The Many Languages of CTeen

6 years ago hkaplun 0

Hello, Privet, Shalom, Nǐ hǎo, Hola, Bonjour, Olá, Buna, Yeoboseyo

So many languages, one tiny world.

For the first five years of my life, I spoke only Russian. Growing up as a first generation American, it is never out of the ordinary for me to flip flop between English, Russian, and Ranglish (a mix of English and Russian, which my family has perfected over the years). All of my home videos are in Russian and I even went to a Russian pre-school. It was difficult to switch over to learning English, but I was also happy to be fluent in both languages.

At CTeen, the world of languages was opened up for me even more. With over 250 chapters in over 20 countries, CTeeners all over the world speak a multitude of languages. Everything from English, Russian, Hebrew, Spanish, French, and many more! Some people even know American Sign Language.

If you’ve ever been to the CTeen International Shabbaton, you know that communication between some chapters may be a little difficult. Some people only speak French, some only Spanish. However, everyone knows at least one word in Hebrew — “Shalom.” Shalom has many meanings, including hello, goodbye, and peace. The word “shalom” is rooted in the word שלם (shaleim), which means “completion.” It also means wholeness, wellness, and perfection. When we are at peace, we feel a sense of “wholeness.” Think of it this way: when you meet someone, what better way to greet them than to wish them peace? When we wish one another “peace,” we are expressing the hope that they experience physical and spiritual peace.

Another language we all know is the language of CTeen. The language of CTeen is positive, encouraging, and welcoming. We know the power of singing together in Times Square, running through the streets of Crown Heights shouting “When I say ‘C,’ you say ‘Teen,’” swaying during Havdallah, and cheering each other on at the CTeen Choice Awards. CTeeners know that it’s not about the win or loss, but who gets the most out of their Judaism and experiences.