VIDEO – CTeen: Empowering Jewish teens in the heart of New York

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Chabad’s Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky describes CTeen’s amazing Shabbaton concert in Times Square with 3,000 Jewish teens from around the world.

Yoni Kempinksi – Arutz 7

Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of Chabad’s Merkos Suite 302 and Executive Director of its Office of Global Outreach, joins Israel National News from Times Square in Manhattan, where a massive Jewish pride and Havdalah concert attended by over 3,100 teens from all over the world is taking place.

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“They were able to be as Jewish as if they were in Israel celebrating a holiday,” he says. “It was incredible energy.”

He explains about CTeen: “Chabad Teen Network now operates 700 clubs around the world, reaches 150,000 teens, and once a year we have a teen leadership summit. They come together for a Shabbaton in New York where they get to meet each other, to celebrate Judaism, Jewish ideas, to be empowered to go back home. For many of these teens, they’re the only Jews in their schools. They come here they’re empowered, and if they can celebrate and dance at the center of the world in Times Square [during the Jewish Pride event], they can be proudly Jewish anywhere.”

He comments that the event was all about feeling pride as Jews.

The first ever mezuzah was installed in Times Square.

“Every year we try to do something unique. One year we finished the Torah scroll in the heart of Times Square, and this year we were able to in addition to getting 10 screens around Times Square to promote Jewish ideas and to promote Jewish content and to celebrate Judaism, we actually have fixed a mezuzah on one of the doors right over here in the heart of Times Square.”

He adds that “it was a very moving time, especially in today’s world with antisemitism being rampant, the mezuzah which represents Hashem protecting us and watching over us, did send that message very strong to all of those who were here.”

Rabbi Kotlarsky believes that Jewish teens have a lot of challenges to deal with in today’s world.

“Jewish teens really follow the general Jewish pattern and unfortunately in a world today that has trillion dollar Industries trying to capture the hearts and minds of all youth and to get them into, whether it’s Hollywood, whether it’s social media, whether it’s culture, whether it’s cancel culture or whatever it is, and to be able to have a Jewish product that teens can feel a part of, that can feel relevant, that they can feel into, is really something that is unique,” he says.

“They celebrate their Jewish pride. They relate to it and you have the most popular teens of their cities coming together over here from their countries and being able to own their Judaism in this way. It is phenomenal.”

Source: Arutz 7

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