Israeli Government Partners With CTeen for More Affordable Trips

CTeen Summer announced a brand-new partnership with Mosaic United, to jointly fund participants in their annual summer trip outside of North America dollar-for-dollar and another organization also stepped up.

A lifetime trip that was once inaccessible has now become … drastically affordable! 

Until now, CTeen Summer programs were a dream for the majority of internationally-based shluchim. “I’ve been trying to send teens to Israel for years,” says Rabbi Shlomo Poliwoda in Panama, “but there are other programs here, less culturally Jewish, but also less expensive. It was a competition that was hard to match.”

But last month, CTeen Summer announced a brand-new partnership with Mosaic United, an under-the-radar philanthropy pouring millions of dollars into innovative programs that strengthen Jewish identity and connection to Israel. 

Rabbi Poliwoda is excited: “This is a real game changer. I’m really motivated to recruit teens to go. I’ve already sent one teen in the past without the scholarship—thank G-d we were able to do it with some help—but with this, I think we could actually build a group. It’s something to work on to bring to the community.”

“CTeeners all over the globe are going to benefit from this new partnership,” says CTeen Summer director Rabbi Nachman Rivkin, “Shluchim outside of North America have been reaching out to us for years, requesting a subsidy for their local teenagers. Families in their communities just couldn’t afford to pay the high cost of a 22-day Israel summer program. This is a tremendous win for so many families.”

In this latest partnership, Mosaic United will match CTeen to jointly fund participants outside of North America dollar-for-dollar. And this is where the Meromim Foundation stepped in, yet again. Meromim, a long-time supporter of CTeen, will sponsor $1,500 per teen, creating a voucher of $3,000 with the match from Mosaic. Mosaic will also match any additional funds up to $6,000—provided to teens via their local CTeen or Chabad house branches.

“Basically, teens – anywhere in the world – who weren’t able to join previously due to financial constraints can now potentially tap into enough scholarship funds to get their trips entirely covered,” says Mendy Lepkivker, CTeen Summer program coordinator. Meanwhile, teenagers within the United States and Canada have already been provided with the opportunity to receive a $3,000 RootOne voucher since 2021.

In addition to the financial support, recipients will partake in high-quality pre and post-trip engagement as well as opportunities while on the trip to engage with peers from CTeen chapters in Israel.  

In the ten years since CTeen launched its inaugural summer program in 2013, more than one thousand Jewish public school students have been inspired to grow and live as proud Jews as a result. 

“We all know the impact of CTeen’s trips,” shares Rabbi Chida Levitansky, director of a CTeen chapter in Sydney, Australia, “to the extent that, after years of trying to get teens to join a summer trip, I finally took the leap and spent $20,000 AUD of our CTeen money. Five of our teens visited Poland and Israel last year on the Heritage Quest. It was incredible. They came back on a high. But, financially, to send them year after year was unsustainable.”

“I was over the moon when I heard about the $3,000 voucher becoming available worldwide,” he adds, “that we’d have the ability to send teens at a more affordable price is something I didn’t even consider.”

In an interesting state of affairs, it is actually the Israeli government—specifically, the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs—that is behind Mosaic’s funding of this year’s CTeen summer trips. From CEO Meir Holz: The partnership between the Israeli government and the Jewish people worldwide unites and connects Jews with their Jewish identities and Israel.

“Teenagers are a passionate group and looking to shape their worldviews. Our goal is for the CTeen Summer trips to connect them to their heritage—so much so that they return to their communities at home as leaders and advocates for their Jewish identity and values,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, CTeen Summer’s umbrella organization.

Rabbi Shalom Pelman in Guatemala shares, “It’s incredible that the Meromim Fund and Mosaic extended themselves to help shluchim and teens in this way. This is obviously an amazing opportunity. I’m certain that if we all take advantage, the results will be tremendous. A good summer camp can change a lifetime.”

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