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Friday, July 19, 2019

(Credit: Chaya Laine)

“CTeen has allowed me to connect with my Jewish heritage and meet new friends in a fun and welcoming way.” With those words, Pascack Valley High School sophomore Ava Quinn of River Vale, began her speech at the Valley Chabad Teen Gala at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton.

The yearly event recognized the over 140 teen participants from throughout the Pascack Valley and Saddle River communities in the initiative’s programs including Friendship Circle, CTeen, Linking Hearts and Eternal Flame.

Teen speakers representing each of the other four programs eloquently shared how the programs have impacted them personally in a positive way.

Ruth Raiker, whose son Josh participates in Friendship Circle, spoke passionately about the benefits from its programming for her family. Friendship Circle promotes inclusion and acceptance for children with special needs through the many teen volunteers.

Each of the participating teens received a certificate and a gift for their volunteering throughout the year. The event was attended by teens, parents, friends and community members as well as by assembly people Holly Schepisi and Robert Auth. The program is led by Rabbi Yosef and Estie Orenstein and is under the auspicious of Valley Chabad’s Executive Director Rabbi Dov Drizin.

Special recognition was made of the CTeen leadership board, the teens who plan and arrange the regular CTeen events.

Supported by local individual grants and community support, Valley Chabad’s Teen Leadership Initiative strives to promote maturity, pride in community and heritage, respect for others and humanitarianism by engaging teens in meaningful programs presented in a spirited and fun environment. A variety of opportunities are available for teens from middle through high school.

Valley Chabad is based in Woodcliff Lake and welcomes all middle and high school students to participate in Teen Leadership Initiative. More information and 2019- 2020 programming can be found on the Valley Chabad website at www.valleychabad.org or by calling 201-476-0157.