More than 200 teenagers from 20 cities and six countries gathered to spend a few meaningful, uplifting and very active days together as part of “Shabbat Across Europe,” the fourth annual European Shabbaton sponsored by CTeen, the Chabad Teen Network.
Traveling from cities as far as 16 hours away, teens from Austria, Slovakia, Romania, Monaco, France and Switzerland flocked to Geneva for an uplifting weekend of inspiration and friendship, showing how Jewish pride and unity transcend all barriers. It also exemplifies how even in the backdrop of growing anti-Semitism in Europe, young Jews are building a future there.
“This Shabbaton accomplished more than a whole year’s worth of programming,” said Rabbi Mendy Mottal,Chabad-Lubavitch emissary for CTeen in Paris. “Many of the teens were so inspired; they took on resolutions to keep Shabbat for another week.”
The worldwide growth of CTeen programs has been fostered by the partnership of Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch – the educational arm of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement – and the Meromim Foundation, spearheaded by Rabbi Bentzi Lipskier. To date, the Meromim Foundation has sponsored more than 40 CTeen couples under the “New ShluchimInitiative.”
“Shabbat Across Europe” represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of summer opportunities. On tap are a CTeen Kinus and Leadership Retreat (June 23-26), separate traveling camps for boys and girls in the American Southwest, two trips to Poland and Israel, regional expeditions, and summer camps debuting this July in Brazil and Germany.