3 weeks ago Shai Fichtelberg 0
Shai Fichtelberg// CTeen Sonoma County, California
You might remember CTeen Manchester from the International Shabbaton, where you can’t miss them. As Sholom Cohen, CTeen rabbi, puts it, “We rock the house at Shabbaton! You will definitely hear us loud and clear!” CTeen Manchester always shows up with endless amounts of energy and you can be sure this year’s virtual Shabbaton will be no different. Say hello to CTeen Manchester, the home of adorable accents and an even cooler CTeen chapter.
The chapter launched in 2015, but it really started many years before then, when Sholom Cohen was born in Manchester, UK. In just five years CTeen Manchester has grown to be 100 teens strong!
Noah Goodman shares just how special his close knit teen community is. “We are a much larger group than most, but we all get on very well—it’s ridiculous how much we get along.”
Rabbi Sholom and his wife Mushky’s Cohen’s goal for CTeen Manchester has always been “to engage every Jewish teen in Manchester and give them a sense of belonging.” That is exactly what he has been able to do.
Some chapter favorites are Friday night meals, when anywhere from 4 to 40 teens will come, and “football and tefillin,” where the boys get together to play soccer, put on tefillin and have pizza. In true british fashion Noah says, “I quite enjoyed the Shabbat dinners.”
COVID-19 put an end to their in-person events for almost a year now, which has been devastating. But, as we know CTeeners never back down from a challenge. Katie Freedman, one of CTeen Manchesters’ leaders, explains, “ever since we first heard about Covid-19, [CTeen Manchester] began planning events and ways we could keep in contact through the pandemic.” CTeen Manchester has made sure to keep the CTeen spirit alive with Zoom programs and house visits.
Noah says, “Sholom and Mushky are absolutely incredible people; they made CTeen Manchester. They are the nicest people I have ever met and they very much believe that if you can’t come to CTeen, CTeen comes to you.”
As much as the teens appreciate their shluchim; the shluchim appreciate the teens. “Teens have a pure attitude toward life,” Sholom says. “That is beautiful- tap into that and express it to the fullest.” Inspiring teens and filling them with Jewish pride is something Sholom and Mushky have strived to do. They put in so much work into making CTeen Manchester a place where teens can create amazing memories and make amazing friends. This has led many of the teens to claim CTeen Manchester is one of the “best chapters in the world!”