8 months ago Shai Fichtelberg 0
Shai Fichtelberg// CTeen Sonoma County, California
After our Uplyfting stop in Crown Heights, NY, we return to the UK for “Travel Thursday.” Say hello to CTeen Leeds! Bunie and Mendy Chazan both head the chapter as the beloved rabbi and rebbetzin. In February of 2017, they moved together to Leeds, UK from Crown Heights, New York.
Giving to others has been in the couple’s blood for generations. It all started with Bunie’s great grandparents who, by request of the previous Lubavitch Rebbe, moved around several locations to reach out to Jews. Their journey took them to countries including Finland and the U.S., and now Bunie has continued this legacy by coming to Leeds, UK.
Their goal in Leeds is to “create connections and inspire the next generation, creating a community of teens that will inspire and be there for each other.” Many of their events take place in the CTeen Loft, an extension of their home, which includes “the Care Awards project, the Kiddush club, weekly ‘Pizza and Parsha,’ monthly Friday night dinners, and Jewish festivals.”
In fact, COVID hasn’t stopped the chapter from creating a community of inspiring teens, who often initiate projects by themselves. Evie Sacks is one of Leed’s leaders who has leaped over these unfortunate barriers, in times like “hearing the megillah whilst staying in cars to ensure COVID safety and packaging up Chanukah boxes to send out to all our teens.”
Bunie shares that “in this new normal, we have to change the way we connect, but our goals are still the same. We can’t host anyone in our new home, but when they get a package at their doorstep or a text, they know we care.”
This mentality is what encourages teens like Evie who says, “I’ve learned that Judaism isn’t just a religion, it’s more of a guide to life. And that being Jewish is more than following rules, it’s about community and kindness.”
Bunie and Evie’s view about how important kindness is to Judaism is foundational to Uplyfting others. Whether you’re in Leeds or Panama or Hungary or Crown Heights, Uplyfting each other is what connects us all around the globe.