More than 240 teens, parents, and friends met on Zoom on June 10 for the annual Valley Chabad Teen Leadership Initiative to celebrate the 150 teen participants. During the gala, teen speakers talked about the acceptance and sense of purpose they found in the leadership initiative group. The program also featured the story of Rabbi Motti Flickshtein, now a Chabad rabbi in Delaware, and his personal journey from troubled teenager to community rabbi.
During its 14 years of its existence, the group has been a place where Jewish teens of all ages and backgrounds from the Pascack Valley and Saddle River communities can come together with a common goal — to make the world a better place. The programs run the gamut from visiting the elderly, assisting children with special needs in music, yoga, sports, and gymnastics, meeting with Holocaust survivors, creative holiday programs, social events with a mitzvah focus for the needy, and learning about Jewish culture and traditions.
Rabbi Dov Drizin, the executive director of Valley Chabad, lauded the teens for their accomplishments despite immense challenges this year, calling them “lamplighters” who bring the light of Jewish tradition to the community and the world. Rabbi Yosef and Estie Orenstein, co-directors of the TLI, thanked the teens on behalf of the community and held a Jtext raffle for them.
Valley Chabad Teen Leadership Initiative is a non-profit that exists solely because of the generosity of the community. For more information, go to valleychabad.org.