Jewish Parents Celebrated at the CKids International Shabbaton

Amidst the bustling energy of the CKids International Shabbaton, parents from around the world experienced a robust line-up of insightful and entertaining workshops, classes, and programming.

Amidst the bustling energy of the CKids International Shabbaton, parents from around the world experienced a robust line-up of insightful and entertaining workshops, classes, and programming. Held concurrently with the children’s program, the CKids Parents Retreat offered a unique opportunity for parents to strengthen their own Jewish parenting while connecting with others from across the globe who share similar goals and face similar challenges in raising the next generation of proud and active Jews.

Throughout the weekend, parents engaged in a diverse array of activities and discussions aimed at enhancing their parenting know-how and strengthening their connection to Jewish values. From spiritually uplifting visits to the Ohel to recreational pursuits like axe throwing and arcade games, the retreat produced by Malka Aisenbach of MA Productions catered to both inspiration and enjoyment.

“It takes a village to raise a child. Knowing that you aren’t parenting alone is crucial,” shared Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive Director of CKids’ umbrella organization Merkos 302. “This event reminds participants who may not live in large Jewish communities that educators and parents are all in this together, navigating the challenges and joys of parenthood side by side. As part of the international Jewish community, no one is in this alone.”

Friday evening saw Shabbos ushered in with a heart-warming Kumzitz together with the kids’ program, setting the tone for a spiritually uplifting Shabbos. Shutting off phones and devices, this led to a soulful Kabbalat Shabbos, a delicious catered meal, and empowering farbrengens lasting deep into the night, for men and women separately, focusing on cultivating a Jewish atmosphere in the home.

A packed Shabbos day schedule featured an interactive prayer session for women, a “taste of Yeshiva” chavrusa session for men, and a host of Torah Talks and roundtable discussions throughout the long afternoon. Among them; a “180-degree approach on anti-Semitism” and charting a path to change based on The Rebbe’s writings was presented by Rabbi Shmuel Avtzon, and Mrs Sara Bluming’s story of parenting an IDF soldier in times of crisis, proved to be popular sessions, both reflecting the challenges of Jewish parenting in these times.

Laughter filled the air at the sumptuous Melavah Malka, as comedian Mikey Greenblatt entertained the crowd. A Mitzvah Auction to benefit the IDF soldiers allowed participants to commit to certain mitzvos in advance, ensuring the inspiration of the weekend will have an impact on their return home too. Prizes included a set of Tefillin, Mezuzahs, jewelry, and more.

On Sunday, the JewQ Championships saw parents celebrate their children’s accomplishments with much-deserved attention on stage, bringing the community of young learners together. But not before a final address from renowned speaker Rabbi Manis Friedman on finding happiness in the journey of raising children, which left attendees inspired and equipped with valuable insights to apply in their own families.

The impact was felt immediately, as grateful parents shared many positive messages with their Shluchim. “Amazing weekend! We are looking forward to Shabbaton 5785/2025! I don’t know how you can top this year, but I have faith it’s going to happen!,” said one parent.

“Seeing parents leave with their head held high, ready to bring more Jewish values into the home, makes all the hard work worth it,” said Rabbi Zalmy Lowenthal, director of CKids International at Merkos 302. “Newly equipped with valuable messages and insights, no doubt the inspiration will be carried into their parenting and lives in general.”

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