Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

CTeen of North Orlando kicks off another year of events

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, Chabad of North Orlando kicked off its local CTeen chapter for the coming school year. CTeen is a worldwide club aimed at engaging Jewish teenagers in Jewish practice and identity.

The "Kick Off" event was held at Nate's Shul in Longwood where the teens got to meet each other, discuss the event calendar for the coming school year, learn about Rosh Hashana and of course have a bite and play some fun games.

The highlight of the evening was building beautiful Tzedakah boxes out of wood to help children with special needs after seeing a very moving video explaining what this organization called the Friendship Circle does for these kids.

"I enjoy going to the CTeen events because there aren't many Jewish teens in my class and this is an opportunity for me to get closer with friends who share a similar background and religion" said Cameron Waggoner of Lake Mary High School "I feel at home and it always brightens my day when the rabbi greets me at the door with a smile and asks how I'm doing" he adds.

To date, there are over 250 chapters in 23 countries across six continents, a success CTeen director, Rabbi Yanky Majesky attributes to CTeen's unique philosophy. "There's this stereotypical notion that teenagers are just reckless, immature, and difficult," says Majesky "That could not be further from the truth. Teenagers have insurmountable energy. At CTeen, we believe in the power of youth, and what we offer is a means of channeling that power in a positive and uplifting way."

To inspire the members to give back to their communities, CTeen plans to engages its members in a wide range of humanitarian efforts including a food drive for Jewish Family Services and helping The JNF in its charitable work in Israel to mention a few.

CTeen will also have many events in connection with the Jewish holidays as well as bring engaging speakers like veterans of the IDF and Holocaust Survivors to speak with the teens.

CTeen's most colossal-and by far most effective-endeavor is its annual international Shabbaton. Over two thousand members enjoy a weekend in the Chabad Headquarters in Brooklyn, NY and partake in an authentic Shabbat experience in the heart of observant Jewish life. Attendees are able to meet and socialize with other Jewish teens from all over the country, furthering their network of Jewish contacts.

"Having a strong support network of Jewish friends is crucial," said Rabbi Yanky Majesky "When young Jewish boys and girls to get together, they remain friends through high school, college, and eventually date within their Jewish circle."

Most importantly, CTeen hopes its influence will reach beyond the high school years, its lessons in leadership, Judaism, and giving back remaining part of the members' lives long after they leave high school. Toward that end, CTeen has developed Campus Connect, an initiative which connects teenagers to the Chabad on Campus chapter at the universities they hope to attend.

CTeen North Orlando's next event will be on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. in Nate's Shul where they will be joined by two other local CTeen chapters to make real Kosher Shofros and learn all about Rosh Hashana in a fun and engaging way.

Those interested in learning more about CTeen North Orlando and its affiliate programs can visit http://www.JewishNorthOrlando.com or call 407-636-5994.


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