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Jewish Journal

Nomination deadline for tikkun olam award approaching

by Ryan Torok

January 10, 2014 | 4:39 pm

Helen Diller. Courtesy of Helen Diller Family Foundation

Helen Diller. Courtesy of Helen Diller Family Foundation

Social-justice minded Jewish teens take heed. The Helen Diller Family Foundation is currently accepting nominations for its 2014 Diller Tikkun Olam Award, which is presented to 13- to 19-year-olds who have exhibited passion and leadership in tikkun olam.

“Teens have a special ability to inspire, and their enthusiasm and creativity in identifying ways to repair the world is a compelling example for all of us,” Heller Diller, a Bay Area philanthropist, said in a statement. Diller’s family foundation funds the awards.

Nominations are due Jan. 19, and the prize money for the contest is double chai, with a few more zeroes. 

Each winner receives $36,000, which may be used toward college or toward tikkun olam efforts.

According to dillerteenawards.org, Diller has been spent nearly 20 years “investing in Jewish teens, creating powerful experiences that strengthen both their Jewish identity and their leadership abilities.”

Last year, three Los Angeles-area teens took home prizes. Ellie Dubin of Beverly Hills, Calif. was recognized for creating an arts enrichment program for low-income youth; Jordan Elist, also of Beverly Hills, Calif., was honored for a recycling effort that impacted several communities; and Ido Kedar of West Hills, Calif. was spotlighted for advocating on behalf of non-verbal autistic teens. 

Marking a change from previous years in which 10 individuals were honored, the contest this year will recognize 15 teens—five from California and ten from the rest of the country. 

The change was due to the high volume of nominations, according to a spokesperson for the foundation.

Nominated efforts vary, as some have grown out of b’nai mitzvah projects, others out of school assignments and some from teenager’s own initiative.

But whatever the project is, it must have had an impact on a community in need.

For information on how to apply, visit dillerteenawards.org.

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