire a shared vision, and why we chose them. We were plesently surprised to find our top 3 picks were the same as the people who compiled the list. 

We then left Rabbi Schiff and the parents, and did a very interesting activity. We had to rank on a scale of 1-10 how developed we were in different important leadership qualities. With this ranking, we were able to see what type of leaders we are right now, and what we need/want to improve on. We ended the night with our circle of gratitude, and said how thankful we all are for the blessings in our lives. 

- Jordan Ennis

Monday, October 19, 2015

The First Day of Cohort 7

Today was the first day of our Diller experience, and the first day of what will be a life-changing process where we explore ourselves and our Jewish identity. Together, as a cohort, we will discuss and share our ideas about what it means to be a leader in the Jewish community. As our first step, we discussed what a community meant to all of us, and also what communities we included ourselves in. 

Another important part of this journey is sharing and putting trust in the other people in the group, so we did some icebreakers to get to know each other a little bit better. We played a couple of games and had some fun learning more about the other teens that we will be spending so much time with. My favorite icebreaker that we did consisted of all of us standing in a circle. A person started with a ball of yarn and they would say three things they were interested in. Anyone who shared at least one of those interests would raise their hand, and then the person with the yarn would toss it to them. The end result was a giant web of yarn that really showed me how connected we all really are. It also made me feel more comfortable with the group, knowing that I could relate to so many of them. 

Towards the end of our first day, we started to talk about the commitment that we were about to make. We talked about the covenant between God and Abraham, and then about agreements or covenants in our lives. We discussed what we expected from an agreement and compared the agreement that we were about to make, with the Brit made between God and Abraham. Overall it was a really great first day, and I’m really looking forward to what is to come!

Adam Moritz

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day two in Tel Aviv

As leader of the day, it was my duty to wake everyone up at 7 AM… which is not a very easy task.  The tired fellows slowly trickled into the breakfast hall like zombies.  After breakfast we all climbed onto the bus still trying to fully wake up.  This day was geared around volunteering and learning about unique areas in Tel Aviv.  At a place called Ramat Gan we jumped off the bus and got ready for the first activity of the day.  In Ramat Gan there is a place where people who are visually impaired or blind can receive economic benefits through work.  We learned about how the Israeli government identifies if someone is visually impaired and how this affects their life.  The Israeli government provides a certificate to an individual that identifies them as visually impaired, which indicates their work status.  We volunteered here by helping these people with their work (constructing electronic devices used in lamps and televisions).  As we worked we conversed with the workers and learned about how life is like for them being visually impaired and how they communicate effectively despite their disability.  

After volunteering, we headed to an interactive museum called Dialogue in the Dark in which we were able to experience life as a blind person.  In this museum we were guided through several rooms in complete darkness; in addition, our tour guide was a blind woman who for her, this was a reality.  In the beginning, everyone was anxious and nervous to lose their sight; however, as we progressed through the museum we began to rely more on our sense of smell, touch, and hearing.  We walked through a forest, log cabin, boat, market, busy street, cafeteria, and a music area.  In each of these rooms we walked around, endeavoring to understand where we were without sight.  After this museum, all the teens had gained a greater sense of appreciation for the ability to see (we also ate pizzaJ).  

Next we went to Jaffa and walked around a market.  Then we headed to South Tel Aviv and learned about the complex situation of the refugees who live there.  We explored the responsibility of Israel to refugees as a Jewish state despite its inability to be a home to so many asylum seekers and migrant workers.  South Tel Aviv is a more impoverished area in comparison to the rest of Tel Aviv and it opened up our eyes to a different lifestyle than we had yet seen in Israel.  

We then walked around the old streets of ancient Yaffo and learned about the history of this land.  Finally we went to dinner after a long day of walking around in the heat on Bugrashov Street.  By the time we got back to the hotel we were all exhausted and ready to pass out.  By learning about modern issues in Israel and seeing how they are dealt with, we were able to gain a different perspective that concerned relevant problems.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Last day of Congress and First Day in Tel Aviv

Today was our first travel day with the Israelis, but it was also the last day of congress. We started the day by waking up at Congress, going to breakfast, and going to a program. The program was about the sixth leg of Judaism, an addition to the initial five we learned about (family, memory, Israel, Hebrew, and mount Sinai). We discussed which leg we had a strongest connection to and in groups created a sixth leg. After the program we had a feedback session in our tribes. We said things that surprised us, our favorite memories, what we learned and can take back to our homes, and more. Personally, hearing everyone's opinions opened my eyes to all the different possibilities there are. People were constantly challenging each other in discussions and it was amazing to watch and participate in.

After saying goodbye to the friends we made, Pittsburgh karmiel-misgav boarded our bus to Tel Aviv. The bus ride only took about a hour and went by really quickly. Before we knew it we were standing in line for shawarma and falafel! The food was really good, but huge, so I could barely eat half of mine.

We next had a scavenger hunt in Tel Aviv. There were clues hidden throughout the city and we had to decode previous clues to find the next one. It was a lot of fun, but also very hot. By the end we were all sweaty and gross, so we went to the beach! We all ran right into the water and had chicken fights, dunking, and splashing. We were all exhausted by now but we are dinner at our hotel before showering and getting ready for magaal. We had our magaal on the beach, which was really fun. It was Sarah Grill's birthday so we had cake and sang happy birthday to her (and Jackie since we never celebrated her birthday).  We sang happy birthday to Sarah so many times throughout the day that I lost count. It was a great first day in Tel Aviv and I can't wait for our last few days!

- Abigail Busis

Congress Day 2

Avram Infeld started the day out with a lecture where he challenged everything we thought about what being Jewish is really all about. He had a five leg theory about what to focus on, and how every person can pick and choose what they want to believe. We then split in to our tribe groups and discussed the importance of the language of Hebrew.  I was surprised to see the variety of beliefs amongst my own group, let alone imagining what everyone at congress felt. 

Jewish leaders from around Israel were kind enough to enlighten us by sharing their success and difficulties with their positions. After the panel discussion, we split into groups of 20 to have deeper conversations. I went to hear Yahal Porat. After that we all congregated for the classic Diller Picture. Though it was difficult to get everyone under control, it only took about 7 minutes to capture all of the pictures. 

The worst part of the day is next. Shahar, the Karmiel-Misgav JC, was leaving. We had a 5 minute notice to say our last goodbyes as she heads off for her gap year before the army. Then it got even worse. Roi, a Karmiel-Misgav fellow, was going home early. This was also short notice and it was difficult to say goodbye because we will love and miss him so much. We hope to see him again soon in Tel-Aviv. Back in our tribes, for the last activity of the day, we put old text into modern words. Then we had a maagal lilah with our Pittsburgh cohort and had a peaceful night.

- Jackie Dervin