CTeens of Central Florida join for winter vacation trip
Jewish teens from across Central Florida joined for the Chabad Teen Network trip during the winter break vacation. The CTeens had a wonderful time ice skating at the RDV and then drove to South Orlando to the Kosher Gourmet Restaurant where they were treated to a wonderful Israeli-style dinner.
Following dinner, the CTeens gathered at Chabad of South Orlando for a workshop on the Jewish perspective on showing gratitude and appreciation 'Hakarat Hatov' led by Rikki Gurewitcz. A video was shown of Nick Vojicic - a man born with no arms or legs but he's always happy and optimistic while thanking G-d for the things that he does have.
"This trip and all CTeen programs are designed to have fun while learning about Judaism and to be sure the teens are proud to be Jewish,"said Rabbi Shmuel Konikov of Daytona Beach.
The CTeens were shown a blank screen with three dots on it-A Chossid once came to his Rebbe and 'kvetched' about all the 'Tzaros' in his life. The Rebbe showed him these three dots on a sheet of paper and asked him what he sees. "Three dots" came the reply. '"Why do you see the three dots when most of the paper is white?" This story really helped the CTeens internalize the lesson.
"It was so much fun hanging out with other teenage kids," said Andrew and Josh Kocken from Geneva. "The food was great and it was a great opportunity for me to have a great time with other Jewish kids," added Gabriel Shames of Altamonte Springs.
"I really enjoyed bonding with each new teen I met. I found that I had so much in common with them and I absolutely loved the program! It taught me to appreciate everything I have because there are less fortunate people who do not have much," said Reba Wagoner of Heathrow.
"In light of the recent Pew Study regarding Jewish assimilation in America, it is clear that we are loosing our youth and it is critical that we focus a spotlight on this demographic-keeping the teens involved with Judaism beyond their bar/bat mitzvah and through college," Rabbi Yanky Majesky explained. "When a child graduates from our Hebrew school, it is our responsibility to do all we can to keep yideshkeit in their lives while they are in high school, and even when they go off to college I make sure to connect them with one of my colleagues in the Chabad on Campus network," Majesky added.
Joining for the evening were the CTeens groups of Daytona Beach with Rabbi Shmuel Konikov, North Orlando with Rabbi Yanky Majesky, Greater Orlando with Rabbi Ed Liebowitz, and South Orlando with Rikki Gurewicz.
For more information about programs for Jewish Teens in Central Florida, please contact a local Chabad. No affiliation or background is necessary. The annual CTeen Shabbaton to New York City is scheduled for the end of February and at least 40 teens from Central Florida are expected to join the more than 1000 teens from across the U.S. for an action-packed weekend in the Big Apple.