“To stay or to go?” was the question that puzzled…
The colorful postcard marketing the 6th Annual CTeen Shabbaton in New York showcased a “PhotoShopped” image of the shabbaton and Jewish superstar Alex Clare advertised on Manhattan’s jumbotrons and billboards. Never would the 1,000 shabbaton participants from over 110 communities around the world have dreamt that this would be a reality at the climax of the three-day shabbaton during the Havdallah ceremony in Times Square.
The 10 jumbo screens of the American Eagle building broadcasted slogans encouraging many of the 10 mivtzoim accompanied by supporting footage of teens doing mitzvos at their local CTeen programs and at CTeen’s two-week traveling camp. The main screen displayed a live feed of Alex’s Clare stellar Havdallah service and concert, and peaked with a specially made video of the Rebbe speaking of the incredible power of youth.
At the CTeen Leadership Choice Awards ceremony during the shabbaton’s closing banquet on Sunday, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, spoke to the teens about how much the the Rebbe cherished the youth and how much the Rebbe believed in each and every one of them that they can literally change the world. “I wish I was your age,” Rabbi Krinsky said, charging the teens with the mission to use their abilities to their fullest potential.
During his keynote address to the teens, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice-chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch and chairman of CTeen, revved up the electrified hall. Encouraging the teens to pack their bags with a priceless mitzvah, he proclaimed in his inimitable Kinus-Hashluchim-banquet-style tone, “You may be going home now, but you are taking the shabbaton back home with you!”
Teens were then presented with awards by both Rabbi Krinsky and Rabbi Kotlarsky, who commended them for their efforts in strengthening their local CTeen chapters and their involvement in planning and arranging programs with the international leadership board.
Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky closed the formal part of the banquet’s program by reading greetings sent by President Obama in honor of the shabbaton. “Uniting Jewish youth from diverse backgrounds, occasions like the CTeen International Shabbaton provide important opportunities to explore your faith, develop leadership skills and push yourselves to reach for new heights,” Obama stated.
The amazed shluchim and teens in attendance all had one question for CTeen: how did they pull it off? CTeen’s director, Rabbi Shimon Rivkin, shared the secret of this year’s shabbaton’s epic success. “It was the Rebbe’s brochos,” he explained. “Throughout all of the preparations, we literally saw how the Rebbe is guiding us every step of the way!”
Click on this link to see a 3D photo of the epic event
Photos by Bentzi Sasson