“Don’t shoot me, Rabbi!” cried Zack, before cracking a smile…
Just over a year ago, Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch launched CTeen – the Chabad Teen Network. Created to fill a void in Chabad teen outreach, CTeen is the new and exciting teen network designed exclusively for the youth of today. In this short span of time, CTeen has captured the imagination of youth directors across the world, with close to one thousand youngsters in over 30 chapters.
“CTeen has become the world’s fastest growing Jewish youth organization,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch. “At CTeen events, teens experience hands-on Judaism, exploring topics that are relevant to them in a stimulating way.”
Many have wondered how it is that we can attract the teens of today to Judaism’s age-old traditions. Yet through thought-provoking discussions, exciting games and good food, the teens find and learn about a new dimension within their Judaism, making them come back time and again.
The teens converge monthly as various causes and special projects are promoted throughout the network. Last month, CTeen in Teaneck, NJ had 32 teens prepare and shape pillows to be sent off to members of the US army stationed in Iraq. CTeen in North Potomac, MD visited a fire station, where they learned about search and rescue operations and committed to work closely with them and volunteer in the future. The CTeen chapter in Guatemala reported overwhelming success among its teens.
“Some of our teens have started to get up earlier every day after we learned about the importance of time,” says shliach to Guatemala, Rabbi Sholom Perlman. “You can see that the lessons they have learned at CTeen are making a real difference in their lives. We have seen a significant increase in the number of Jewish families that have joined our community just because their children participate in CTeen.
“For me to be part of such a professional organization is a true privilege. The level and form in which the organization brings the spirit of Judaism to these young people makes it a story of success. I’m glad to be part of it.”
In addition to monthly themed events, CTeen’s National Awareness Day and the annual National Shabbaton create a sense of Jewish pride and unity. CTeen also helps coordinate regional programs such as a Chanukah trip to New York City and a May trip for paintball shooting and a barbecue. The underlying purpose is to provide a positive social, humanitarian and educational experience for the teens.
CTeen’s director Rabbi Mendel Perlstein sees the incredible potential of shluchim working together to reach teens. “In one short year CTeen has exploded. Youth directors across the nation are joining forces with one another as they work to further broaden and strengthen this great teen network. It creates an energy that keeps building.”
Shluchim who would like to open a branch in their city and be part of this organization can apply online at www.cteencentral.com/shluchim or call 718-774-4000. Enrollment opens this Thursday, May 6th.
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