A festive ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new state-of-the-art CTeen Lounge at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Monroe brought a crowd of teens, parents and supporters to celebrate.
A festive ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new state-of-the-art CTeen Lounge at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Monroe brought a crowd of teens, parents and supporters from across Orange County to celebrate. The CTeen Club welcomes Jewish teens from across the county.
The brightly designed CTeen Lounge features a ping pong table, speed bag arena, pool table, cozy couch seating area, bean bags, snack bar, basketball hoop, hanging chairs, game tables, teen library section and dart board. Engaging Judaic themed wall art and inspirational quotes deck the walls. The combination of engaging activities, along with a floating Tefillin shelf and charity box, Sabbath candle lighting kit station embodies CTeen’s signature fusion of Judaism and joy.
“The new CTeen lounge will be a welcoming, safe and exciting space for teens to hang out in a Jewishly-immersed atmosphere,” said Chana Burston, who, together with her husband Rabbi Pesach Burston, directs Chabad of Orange County and leads the CTeen programs. “It will be a place for new friendships to form and for the teens to engage in community service projects, creative events and meaningful discussions as they celebrate their Jewish heritage.”
The evening was led by the CTeen leaders, Ariel Koyfman of Chester, Lola Sale of Highland Mills, and Ava Maier, Amir Mosker and Haley Olstein of Monroe. Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston thanked the leaders for their dedication and presented them with personalized CTeen leader sweatshirts.
Masters of Ceremony Ariel and Lola welcomed the large crowd.
“We are thrilled to see that so many of you came out tonight to show your support and enthusiasm for the new CTeen Lounge!” said Ariel Koyfman. “I’m super proud of how much our chapter has grown and I can’t wait to do events in our new awesome lounge!” adds Lola Sale.
“Now we have a place where we can be comfortable to be ourselves while celebrating Jewish traditions in a cool and beautiful space of our own,” said Haley Olstein.
A community prayer was led by teen Evan Leeds of Chester. Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston shared their joy and dreams for the new lounge. “We know this new space will become a second home to our teens” says Rabbi Pesach. “In many Synagogues, Jewish education ends with a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in the beginning of the teen years. At Chabad, we highlight the teen years as essential for Jewish education and community.”
Rabbi Shimon Rivkin, who together with his wife Leah directs CTeen International, addressed the crowd with wishes and blessings for the new lounge. The CTeen Orange (Chabad of Orange County, NY) is one of six lounges in cities around the world that were sponsored by CTeen International. “The main focus needs to be on our youth – this was the Rebbe’s vision and this dream is being realized tonight.”
The CTeen grant was made possible by the efforts of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkoz L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. The CTeen lounge is dedicated by community member Mitch Wenzel in honor of his late wife Gladys Wenzel and son Gregg Wenzel.
CTeen leader Alumni Haley Resty of Monroe spoke about her years in CTeen. “The years I spent in CTeen Orange and the CTeen summer program, as well as the CTeen summer Israel journey, engraved my Jewish heritage into my life and soul forever, and I lead a more Jewishly fulfilled life because of it.”
Teens from across the County held the ceremonial scissors and cut the CTeen ribbon. CTeen leader Ariel Koyfman recited the blessing as the Mezuzah for the lounge was proudly affixed.
Teens from Middletown, Goshen, Warwick, Washingtonville, Chester and Monroe participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The CTeen Orange chapter is one of 690 chapters around the globe.
All enjoyed a hot buffet dinner, a deluxe salad bar and a CTeen dessert table. Teens helped create décor for the lounge and decorated CTeen keychains as a souvenir. Teens and parents enjoyed exploring the new lounge and all its amenities.