Highlighting Our Own: Making Teens Leaders Through Art

A new Anash.org column will highlight some of our community’s wonderful initiatives and projects: The first installment will highlight ‘Brush Hour’, which uses art and the Mivtza of Neshek to fuel the Rebbe’s vision of empowering our youth and thereby igniting their own passion for Yiddishkeit.

By Anash.org reporter

Brush Hour is a two year old initiative that combines the Mivtza of Neshek, teen leadership, and art in an ingenious way. It is the first in a series of organizations that will be highlighted here on Anash.org as we get to know some of the many beautiful new organizations making a difference on the scene.

This young but incredibly powerful and already successful organization was envisioned by Rabbi Mendy Wolf, the director of YJL- Young Jewish Leadership, an organization that works with the Lubavitch youth. Rabbi Wolf was working mainly with Lubavitch bochurim and wanted to create a program to inspire the young Lubavitch teen girls to be empowered and to empower others through the special mivtza of Neshek.

“I saw how much we invest in the secular community with Shlichus outreach, and wanted that for our own teens,” he explained. “I see how empowered they are when they are the leaders and need to reach into their own relationship with Yidishkeit to inspire others. I see how alive they become, how they suddenly wake up and discover this wealth of deep emotion towards their own Yidishkeit when they need to share it with others.”

Such, Brush Hour was created: An organization that uses Mivtza Neshek to empower our own community teens to reach out and inspire the Cteen chapters around them. The program only started two years ago and has already reached over 30 Cteen chapters and is happening in multiple Lubavitch schools.

Brush Hour program coordinator, Mushka Teitelbaum, creates a year-long schedule with the different Cteen chapters within the two-and-a-half driving radius of each school that is participating. Once the school year begins, the events start.

Each Lubavitch school has a beautiful event surrounding the importance of Mivtzas Neshek and how we can reach women all over and inspire them with our message. The program then leads into a paint night where each student uses their connection to the Mitzvah of Neiros Shabbos and creates a painting of what it looks like to them. The art is then used as content for social media posts to inspire women all over the world and is also displayed at an art show.

The students then sign up to become ambassadors and can join trips to different Cteen chapters over the year where they host and lead a similar event. They become the leaders at the events, teaching the teens about the light of Shabbos candles and the power of the Jewish woman to transform her home through it.

“It’s heartwarming to see the wide array of girls that get involved. This program connects with so many different types of students, it’s a real game-changer,” shares one teacher. “We’ll have the artistic students join for the paint and creative part of the program, the social students join for the chance to meet new girls, the media-savvy partake in the social media aspect of the event and help create content with the teens- it’s really reaching out to more students than we dared dream would join.

“It’s such a breath of fresh air to see our students so passionate about Yidishkeit. Having to market it to a non-frum crowd just gives them to push they need to own the content and information they were raised with their whole lives.”

The Cteens then have a painting event where they too, share the beauty they just learned about and splash it over canvas in whichever way it touches them. They get Brush Hour merch and become ambassadors as well to spread the light and joy of the Mivtza with their other friends and family.

And thus, the Rebbe’s vision of empowering our own to become leaders who inspire others and create leaders out of them as well, comes into being.

To have your school join the ambassador program, or to book an event for your Cteen group, email [email protected] or call 609-766-5822.

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