Israel might be the size of New Jersey, but it hogs a disproportionate amount of media attention. As a teen scrolling through Instagram, it’s hard to ignore some of the anti-Israel sentiments. Is Israel an apartheid state? Are they oppressing innocent Palestinians? Do they overreact to terrorist attacks with baseless violence?

With all the noise out there, teens need facts to fight the misinformation. “We want our Jewish teens to advocate confidently for our Jewish homeland,” says Rabbi Levi Fogelman, director of the Chabad Center in Natick. “But that doesn’t start with current events; it starts by going back thousands of years.”

Teens of Natick’s CTeen chapter will gather weekly for 14 lessons covering everything from the ethics of the Israel Defense Forces to the origins of Jewish claims to the land. At the end of the course, each participating teen receives two college credits.

“I found myself always looking forward to my CTeen U classes,” said a teen from Natick who has taken the past CTeen U classes. “It’s that rare time when I can sit down and discuss things that really matter to us as Jewish teens.”

Titled “Israel and Me,” the new course launching in the fall semester is the product of CTeen U, a collaboration between Yeshiva University and the Chabad teen network CTeen International.

CTeen is the world’s fastest-growing network of Jewish teens, with over 630 chapters in 37 countries on six continents.

The new collaboration is with Yeshiva University (YU), the world’s premier Jewish institution for higher education, home to a network of undergraduate and graduate programs. The YU undergraduate programs offer a unique dual curriculum comprising Jewish studies and liberal arts, sciences and business courses.

“Yeshiva University and CTeen have carefully curated courses that will appeal to Jewish high school students from any background,” says Rabbi Fogelman. “No previous Judaic knowledge is required.”

CTeen U’s relevant and engaging curriculum on the tenets of Judaism cultivates a strong sense of purpose and Jewish identity. The curriculum is designed to encourage teens to ask questions and apply Jewish thought to their everyday activities. The small group settings will make it possible for the instructor to get to know each student and for the students to bond with each other as they study.

“I know how busy teens are preparing for college—this is an opportunity for them to advance their resume and college career while studying the Torah’s timeless wisdom,” says Rabbi Fogelman.

YU credits are accepted at many colleges around the country, including highly selective schools, state colleges, liberal arts colleges, public flagships, specialized programs and many more.

The course is available to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and classes will meet at a location in Natick starting in fall 2022.

Find out more about CTeen U Natick.

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