The Best CTeen Shabbaton Yet!
5 years ago Leighest 0
Rebecca Ross, Manchester, England
Never did I ever think that I would enjoy this shabbaton more than I ever did when I attended two years ago, but guess what? It beat my expectations! The minute CTeen Manchester stepped off of the plane, we immediately broke out in song and dance, letting our CTeen spirit run wild and as strong as ever.
Although we were all shattered (exhausted, for those of you who don’t know British slang), we went straight to our host’s house for sushi! Everyone was so nice and inviting. This was just a little taste of what was going to happen in the next coming days.
At 10:30 on Thursday morning, we were on our way to Times Square to do some shopping! Obviously me being the Jewish teen I am, I scrambled into Sephora like there was no tomorrow. Let’s just say the money was well spent! We then did some sightseeing around New York, which was great fun! The experience on the New York subways was incredible; all the teens were laughing and singing all of the CTeen songs and even the public were smiling with us. Personally, this energy gave me the motivation on the trip.
The cruise that evening was one of the best parts of the trip, in my opinion. I met people that I can now call some of my best friends. It’s amazing how when one fellow Jew meets another, you create such an immense bond that can never be broken. You feel like you have known them for years!
Soon enough, the jetlag really hit me! After a cosy sleep and saying goodbye to my host family for the day, we went to the really big event… breakfast on Friday morning! This was where I finally got to reunite with my best friends who I met two years ago on this same Shabbaton! We have kept in contact ever since. When the time finally came, I heard a voice coming from behind me saying, “Bex, it’s me!” I turned around and saw my best friends running up to me. It was the best moment of my life, finally reuniting with the most amazing people on the most incredible trip. After that, the trip just got better and better. We got to go to the top of the Empire State Building and see a 360 degree view of New York! I got to have lunch at the most yummy pizza shop! Kosher pizza is so good!
On Shabbat, we got to attend talks with three rebbetzins who were open for us to ask any questions we wanted. It was extremely inspirational to have my questions answered by such lovely women. My friends and I then attended a talk by a man named Berel Solomon. He shared his story about how he found his love of Judaism through his rough years as a teenager. It was extremely moving to see how such an amazing man can finally feel his faith in a religion by doing just one thing. Berel also shared his thoughts on teenage girls dating and why we should wait to start dating. I still remember exactly what he said. I run those words through my mind every time I wake up in the morning. These words aspire me to do more every day for my religion and make me feel motivated. These talks really brought me and my friends closer than ever before. Feeling that connection through Judaism really made me think. We also had a speaker called Dina Hurwitz. She shared the story of her husband who suffered from a muscular illness. She told us that even though he cannot talk, he is just like everyone else. He still can do the exact same things as he used to do. She said that their connection is as strong as ever, and he even writes a sweet message every morning for her to wake up to, although it takes quite some time to write it. Dina really inspired me with her touching experience.
It was then time for the main event… Havdallah and a massive party in Times Square!! My friends and I were continuously dancing and singing along to the music and having a blast!! Seeing everyone come together as one massive Jewish family made me feel as proud as ever to be a Jew.
The highlight of my trip was the last day. The farewell banquet was really moving, as I had to leave my best friends. Having them on the trip made me feel on top of the world. CTeen really created such an amazing bond between us all that it is most certainly unbreakable. The last thing I remember is crying as we left.
The thought of leaving the shabbaton for a year really got to me. Our last stop before the airport was the Ohel. Personally, I really felt this part as being the most educational and enlightening of the whole trip. When I had written my letter for the Rebbe, I carefully read it over and over again. As I tore it up, I knew I could put my full faith into the Rebbe. When visiting the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, I felt deeply moved by how inspirational these two wonderful people were and still are. Stepping back onto the plane to Manchester was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Having to leave this incredible shabbaton really got to me. Although leaving all the memories behind is very disappointing, it’s okay because I know that this time next year, we shall relive them all over again, making life ten times better than it already is.
Thank you so much to CTeen and CTeen of Manchester for making such an incredible trip like this possible! You have given me such wonderful memories. Thank you for this breath-taking experience! And to everyone reading this: please G-d, next year in Jerusalem!