Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

CTeen and JNF bring early Chanukah to Aleh Negev


Orlando Past President Jim Riola and Gigi Goldey express their love for the children of Aleh Negev-Nahalat Elan.

On Wednesday, Nov. 30, Jewish high school students from all over metro Orlando gathered in Nate's Shul in Longwood for an evening of volunteering to help Israeli children with special needs. The teens were treated to a delicious Kosher Israeli dinner thanks to Eric Kessous of Kosher Gourmet in Kissimee.

The event was a partnership between CTeen of Orlando and the Orlando chapter of the Jewish National Fund. Following the Shawarma and desserts the teens were addressed by Orlando JNF Past President Jim Riola, who, together with his wife Jill, sponsored the evening. 

Riola explained the importance of JNF's work with special needs children, and especially its involvement with Aleh Negev-Nahalat Elan, a one of kind, state of the art rehabilitative medical facility and village in the Negev devoted to special needs children and adults. The group then watched a video and learned about the amazing work JNF does all over Israel. "We do so much more than just plant trees," said Jim, with a smile. 

Rabbi Yanky Majesky explained to the teens how giving back is not about the amount you give - it is about giving what you can. "Right now you are students and not making money, but you can help these special children in another way". 

The teens then sat down to build wooden, hand painted Dreidles and make stuffed felt Torahs, along with personalized Chanukah cards, to send their love and good wishes from CTeen of Orlando to the children of Aleh Negev. 

At the closing of the evening, the teens received a special Aleh Negev wristband as a gift from JNF.

"I want to thank Rabbi Yanky Majesky for giving JNF the opportunity to present one of our favorite programs and enable these kids to make a personal connection to the land and people of Israel" said Riola. "It is we who need to thank you," responded the Rabbi. 

CTeen is the fastest growing Jewish youth group with over 250 chapters in 23 countries across six continents. In metro Orlando there is CTeen of South Orlando led by Rabbi Nissan and Shaina Zibel, CTeen of Maitland led by Rabbi Ed and Bracha Leibowitz and CTeen of North Orlando led by Rabbi Yanky and Chanshy Majesky. All three chapters joined for this special event. 

The next CTeen event will be on Dec. 14 where CTeen will partner with the Jewish Pavilion to bring the joy of Chanukah to the elderly. For more information about CTeen or to sponsor the next event please contact Rabbi Yanky Majesky Rabbi@JewishNorthOrlando.com or 407-636-5994. 


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