Thank You CTeen!

8 months ago klerner 1

This past summer, I had two incredible and life-changing experiences. It began on July 4th with CTeen Xtreme. Although this was my second koby Cteen xtreme ffabrengentime, it was significantly different than my first Xtreme adventure. The previous year I barely knew how to put tefillin on myself, but this year I was getting men in and out of tefillin in 45 seconds. Last year, our beloved CTeen Xtreme Rabbi, Moshe Rappaport. gave me the greatest souvenir ever – his black hat –  and this year I had the privilege of passing it on to someone who will hopefully be as impacted as I was. Now I can say that I have had two “summers of a lifetime.”

koby picImmediately after I finished CTeen Xtreme, I checked into Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon in LA for a summer study program. Now I would go from being a leader to a complete newbie. I had no idea what I would be getting into, but my good friend,  Rabbi Mendel Dinerman, assured my parents and me that it would perfect. Even with his words of encouragement, and even though I was only two hours from home, I was pretty nervous, but I figured in the worst case it would be five rough weeks. I could deal with that.

But that was hardly the case. I never met such a welcoming and encouraging group of people in my entire life. My classmates guided me kobys tefillinevery step of the way. By the end of the first week I had a second home. Three weeks into the program my class found out I did not have my own pairs of tefillin and in two weeks raised a significant amount of money to buy me very special  tefillin. They even custom designed a beautiful leather tefillin bag with with the CTeen colors and logo. At that moment, my two worlds came together.

As the weeks progressed, I discovered that  I LOVED the learning materials and style,  and the teachers knew how to reach every student individually. To my surprise it perfectly suited my needs, especially since my background was significantly different from all of the participants.  I knew I had to finish high school there, but my parents were not exactly on board. After many hours of discussion with me, some rabbis, and each other they finally agreed.

This Monday, with the help of G-d Almighty, I will be enrolled as a student at Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon. My mother has always taught me that the two greatest gifts she can give me are “roots and wings.” I will always be grateful for my roots in CTeen. Rabbi Zevi and Musy New have opened their hearts and home to me for the past two years.  Because of their generosity I was able to experience Judaism in a whole new light. CTeen has enabled me to grow in ways I never thought possible, and being a CTeen Leader has been a major part of this process. Although I will be away from my S. Diego chapter and starting a new chapter of my life, I will forever cherish the memories and friends I have made throughout my two years in CTeen.

I would like to express my deepest  gratitude towards those I have mentioned in this article, as well as my parents, my brother, and the Rubenfeld family who have been there for me constantly. This part of my journey would not have been possible without them.  Thank you for everything.

CTeen friends – each and everyone of you has incredible power. You have the ability to make a positive impact for generations to come. One good deed could change the world. The choice is yours, but it will forever be the “power of YOUth” that will revolutionize the world. Thank you CTeen for changing my world! Party Jewish!!!