Inspiration in DC

4 years ago Leighest 0

Alex Andelsman

//CTeen West Suffolk County, NY//

This past weekend, I attended the CTeen trip to Washington D.C. This weekend inspired me in many ways; at the same time, I had an enormous amount of fun with my friends and new friends whom I have just met.

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The first day on the trip was a long, yet very awesome day. Waking up at 4am after going to sleep at 12am was extremely difficult but it was well worth it. We arrived at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. at about 10:30am. The Holocaust museum taught me things that I have never known before, and taught me new lessons. The first thing I saw when I walked into the Holocaust museum was pictures dead bodies of people that have been killed by the Nazis. This immediately threw a shock down my entire body. I wanted to cry. Previously, I had learned a little bit about the Holocaust but I never really felt the true impact until now. The trip to the Holocaust museum made me feel proud to be a Jew. It showed me that with us at the helm of the next generation, something like this will NEVER happen again. It also made me want to start being open about my Judaism and letting the world know “Hey, I am a jew and I’m proud.” The victims of the Holocaust, as well as in other situations throughout history, had to hide their Judaism. So, I want to take full advantage of being an open, proud Jew.

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We spent Shabbat in D.C. The Shabbat service that was led Saturday morning was fantastic.It was a service full of song and prayer. Even though I did not know most of the Hebrew, I read along in English part. After all, Hashem does understand all languages. After the service, we had lunch, walked around town and sat down with the entire group playing “stump the Rabbi”. The thing I loved most about this weekend was that I can connect to every teen and they understand Judaism. I made a joke saying “When the wind blows the kippah off your head #jewproblems”. I would never be able to joke around and talk about being a Jew with my friends at school. CTeen is a way for me to be able to connect with other Jews and be able to do mitzvot like wearing a kippah or doing tefillin in public without being made fun of because “it’s not cool” or “it’s not in style”. To me, Judaism is always in style. Doing mitzvot is always in style.

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I came up with a saying about Shabbat that I shared with Rabbi Dovid, and that I would like to share with all of you: Shabbat is “Disconnecting to connect.” What that means is when Shabbat comes along, we disconnect our phones and our electronics to connect with our family and friends for one day of the week. I enjoy it very much and it is getting easier and easier for me to keep Shabbat and someday, I would like to be fully Shomer Shabbat.

Overall, this weekend jump-started my Judaism. After the int’l Shabbaton, I put tefillin on everyday. Now, I will step it up a notch. I will put on tefillin, keep Shabbat once a month, and do my best to keep basic parts of Kosher. With pesach coming up, I will be keeping kosher for Pesach as I have for the past 2 years.

A final note tomy fellow CTeeners: do a mitzvah. Men, put on tefillin even if it’s once a week. Women, light shabbat candles even if it’s once a month. Every mitzvah counts.