Hannah Belenkiy, a 10th-grade student at Lake Forest High School, has won the prestigious “CTeen International Leader of the Year Award” for her leadership skills and dedication to her community. Hannah is the teen leader at the CTeen (Chabad Teen Network) in Deerfield, IL, which aims to provide Jewish teenagers
with opportunities to connect with their heritage and their peers in a fun and meaningful way.
Hannah delivers her
acceptance speech in front of the entire CTeen International Summit
Hannah's passion for Judaism and her desire to share it with others began at a young age. Growing up in Lake Forest, which has a small Jewish population, Hannah often felt isolated and disconnected from her heritage. Determined to connect with other
Jewish teens and to share her Jewish pride, she started the Jewish Culture Club at her high school.
Hannah's leadership skills were quickly recognized by her peers and community members. Becoming the leader of her CTeen chapter, she planned events such as a Chanukah festival, where students and teachers came together to celebrate the holiday and learn about Jewish customs and traditions.
For the past two years, she has attended the CTeen International Summit, where over 3,000 teens from 30 countries across the world come together for an inspirational and educational weekend filled with Jewish pride. Each year chapter leaders are nominated to win the CTeen Choice Award. The award
recognizes an extraordinary Jewish teen leader out of hundreds of candidates from around the world who have a significant impact on their community. The recipient of the prestigious title is announced at the weekend summit.
After all the votes came in, Hannah was awarded the CTeen Choice Award 2023. Winning the CTeen Choice Award is a significant achievement for Hannah, and it is a testament to her hard work, dedication, and leadership skills. The award was presented to her by Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, a leader at Chabad World
Headquarters in New York.
Rabbi Chaim and Mina Schanowitz, who work with Hannah in the local CTeen chapter, describe her as a natural leader and an inspiration to others. "Hannah is a true role model," says Mrs. Schanowitz. "She has a deep love and respect for Judaism, and she is always looking for ways to share that with
For Hannah, the award is not just a recognition of her achievements but also an opportunity to inspire others. "I am so honored to be this year's female leader of the year! I don’t live in a large Jewish community, so I have been really lucky to find CTeen when I was in eighth grade!" said Hannah.
"CTeen has helped me feel prouder of my Judaism and has allowed me to connect with more Jewish teens across the world! I am so grateful for this opportunity."
accepts the CTeen International Leader of the Year award and gives a short
CTeen, the Chabad Teen Network, engages hundreds of thousands of Jewish teens in young leadership programs through its seven-hundred chapters, in one-hundred countries, on six continents. To find a CTeen location in your neighborhood, visit