What CTeen Means to Me
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A version of this article can be seen in this year’s CTeen Connection magazine.
My name is Quincy, and I live in Manchester, UK.
My first ever CTeen event was the first of several BBQs, which were just a few friends in a garden kicking a ball around. Back then it was just 2 yeshivah bochrim (students) and I didn’t even know what the C in CTeen stood for. Little did I know what a rollercoaster I was embarking on.
After a time, my incredible shluchim arrived, Shalom and Mushky Cohen. At my first event with them I was left thinking how non-English & enthusiastic they were but the adventure that continued was incredible. From TGIS to chill zones, I felt so inspired that when the chance to become a leader arose, I held on and didn’t let go.
Since then I’ve had the opportunity to organise events and by doing so share my enthusiasm with others. I’ve been able to take my leadership skills to a new level by creating games for shabbat meals, setting the scene for game-nights, all the way to going on regional Shabbatons.
When I first came to New York, I had no idea what to expect, but the Shabbaton far surpassed whatever I could have imagined. The idea that I was one of thousands & my chapter was not alone, felt awesome. The idea that there are teenagers like me all around the world at CTeen living the same life, is mind blowing. I came back from the Shabbaton desperate to go back, and sure enough I was the first non-American to go to the Leaders Retreat. From going to the brilliance of NY, I found the Retreat a way to bring the whole organization to a personal level.
Because of CTeen I have friends in far-flung ends of the earth. Because of CTeen I now see how my Judaism can express itself when in a non-Jewish world. Because of CTeen I have a rabbi to whom the only bad question is the one not asked.
To express my true feelings about CTeen, I quote one of my biggest inspirations, Lord Sacks. A few years ago, when people were arguing about how far up the family tree one needs to go to prove being Jewish, mother, grandmother, Rabbi Sacks said the insightful line, ‘the question is not so much whether your grandparents were Jewish, but whether your Grandchildren will be Jewish?’. CTeen has taught me how important Judaism is to me, and how much of a role I can play in continuing Judaism through the chain of generations.
From what began as a simple BBQ with a few friends, CTeen is now an all-encompassing movement that allows all teenagers, from whatever background, to find joy in their Judaism.
As you’re reading this I hope you found my words inspiring enough to want to read more. Please check out my online article on the CTeen Connection website and watch out for more to come!