CTeen Committee Votes to Keep Shabbaton in Crown Heights

“To stay or to go?” was the question that puzzled organizers of the International CTeen Shabbaton ever since the conclusion of last year’s Shabbaton.

Rapidly expanding, CTeen International now numbers at 256 chapters worldwide. The exponential growth, coupled with the quality and variety of programming these shluchim are offering their local teens has led CTeen to estimate that 2,000 teens will participate in the Shabbaton this year, b’ezras Hashem. With the ever-increasing challenge of finding enough places for the teens to stay, CTeen seriously contemplated relocating the Shabbaton elsewhere.

“This was a decision we were weighing for quite some time,” discloses Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice-chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and chairman of CTeen. During the CTeen Kinus in Tammuz, Rabbi Kotlarsky invited shluchim to weigh in on the pros and cons of the matter.

Reflections of teens, such as Samantha Rosenthal from Dallas, Texas, helped tip the scale in favor of keeping the Shabbaton in Crown Heights. “My time in Crown Heights taught me many valuable life lessons,” she wrote in an essay on the CTeen Connection blog for teens. “The true feeling of belonging I experienced in my short time there assured me that if I ever find myself lost throughout my life, I will always have a home that will take me in and show me the way, even if it is halfway across the country.”

With the decision to stay in the Rebbe’s shechuna, CTeen shluchim are grateful to know that they can count on local Anash to join in their efforts to provide an unprecedented Shabbos experience to thousands of teens. Indeed, the generosity and hospitality of hundreds of Crown Heights residents who opened their homes and hearts to the teens over the last number of years is unparalleled.

“Last year, it seemed like every house in Crown Heights was hosting CTeen,” Rabbi Michoel Goldin, a member of the CTeen vaad related. “If we find enough houses to host the 800 additional teens we’re expecting, we will have solved the housing crisis,” he quips.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky echoes the Vaad’s sentiments. “The influence of the warm and caring chassidishe atmosphere that the hosts offer can’t be obtained anywhere else,” he says.

The International CTeen Shabbaton is scheduled to take place on 17-19 Adar 1 (February 26-28).

8 Comments

  • 1. Split the boys and girls wrote:

    Crisis would be avoided if you split the boys and girls and it would be smarter, healthier and more in line with the values we portray.

  • 2. bad math wrote:

    no room 4 2000 teens, plenty of room 4 5000+++ shluchim. splitting the genders sounds like a good plan any way.

  • 4. as a host wrote:

    we enjoy having the students
    something must be done about the boys and girls being together, especially at night
    we had kids sneak out in middle of the night
    also, a shliach (male) should not be the one chaperoning the girls-it is simply not appropriate or tznius (the dress of some of the students is straight out provacative-even for a person who grew up without tznius guidelines-
    I know they don’t mean harm, but it remains not OK for a shliach(vs shlucha) to be the main chaperone to be with these girls in such close proximity so much of the time )
    the girls should also be given a basic dress code (in terms of tznius) and some basic instruction in appropriate behavior at the host home-
    one of my guests came out of the shower in a towel only and walked around my house like that for a bit until I spoke to them

  • 7. None of you are involved wrote:

    Although you may think that it is better to split them girls and boys and from many points of view is a legitimate concern. However in fact a large portion of the reasoning behind the shabbaton is to show the teens that there is a thriving Jewish world and that they have many Jewish ” options” to choose from instead of goyim. Splitting them would not facilitate this knowledge. 2 the shluchim themselves know their teens and who is best to take Care of them and can rise above the ” concerns ” that you put forth

  • 8. to #7 wrote:

    most shluchim are not “active” rabonim (in the same way a rov of a actual Chabad community is) and neither are they the Rebbe
    the Rebbe was not OK with mixed events in general, kal v’chomor when it involves events of teenage youth and all the aspects that come with that
    there are many ways to show the teens that there are fun opposite gender teens that are Jewish, but it is not by going against halacha
    it’s a beautiful program, but MUST be done right
    And when you say that none of us are involved, please don’t go asking us to host, asking us to live with what the inappropriateness that comes along with it and then tell us that we are not involved

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