By Rabbi Danny Cohen For the many weeks, I have been…
Dear CTeen friends,
Wow. Somehow I blinked, and my five years of CTeen have flown by. As graduation rapidly approaches, I’ve been reflecting on the factors that have brought me to this point in my life. A big part of my identity is CTeen and you, fellow CTeeners, have influenced my life a great deal. You have taught me so much, given me something special to hold onto, and made life more fun. With my time as a CTeener coming to an end, I wanted to take this time to thank you and tell you how much you mean to me.
To my chapter, especially my WCL shabbaton squad. You are the ones who keep me going—the ones who show up to all of our events, make me laugh on shabbatons, teach me new things, and make me want to be a better leader. You sit with me in shul, inspire me to grow, and make me feel so fortunate to have such an incredible community. There is no one else I’d rather pack 280 shalach manot with or spend hours talking to about anything and everything. Thank you for coming up with my Instagram captions, jamming out to my CTeen playlist in the car, and for being amazing. I love staying up late with you on Shabbat, talking about life, or telling stories. Each one of you has impacted me more than you’ll ever know. I love you and can’t wait for our summer adventures.
To #claireisanut, aka my worldwide CTeen friend group. You guys are the best. From listening to all of my crazy stories, to giving me the best life advice, and always making me laugh. You are all so incredibly supportive and I am so grateful I have you. Thanks to you guys, I know that I always have somewhere to stay if I ever travel to California, Michigan, England, Canada, Pennsylvania, or New York. You inspire me to be myself, and to grow as a Jewish individual. My school friends are all worrying about keeping a long distance friendship in college, but since our friendships have always been long distance, being in Israel won’t affect the hundreds of texts that I get from all of you everyday.
To one of my CTeen friends, and soon to be seminary roommate, Claire Segal. Claire, just in case I haven’t told you, you are the reason that I applied to seminary. You pushed me and, even though I tried to ignore it, convinced me that I needed to go to seminary, and that I would have the time of my life. Thank you for being my fashion consultant and chavrusa, and for helping me learn how to read Hebrew in preparation for the year ahead.You are always there if I need to talk or to tag me in funny posts on social media. You inspire me to be a better person and push myself. You are incredibly kind, giving, supportive, funny, and intelligent. I cannot wait for what next year will bring, and I can’t wait to steal all of your clothes. I love you.
To my soulmate, best friend, and fellow musical theatre addict, Maddy Gold. Maddy, It’s actually crazy that we only met freshman year. You have made my experience in CTeen so incredible. From pumping me up at shabbatons to jamming out in the car… You are always there to talk me out of saying things I will regret, or even just to hear about my day. Thank you for being my biggest supporter, especially through this year. I will miss you like crazy next year but I know you’ll come visit me. Oh, and since we’re finally going to be going to the same school (shout-out to Binghamton!), we’ll make up for lost time. Different time zones has nothing on our friendship.
To the two people—Rachel Wilkes and Sydney Winawer—who made me realize that someone like me, who went to public school and doesn’t come from a religious background, can go to seminary. When I first went to the Leadership Retreat in 2016 (Holy cow! Two years ago!), I had no idea how drastically my life would change, and it was mainly because of the two of you. It was the first time that I met teens who took their desire for Judaism into their own hands. Your stories inspired me and made me reevaluate my life. When I heard you were both going to seminary, I was shocked. You guys come from public school and a not religious Jewish school, and I had no idea that seminary was an option for people with your background—people with my background. Fast forward to right after Pesach when I got to see both of you… in Israel! Two current sem girls and a future sem girl. Who would have thought? Rachel, thank you for constantly telling me that I need to do what I think is right for me. Thank you for being my seminary consultant and FaceTiming/texting/calling me to help me pick where to apply. I love that we can go through long stretches of not seeing each other and then pick up right where we left off. Can’t wait for more city adventures! Syd, thank you for your endless love and support. You supported me when I was convinced I couldn’t go to sem, and when I finally decided I could. Your hilarious Snapchats and weekly “Goooooood Shabbosssss” audios keep me going. I love you both and hope to see you when you come home.
To the greatest friend of all, CTeen. Thank you. You have given me the best friends that I can ask for and have taught me the most important lessons. I know know matter where I am in my life, or in the world, I will always have CTeen to inspire me and to come back to.
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