Wednesday, November 26, 2014
As the Nets gear up for the third season in their new home in Brooklyn, CTeen, Chabad's global teen network, is planning its 2nd Annual Jewish Heritage Night which will take place in the Nets' arena, Barclays Center, on the fifth night of Chanukah.
Event organizers are expecting Jewish attendance upwards of 6,000, Brooklyn being a borough that is home to hundreds of thousands of Jews and taking into account the incredible success of last year's event debut.
Highlights of the program include a menorah lighting of the world's only basketball Menorah, a half-time "Rabbis vs. Teens" basketball game, and a national anthem performance by Hasidic Cantor Yanky Lemmer. Teens from CTeen's 36 Tri-state chapters will be awarded privileges including ball delivery, pre-game national anthem buddies, and participation in the half-time game.
16-year-old New Jersey resident Sam Hollander sees the tremendous unity inherent in the event. "It's always nice to hear that I am a part of the Jewish nation, but it is infinitely better to feel it. I bet the game will be great, but the meaning of the event will be even greater, as I sit surrounded by my Jewish family, taking in the fact that I am part of a whole."
Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, CTeen's umbrella organization, explains why CTeen is so enthusiastic about the Jewish Heritage Night. "By lighting a menorah in the Barclays Center, the timeless message and light of Chanukah will reach tens of thousands of individuals who might otherwise have remained in the dark."
And it's not just about where to light the Menorah, but also a matter of timing. "This year, the Menorah lighting is scheduled to take place between the first and second quarters of the game, when crowd attendance is at its maximum," explains CTeen's director Rabbi Shimon Rivkin. "This takes the publicity of Chanukah to new heights and ensures we make the biggest impact possible."
"It really doesn't matter what the final score is," says 15-year-old Mike Goldberg, from Marlboro, NJ. "The ultimate score is bringing Jewish teens together to have a good time, connect with their heritage, and celebrate this awesome Jewish holiday. This is what CTeen is all about."
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