Everything You Wanted to Know
about the CTeen Heritage Quest
Q. What is the CTeen Heritage Quest?
A. The CTeen Heritage Quest is a unique 22-day trip to Poland and Israel that will give teens a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the roots of their Jewish heritage at the source. The group will spend six days visiting many sites of past Jewish presence in Poland, such as cemeteries, ghettos, and synagogues. Teens will explore firsthand what was once one of the largest and most significant Jewish communities in the world. In addition, the trip will give teens a chance to see the devastating effects World War II had on this once vibrant Jewish community by visiting concentration camps and Holocaust memorial sites. From Poland, the group will travel to Israel and discover the significance of our Jewish homeland and contemporary Jewish life. Teens will learn and absorb an authentic Jewish approach to tragedy, loss, and the keys to emerging from hardship with a stronger and bolder allegiance to our Jewish future, as well as strengthen their commitment to live as proud Jews.
Q. Who is the CTeen Heritage Quest for?
A. Jewish teens in grades 9–12, regardless of affiliation, who want to enjoy the summer of a lifetime and connect to their Jewish roots.
Q. How is the CTeen Heritage trip staffed?
A. Our staff are handpicked for their dedication and skill in working with teenagers, as well as their warm and welcoming spirit. In addition to our dedicated directors and counselors, an EMT and a fun-loving rabbi or rebbetzin will accompany the group throughout the trip. Where necessary, the group will be accompanied by an armed security officer.
Q. What security precautions are taken while in Poland and Israel?
A. The safety and security of program participants is of paramount concern. CTeen’s international travel program itineraries are carefully prepared by local experienced Jewish tour companies who have extensive knowledge and experience in leading groups to the selected cities and sites. All itineraries are subject to change at any time in the event of safety or security concerns. Transportation on public buses and trains is not utilized at any time during the program. Participants are not permitted to leave the program at any time unless accompanied by a staff member. When necessary the group is accompanied by an armed security officer.While in Israel, coordinators constantly monitor the security situation and are in close contact with the IDF and Israeli Police to ensure that they are updated about any and all changing circumstances in real time.
Q. Where does the trip start and end?
A. The CTeen Heritage Quest begins in New York, where all participants and staff fly together on a group flight from JFK or Newark airport to Warsaw, Poland. We will spend six days touring Poland, the group will travel via chartered coach bus and spend one Shabbat at a local Chabad in Poland. We will then fly together from Krakow to Israel, where the second part of the trip will commence. All travel in Israel will be via chartered coach bus as well. We will spend 16 days including two Shabbatot in Israel. The group will fly back together from Tel Aviv to JFK airport in New York where the trip ends.
Q. My teen will be flying to New York, who can escort my teen in the airport?
A. If necessary, you should be able to escort your teen to his or her flight. Please contact your airline for its specific policies. It is generally possible to obtain a gate pass to escort an unaccompanied minor through security until the departure gate (e.g., Spirit Airlines). CTeen staff will have the flight information of every teen and will be waiting to greet him or her in the baggage claim area of JFK airport and ensure that he or she joins the rest of the group in the proper terminal for the flight to Poland.
If you wish, you may use your airline’s unaccompanied minor service. If doing so, please notify us before booking the flight so that we can give you the correct contact information for the staff member who will meet your teen in the airport.
When this information is available, we can put you in touch with the parents of other participants who will be departing from the same airport as your teen, enabling you to each book tickets on the same flight.
Q. Where will the camp be staying?
A. Both in Poland and Israel, the group will lodge in hotels. In Israel, there will be one night of camping in Bedouin-style tents. We will periodically rotate the rooming assignments to provide a better opportunity for teens to meet new friends, as well as to enhance the group dynamics.
Q. What kind of community service hours does this trip offer?
A. In Poland, we will volunteer with the “Matzeva Project,” a non-profit organization that works to preserve Jewish sites and cemeteries in Poland. Volunteer work may include digging up and finding Jewish artifacts, searching for and identifying old Jewish monuments or tombstones that have faded, and polishing and restoring them. In Israel, we will volunteer at two or three non-profit organizations. Volunteer work may include helping pack food or clothing for needy families and packaging or delivering care packages to IDF soldiers.
Q. Is cell phone use permitted on the trip?
A. Participants are permitted to bring a cell phone for use during the program. However, CTeen regards cell phone use during the program as a privilege and reserves the right to revoke this privilege at any time. Participants must exercise discretion when using cell phones (e.g., respecting sleeping roommates, etc.). Parents and friends who wish to contact a participant during the trip should bear in mind that Poland and Israel are six and seven hours ahead of the North American Eastern Standard time zone. The group will typically return to its place of lodging in the early evening and that is the best time to call.
Q. Will there be internet access on the trip?
A. Most of the hotels where we will be staying will have WiFi available, however very often they require a small fee to obtain the password. We strongly discourage bringing a laptop or any expensive communication devices on the trip due to increased risk of theft or damage. CTeen is not liable for any misplaced, damaged or stolen property or money.
Q.What does the camp fee cover?
A. Sleeping accommodations, meals, in-trip transportation, medical insurance and all program activities are covered by the core program tuition. Airfare from New York to Poland and Israel to New York are charged separately ($1,395). Airfare from any other city to New York and airline baggage fees are not included in this cost and must be paid for separately.
Q. What should I bring?
A. You can find the packing list here. We highly recommend that you only bring one main piece of luggage to check onto the plane (duffel bags are preferred, but rolling suitcases can also work) and one backpack for daily travel on the road.
Q. Will there be opportunities to do laundry on the trip?
A. Yes, there will be opportunities to do laundry. However, participants should pack enough clothing for at least 10-12 days.
Q. What food will be served on this trip?
A. Tasty and nutritious Glatt kosher meals will be served throughout the entire trip. Please contact us regarding any allergies or specific diets to find out whether we are able to accommodate your request.
Q. Is it necessary to bring along additional spending money?
A. Sleeping accommodations, meals, in-trip transportation and all program activities are covered by the core program tuition. To purchase souvenirs or extra snacks, a small allowance under $50 a week is recommended. CTeen is not liable for any misplaced or stolen money.
Contact Rabbi Nachman Rivkin at