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CTeen is excited to announce its UK Israel Tour, which will take place for the first time this coming summer. The 22-day trip will provide Jewish teens from the United Kingdom an opportunity to explore their roots and return home with a gained sense of Jewish pride. This is a gamechanger for British teens, as a summer experience in Israel can play an imperative role in shaping the identity of a Jewish teenager.
The life of a Jewish teen in the UK can be challenging. The recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents has brought many teens feelings of fear and angst. The local news pours with stories of vengeful stabbings and anti-Semitic slurs targeted at innocent Jews going about their daily affairs. Overall, the tension has risen and openly displaying one’s Jewish identity has become no easy feat. “Unfortunately, over the past year a number of teens throughout the UK faced antisemitic behaviors in their school,” shared Mrs. Esther Rose Shlucha to Cardiff, UK “there is nothing quite like spending time in the land where it all stems from to foster a teen’s ability to identify as a proud Jew, especially in the face of what can sometimes be less than pleasant experiences in mainstream schools.”
Perhaps the greatest novelty of this tour is its exclusivity to teens from the United Kingdom. A trip that caters to these teens alone creates a more personal experience and allows them to bring the inspiration back home and connect with their fellow friends and Shluchim who have all been through the same journey. “Coming from a completely different culture, mentality, and upbringing than their American counterparts, having a trip catered specifically to the average British teen has the potential to leave a much more lasting impact,” said Rose.
The trip will be taking place from the 25th of July until the 16th of August 2022 and will be available to teens coming out of years 11 and 12 across the UK, including England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The teens will have the incredible opportunity to immerse themselves in the CTeen Israel experience. The trip offers the teens a chance to explore many landmarks throughout Israel. The itinerary includes Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Tzfat, Be’er Sheva, the Kotel, Machane Yehuda, Masada, Ein Gedi, The Dead Sea, and Army Bases, and will provide a comprehensive and meaningful journey throughout the land of Israel. The teens will also get the chance to enjoy the many exciting adventure activities Israel has to offer, such as cruising on the Kinneret, camel riding, delivering care packages to IDF soldiers, hiking, jeeping, rafting and more.
In addition to the trip’s packed schedule, the staff will provide a warm and positive environment while imbuing in the teens a sense of Jewish pride and knowledge. “For Jewish teens living in the UK, this journey along with their fellow teens can have a tremendous impact in nurturing their Jewish identity, said Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Merkos 302 and vice Chairman of CTeen, “It’s a packed program and the itinerary shows a great balance of meaningful holy sites and exciting activities, leaving them with experiences that will shape their future.”
CTeen has partnered up with the local UK federation UJIA (United Jewish Israel Appeal) and the Jewish Agency for Israel to facilitate the program. “This partnership was a substantial process which we had sought for several years. We are delighted that it has come to fruition,” shared Rabbi Nachman Rivkin, director of CTeen’s summer programs. The arrangement will include special funding for bursaries, creating opportunities for more families to join this trip.
“The fact that the trip is supported by the UJIA opens up the door for so many more teens across the UK to participate in this exciting journey, Explained Rabbi Sholom Cohen of CTeen Manchester, I believe this is only the beginning, and with time it’s something that can be huge.”
The program will be sponsored by Chabad Lubavitch UK and administered by Ms. Rassy Schtroks, who has now opened the office for CTeen in the UK. “I was privilaged to work on CTeen’s 2021 Israel trips from the US and was amazed at the tremendous feedback from parents when they expressed their immense appreciation for this unique life changing experience. This inspired me to return to London and take on the role of facilitating an Israel Tour from the UK,” explained Schtroks, “I am very hopeful that this tour can help bring about positivity and pride amongst the Jewish youth in the UK, as the meaningful effect lasts long after the trip is over.”