My CTeen Experience

4 years ago Leighest 0

Miki Dubery, Irvine, CA

On February 22, my two best friends and I took off from LAX to JFK, where our Shabbat weekend getaway would begin. The amount of excitement running through all of our homes was unspeakable. Yes, they were both as excited as I was, but my excitement was different. I look at the city sky line and I get the chills. The way every street has a new crevice to explore makes me contemplate so much. This city is where I belong and I always have, so with this information you can imagine how much this weekend meant for me.

The first two days were pure joy and bliss while we explored the streets of Manhattan, veering off different pathways in SoHo, Battery Park, Times Square, and Rockefeller Plaza. After our exploration of Lady Liberty, we decided to take an Uber back to Crown Heights. This drive consisted of loud music and amazing Brooklyn scenery.

Once we were back at home base, we were starving for something to eat before Shabbat dinner. As we started to walk through the town, we realized so many stores were shut down and the few that were open were packed with Jews trying to buy everything they could before Shabbat started. The whole city had a different mood than before. People changed out of their everyday clothes, and soon, elegant outfits started to appear. All of a sudden, clusters of black hats appeared and people were singing in the streets. Shabbat had started.

The feeling of not even having to question if those around you are Jewish is unexplainable. Every person who passed by said “Good Shabbos!” and with that, it felt as if I was at home. The next day was very laid back and in this time of leisure I got to put a lot into perspective and really grasp everything going on around me. Over 2,000 teens from countries as random and far as Singapore and South Africa were in this one town in New York, all together to celebrate being Jewish and sharing traditions with one another.

You can’t imagine how many people are truly there until Times Square Saturday night: 2,000 Jewish teens dancing and singing our hearts out to a few songs that somehow, we all know. Regardless of the different places we were from and the many different languages that were spoken there, we all recited “חי ישראל עם”as one. One flame, just like the Havdalah candle we lit, as one.

Just as I came into the city with this profound appreciation for the culture and the vibes that circulated throughout, I left the city with an even greater appreciation for New York because it is where I can go and know that there are people like me who value the same things as me, a Jewish livelihood. CTeen has changed my life forever and I couldn’t be more grateful for not only NYC, but Crown Heights, for giving every Jew another home, besides Israel.

There is no feeling like the feeling of belonging, and here, I felt that I belonged.