By Mussi Sharfstein - ejewishphilanthropy Teens reach out to lonely…
By Chabad House Compass Express
As the sun set over the beach in Oxnard, CA just a few weeks ago and ushered in the Shabbos, a group of girls at the West Coast regional CTeen Shabbaton began to get to know each other. Over the course of the weekend, a sense of relaxation, friendship and inspiration unfolded.
Delicious meals filled with stories, songs and words of Torah, and hours of enthusiastic farbrengen-style discussions with the hosts, Rabbi Dov and Rachelli Muchnik, highlighted the Shabbaton. No topic was shied away from, as the the intense talks answered many of the girls’ questions about Yiddishkeit and their role as young adults.
Shabbos afternoon was filled with team building exercises, as well as meaningful games that placed the girls in challenging scenarios, and encouraged them to broaden their horizons to discover practical solutions.
A packed Motzei Shabbos and Sunday schedule included riveting presentations along with hikes through Paradise Falls, splashing through streams, climbing rocks and skipping down paths.
“My daughter came home inspired and looking forward to the next Shabbaton,” said a happy mother. “She had a chance to enhance her friendships and get real answers to her questions.”
“The Shabbaton allowed girls from all over California to network with each other,” says Rabbi Sapo, Youth Director at Chabad of the Conejo Valley. “Regional events help form expanding Jewish friendships, which creates a strong attachment to the Jewish community as a whole.”
These ties are further strengthened at the national retreats arranged by CTeen Central in Merkos Suite 302/Chabad House HQ in New York, according to CTeen director Rabbi Mendel Perlstein.
In response to a question on a Hebrew High final asking about the students’ favorite memory of the year, many attendees pointed out the Shabbaton. “The weekend away was not only fun and relaxing but also spiritual and educational,” wrote S.K. “I learned so much that I can actively apply to my life and I also have memories that will last forever.”
CTeen Central is currently wrapping up another successful year of nationwide teen programming and gearing up for expanded and upgraded offerings in the coming year. Follow the CTeen.com page on Facebook (Facebook.com/JewishTeens) to stay in the loop.