Meet a Crown Heights Host for the Shabbaton
8 months ago The Connections Staff 0
Alfie Joseph// Manchester, UK
When 2,300 plus teens rock up to Crown Heights in New York for the CTeen INTL Shabbaton, they all need somewhere to stay. Thankfully, Crown Heights is said to be the hosting capital of the world. Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, a host for nine teens at this year’s Shabbaton, takes it as an honor to be able to invite people into his house for this exciting weekend.
In an interview with CTeen Connections, Rabbi Mendy mentioned one of the three core attributes to Abraham as his motive for hosting others. As we read at the start of the Torah, just days after Abraham’s circumcision, he sees people in the desert and interprets his conversation with G-d to invite them into his tent—to clean them off and bring them some food. Rabbi Mendy sees it just like this; that inviting people into his home is one of the most important things he can do.
Rabbi Mendy and his family don’t only host for CTeen. Just a mere two weeks before the Shabbaton, his family hosted a group of students from university for Pegisha, which is affiliated with Chabad on Campus. And, just two weeks after the Shabbaton, he hosted some children for CKids, an organization similar to CTeen but for younger children.
When asked if he learns anything or takes away lessons from the people he hosts, Rabbi Mendy was proud to say that over the years he has learned many things from all his guests. For instance, with a university student, he once had a lengthy conversation about blockchain technology and the future it holds, a topic he didn’t know much about but was there with his eyes and ears openly learning.
More importantly, however, he feels that his larger takeaway is the fact that he is able to share his life stories with others and hear different life stories back.
“The greatest thing about being able to host and share is a sense of purpose and being able to teach people and share with people your life,” Rabbi Mendy says.
Maybe one day you’ll be welcoming guests in the hosting capital of the world too!