9 years ago Leighest 0

By Gabrielle Sharbin

3 days is a long time. 72 hours. 4,320 minutes, 259,200 seconds. The expression, time flies when you’re having fun, is an enormous understatement. Those 3 days, filled with spirit, and friendship, zipped by in a blink of an eye. But at the 6th annual Cteen International Shabbaton 3 days wasn’t nearly long enough.

Someway, somehow Leah Rifkin, Rabbi Shimon Rifkin and everyone else involved in making the shabbaton such a resounding successes managed to pack in as much fun, social gatherings, sightseeing, ritual and knowledge as they possibly could into 72 hours.

Over 1,000 Jewish teens from around the world came together for an entire weekend with their immense pride for Judaism on display. A weekend we will never forget.

Ever since Sunday my Facebook inbox has been flooded with posts raving about what a stupendous time everyone had experienced, I’ve been tagged in photo upon photo with old and new friends. I’ve received several messages from teens from halfway across the globe and ones who live down the street checking in to make sure I got home safe, going on about how much fun we had, making sure we stay in touch, and of course counting down the days until next year’s shabbaton.

I’m going to be completely honest with you. Febuary 28- March 2 was one of the best weekends of my entire life, and that’s not an exaggeration. What sets the Cteen shabbaton apart is not what happens at the event, but after the fact.

When we all return back to our hometowns and jump back into the busy dance called high school, where we are inundated with homework and responsibilities we still think back to this amazing weekend.

That’s what makes this shabbaton so unbelievably fantastic, the fact that I and others who went cannot stop thinking about it. The fact that I’ve been so inspired to become a better person and jew, and spread the joy of Cteen to everyone! That’s why the Cteen Shabbaton is so special.

Here is a list of 13 reasons why the shabbaton is an event not to be missed.

1. The shabbaton takes place in the best city in the entire world; NYC.

2. And, you get to explore this amazing however you please. Cteen provided every chapter with several sightseeing options so you could choose what you wanted to do and how you would do it.

3. The people! I can’t begin to explain how many amazing teens I met on this shabbaton, kids I never would have met otherwise.

4. The food! At the shabbaton someone said to me and a few hundred other girls from around the world (no biggie right just a few hundred) that in Crown Heights you never stop eating, and boy oh boy were they right! But it’s okay because you don’t gain weight on Shabbos, right?

5. We did not stop singing and dancing! Don’t let that scare you though if song and dance isn’t your forte you can simply opt out. There are plenty other things to do!

6. The lectures were extremely eye opening! We were pumped with so much knowledge and had a great time in the process!

7. Getting to know Alex Clare! How incredible that Cteen got a world famous musician to sing and talk to over 1,000 teenagers.  

8. Times square! 1,000+ jewish teens singing, dancing, and celebrating the havdalah in times square along with Alex Clare and several screens projecting the live happenings so people all over the square could see what Cteen was up to.

9. Visiting the Rebbe’s ohel! Writing a letter and praying by our Rebbe’s grave was such a spiritual and touching experience!

10. Challah bagels! What!? Is there even such a thing? Of course! Anything is possible in Crown Heights! Oh and yes it tastes just as amazing as it sounds.

11. The spirit! Every single person at the shabbaton was genuinely ecstatic to be there, and was proud to be jewish! It’s just one of those things you have to experience!

12. Being inspired to become a better person and jew. Nobody’s perfect but the shabbaton motivates everyone to step it up another notch and take it to the next level.

13. Coming home and inspiring others! See you there in 2015!!