Usually, it’s the shopping on Canal Street and the never-dimming lights of Times Square that create the biggest impact on visitors to the city that never sleeps.
But for the nearly 100 participants from the greater Toronto area who participated in the Chabad Youth Network New York Shabbaton, with Rabbi Shmuli Nachlas of CYN and Rabbi Meir Gitlin of Chabad of Markham, there were some very different things to remember.
As Jessica, a Grade 12 student in Torah 4 Teens, wrote on the CYN blog, “This weekend was by far a spiritual reach, deep into myself. This was the first time I ever turned my phone off and kept Shabbat, and actually enjoyed the bonding with my friends…
“This weekend, I was a different person, it wasn’t all about the shopping (even though it was amazing,) but it was three days that made an enormous impact on my life… this was one small step into becoming the Jewish girl I am striving to become. The Rebbe’s Ohel was the most incredible and emotionally experience, standing beside the graveside of one of the most miraculous men, asking for our personal blessing. At that moment I knew I was not fulfilling my life achievements… ”
Sierra, a Grade 10 student in Torah 4 Teens, wrote, “Staying in Crown Heights was incredible and the family that I was staying with was so nice. They treated us like we lived there and seeing how they live was very eye opening. Never in my life have I ever seen such nice people who are so welcoming. Besides that, I learned so much about Judaism that I never knew before… I cannot wait to go again next year…”
On behalf of all the teens who have benefited from this inspirational and uplifting weekend, a big Yasher Koach is extended to all the families that have opened their homes and made the teens feel so welcome. Thank you for partnering with us in our Shlichus.