Hundreds of community members joined a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new CTeen Lounge that will provide a fun and inviting space for Jewish teens in Bellevue, Wa. The lounge is one of the thirty-six committed to as part of last year’s Kinus Hachlatos.
Bellevue, WA – With much excitement, CTeen Bellevue held the grand opening of their new CTeen Lounge. One hundred fifty members of the community came out to celebrate this momentous occasion which included a ribbon cutting and addresses from current leaders and alumni.
CTeen Bellevue provides opportunities for hundreds of Jewish teenagers throughout the area to connect with their heritage and traditions in a meaningful way. In addition to being a hub for young adults in the area, the space will hold all of CTeen’s educational, social, and community volunteer activities. Some of the activities include packing holiday care packages for seniors, dinner making for people experiencing homelessness, classes on Judaism and Israel, and partnering with the local food bank. The space will also be used for the CTeen Camp, which hosts hundreds of teens every summer.
“Having a dedicated home inside the Torah Center for CTeen is a dream come true for the Bellevue community,” said Rabbi Mordechai Farkash, Rabbi of East Side Torah Center/Chabad of Bellevue. “It gives the teens a greater sense of belonging to the Jewish community and provides them with a space to learn, grow, and experience the joy and celebration of Judaism. The enthusiastic feedback from parents has been overwhelmingly exciting, and the community is truly grateful for this new space dedicated to the teens.”
Mrs. Chaya Elishevitz, CTeen Bellevue’s co-director, shared, “From our humble beginning 15 years ago, we always dreamed of creating this type of space for our teens. We have been working on a concept like this for many years, and seeing it come to fruition is remarkable. We are thrilled to have a space that allows our teens to connect with their Jewish roots and come together to learn and grow.”
The CTeen Lounge in Bellevue is one of thirty-six new Jewish teen spaces that are opening around the world as part of the monumental initiatives committed to at last year’s Kinus Hashluchim banquet.
CTeen alum Moses Merakov, an attorney for Admon Law Firm, addressed the crowd and marveled about the growth of CTeen Bellevue. “In 2009, when I was 12/13, we had a handful of Jewish kids coming every now and then to what was then just called Jewish Teen Club. Now, the CTeen summer camp alone brings in close to 100 kids. We are not just surviving here in Bellevue, we are thriving!” said Merakov,
“Having this new space will continue to allow CTeen to grow and make a difference in our community and we are so grateful to CTeen International for making this happen.”
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Chairman of CTeen International and Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, notes the impact of having a permanent space for teens within the community. “The opening of the CTeen Lounge in Bellevue is a wonderful milestone for CTeen and the Bellevue community. The teen center will serve as a beacon of light and positivity, bringing together young people and empowering them to make a difference in the world,” said Rabbi Kotlarsky.
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