500 young Jewish professionals are gearing up for the annual CYP Encounter in Crown Heights. In light of the tremendous awakening of Torah study amongst the young professional demographic, this year’s Shabbaton will feature a robust learning regimen featuring noted scholars.
Five hundred young Jewish professionals are gearing up to descend upon Crown Heights next week for the annual CYP Encounter: Crown Heights. In light of the tremendous awakening of Torah study amongst the young professional demographic, this year’s Shabbaton will feature a robust learning regimen featuring noted scholars.
Much of this increased enthusiasm is credited to recent events and the seismic shift occurring across the Jewish landscape. Seeing their people under threat, young Jews are moving to embrace their Jewish identity and explore deeper participation in Jewish life. “Being Jewish, especially for younger Jews, has never felt more isolating–or more invigorating,” says Rabbi Beryl Frankel, director of CYP International at Merkos 302.
With 220 chapters serving more than 250,000 young Jews worldwide, Chabad Young Professional Shluchim are seeing heightened interest in immersive Jewish experiences like CYP Encounter.
The weekend will feature the usual highlights and good vibes from past years, coupled with the energy and Israel-centric attention that has currently been stirred up. But what further sets this year’s gathering apart is the robust educational and learning experience it will offer: Many of the participants are seasoned students who have been learning with their local CYP Shluchim and Shluchos for some time, and the program is designed to match their level of scholarship, bringing renown lecturers and educators on board to teach over the weekend.
Indeed, throughout the past year, there has been a renaissance of learning taking place within the young professional community, thanks to the dedicated Shluchim leading the “CYP Academy” initiative. With dedicated courses on relevant and engaging Jewish topics, the academy has brought three curated curriculums to five thousand students across tens of CYP chapters. The topics covered were Judaism’s view on relationships, communication, and meditation. Courses were professionally developed in conjunction with the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute.
Many of the participants signed up for the upcoming Encounter weekend are young professionals who completed the courses, and they will bring that higher level of learning with them. In a special segment, graduates of the CYP Academy courses will share their own unique Torah insights with participants.
To continue their higher-level learning, there will be an authentic, yeshivah-style experience, with one-on-one partner study with local Yeshivah students, as well as a packed roster of lectures, deep dives, and thoughtful round tables. Rabbi Shmuli Altein, Shliach to Winnipeg, and assistant Rabbi the Baal Shem Tov Shul in Wesley Hills will be scholar in residence, delivering multiple classes. Rabbi Manis Friedman, noted scholar, will teach the Chassidic response to anxiety and fear that so many are feeling in light of the situation for Jews around the globe. Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon, Shliach in Park Heights, and Rov of Anash Baltimore will also deliver an in-depth Talmud and Chassidus class for the most advanced “track.”
All in all, this sophisticated learning points to the growing thirst among young adults to not only learn something “on the fly” but to really sink their teeth into the majesty and depth of Torah scholarship.
“Every Jew has a powerful connection to Torah, and really thirsts to study in a deep way,” said Rabbi Shmuel Neft, director of CYP Toronto. “The challenge is bringing down the barriers of entry and opening up these incredible ideas to a broader audience. The CYP Academy does just that, presenting robust Torah learning in a way that young adults can really digest.
“The deep soul-level connection people make with Torah and with their fellow students has created a unique and vibrant ‘community within a community’ here. Students of the academy have taken their friendships outside the classroom, constantly connecting with each other as a group. As a natural outgrowth of that, we’re now coming together to the Encounter in Crown Heights, and G-d willing, will be going on other such trips together. We can’t wait!”