After a not-so-typical Super Bowl weekend last year filled with spirited Shabbos meals, meeting friends from around the country, touring the Big Apple, and traditional Jewish attractions, Wisconsinite Julius Zimmerman spoke at last year’s CTeen Shabbaton banquet about how glad he and his peers were for choosing to come to the CTeen Shabbaton instead of watching the anticipated Super Bowl game featuring the Packers, their home team.
This year, the tables have turned, and instead of having to choose one event over the other, the Super Bowl and the Packers are coming to the CTeen National Shabbaton.
Jewish Super Bowl Champ Alan Vinegrad, now known as Shlomo, will be the guest speaker at the national event. Formerly of the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, Vinegrad has wowed and inspired crowds with his journey from Super Bowl to Super Jew. He now gears up to impact the network of Jewish teens from across the continent, relating his personal stories and the lessons that they imply.
According to Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the emphasis on teen outreach must be a top priority. “Chabad Houses have so much to offer to the different demographics,” he states. “It is time to bridge the gap and develop a strong network that teenagers will be proud to belong to.”
Rabbi Chaim Ozer Metal, CTeen shliach to Las Vegas, Nevada, has seen tremendous growth from his teens who participated in last year’s Shabbaton. At the Ohel, one teen told him: “Even though I’m in public school and I’ll be looked at different, I’m going to start wearing my Yarmulka to school and eventually will work with my family to keep Glatt Kosher.”
“I am amazed by the hachlotos these teens have kept ever since,” Rabbi Metal tells us. “The buildup to the Shabbaton and the impact it leaves energize our teens for the whole year.”
Rabbi Shimon Rivkin, Director of the Shabbaton, informed us that the CTeen Shabbaton is open to all teen’s grades 8-12, regardless of affiliation. “The Shabbaton will bring together many Jewish youth groups, including Rohr JLI Teens, Jewish Youth Network, Friendship Circle, TFC.” For CTeen, the ultimate goal of the Shabbaton is to attract the approximated 30 thousand teens whose families are currently involved with Chabad.
With Shabbaton plans for February 10-12th well underway, CTeen chapters are focusing this January on lessons teens can learn from sports in CTeen’s Play Ball program series. Participating teens viewed a film by CTeen where Vinegrad discussed his excitement to join the CTeen Shabbaton and offered a sneak preview of what to expect.
Visit nyshabbaton.com or facebook.com/jewishteens for more information about the CTeen Shabbaton.