22 CTeen chapters from across the Tri-State area gathered together for an uplifting Shabatton.
In a time when many Jewish teenagers are being bombarded by hateful rhetoric in school and online, the annual Tri-State CTeen Summit emerged as an oasis of peace and connection with fellow Jewish teens. This year, over 200 teens gathered for a weekend of unity, inspiration, and a proud display of Jewish identity, undeterred by the challenges they face in their daily lives.
The Summit saw participants from over 22 CTeen Chapters across the tri-state area gather for a weekend filled with meaningful activities, leadership workshops, and immersive Jewish experiences, culminating in a spirited Havdallah ceremony at the American Dream Mall, a genuine display of Jewish pride.
Amidst the powerful weekend, the highlight was undoubtedly the ‘Teen Talks’ session, where teenagers like Breanna Alterescu from West Suffolk, NY, and Rebecca Forti from New Haven, CT, shared their inspiring journeys with their fellow teens. Breanna’s story of transformation from a reluctant participant to a passionate leader within CTeen was inspiring. Rebecca shared her harrowing experience of living in Israel during times of conflict, painting a picture of resilience and love for the Jewish homeland.
Another profound moment came from Ethan Ostrovsky of Brighton Beach, NY. His speech delved into the complexities of being a Jewish teen in a world where Israel is battling for its survival. He spoke eloquently about the fear and challenges young Jews face globally and the need to respond with solidarity and pride in one’s identity.
“Today, more than ever, we see the Rebbe’s belief in the power of the youth come to life,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Chairman of CTeen International and Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. “All around the world, Jewish teens are stepping up as beacons of light in the immense darkness. We hope gatherings like these allow them to connect with their heritage, be inspired, and express their Jewish identity in a supportive environment. Empowering them to do the same wherever they may be.”
The Summit was an important celebration of Jewish life and identity. It provided a platform for young voices to be heard, for stories of struggle and triumph to be shared, and for the Jewish teen community to stand together, proud and strong. As the teens departed, it wasn’t a goodbye but a promise to meet again, carrying with them the lessons, memories, and friendships forged over an unforgettable weekend.
Click here to see a recap video.
Participating CTeen Chapters
Brooklyn, NY Neshama CTeen
Brooklyn, NY – F.R.E.E.
Cherry Hill, NJ
Eastern Queens, NY
Fair Lawn, NJ
Five Towns, NY
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Long Beach, NY
New Haven, CT
New York, NY – Upper West Side
Orange County, NY
Stony Brook, NY
Ulster County, NY
West Suffolk County, NY
Woodcliff Lake, NJ