Jubilant faces are a rare sight after a devastating loss by the home team, yet it was all smiles for the thousands of Jews who participated in CTeen’s Jewish Heritage Night last night at the Brooklyn Nets Game held at the new Barclays Center.
19,000 spectators didn’t ride the train home talking about three pointers and game passes. Instead, the spotlight of the sold out game was on the celebration of Chanukah and Jewish pride, emphasized by the loudest standing ovations of the night awarded to Benny Friedman for his stellar national anthem rendition, as well as to the Maccabeats for their halftime Chanukah performance.
Visible from every corner of the stadium and captured on the giant screens during every foul shot, was the first ever basketball menorah, lit by Elias Rosenr, a CTeen member from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The menorah’s light not only lit up the stadium itself, but was visible to the millions of fans that watched the game via the YES Network. The menorah lighting ceremony was replayed during halftime, as well.
Signaling the beginning of the game, Chanukah messages were delivered by local shliach Rabbi Shimon Hecht and CTeen leaderMaddie Rosen from Teaneck, New Jersey.
“Teens love sports. We want our teens to understand that being a sports fan, celebrating Chanukah and being proud of your Jewish heritage can all go hand in hand,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, director of CTeen’s executive committee.
For most of the teens from the 34 CTeen chapters participating in the event, Torah and mitzvos are rituals they reserve mainly for the synagogue and home. “Tonight, it was all about stepping into the hub of their day to day life wearing their Yiddishkeit,” explains CTeen’s director Rabbi Shimon Rivkin. “When a teen stands in the high five line, proudly wearing his yarmulke while greeting NBA players, it gives him the pride to wear his Judaism no matter where he is.”
Riding back to Hewlett, Long Island in a menorah decked limo, 14 year old Adam Jafferemarked, “The night showed that we are one, as a whole; we all support each other.” For Adam, the highlight of his night was shooting a basket on the court with fellow Jewish teens. “It was a great day, not just for me, but for every person there in general.”
CTeen, the Chabad Teen Network, is grateful to the event’s sponsors: The Jewish Press, Basil Pizza and Wine Bar, Great Kosher Restaurants, The Jewish Week, Osem, Jdeal, Kosher Kouponz, Farkash Financial and Zev Brenner of TCN. Above all, they are thankful to the Nets for hosting the event and look forward to a lasting relationship with them for many future Chanukahs to come.
About CTEEN Network
The CTeen Global Jewish Network is inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose belief in the power of youth transformed the teen years into a time of purpose and self-discovery. CTeen harnesses the incredible potential of teenagers with awesome Jewish youth community services and programs that bring Jewish teens in America together to give back to their communities. The mission of CTEEN is to provide Jewish education and a nurturing environment where teens can learn about themselves through giving to others, identify with individuals who share the same faith, and be part of a group that focuses on building core values and stresses positive character development.
The CTeen Network is inspired by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose belief in the power of youth transformed the teen years into a time of purpose and self-discovery. CTeen harnesses the incredible potential of teenagers with awesome programs that bring teens together to give back to their communities and the environment.