Research shows that the more children are exposed to formal Jewish education, the greater their chances are of identifying as Jews in adulthood. Yet, according to a Brandeis Study, there is an alarming 75 percent drop off from Jewish programming post Bar and Bat Mitzvah.
“Reversing this trend, by keeping youth connected through adolescence and into adulthood, can be a key factor in stemming the tide of assimilation,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos and chairman of the Chabad Teen Network (CTeen), the largest and most diverse Jewish teen organization in the world.
This past weekend, more than 2300 Jewish teens hailing from 30 different countries gathered in Crown Heights, Brooklyn for the annual International CTeen Convention. More than one-quarter of this year’s youth participants came overseas, including 80 teens from Latin America and 200 hundred from France.
The international conference also welcomed forty new CTeen centers that have launched in Munich, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. International groups received individualized programs and workshops in their respective languages.
The network’s mission is to empower tomorrow’s next generation of leaders through Jewish education, and by providing a strong Jewish network across the globe.
Highlights of the weekend included a outdoor Havdalah ceremony in the heart of New York City, and the CTeen Choice Awards, which took place on Sunday at Pier 12. This year’s banquet also featured a theatrical opening with Industrial Rhythm Drummers, a Gad Elbaz performance and a touching tribute to CTeen given by teens directly affected by the network.