Mitzvot from the heart: Isabel Schack, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Isabel Schack

Isabel, or Izzy as she is known to her friends, participated in three mitzvah projects that revolved around children.

Daughter of Julie and Martin Schack of Ladue, Izzy volunteered for Room at the Inn through Shaare Emeth. As part of a community-wide, interfaith effort, Shaare Emeth opens its doors to homeless families, providing dinner and shelter for the evening. Volunteers prepare meals, eat and spend time with guests, spend the night at the temple or drive the families to and from Shaare Emeth. 

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As a volunteer at Room at the Inn, Izzy was able to play with the children attending, help them with their homework and just give their parents a break at the end of a long day.  Spending three hours at each visit, she saw firsthand how these families struggled and how much joy she was able to bring to the kids.  “I realize how lucky I am — I can’t imagine moving from place to place every day.  But yet, these kids always have a smile on their face,” she said.

The second project was through Kids Connection, a service club through Ladue Middle School, where Izzy attends. Once a month during 7th grade, she visited the kids at Gateway 180, a homeless shelter that provides support for women and children in crisis. She would read to children and help them with their homework. Izzy said the children were always so happy to see the volunteers and that she  enjoyed playing and reading with them.

Izzy also participated in the Holocaust Heritage Project through the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. The museum created the project for children to perform a special mitzvah in honor of their bar or bat mitzvah and connect the history and lessons of the Holocaust to their own lives. Izzy dedicated her bat mitzvah to a young woman who perished in the Holocaust and was not able to become a bat mitzvah. She followed the story of Rivkah Wolf, sister of Leo Wolf (who immigrated to St. Louis after the war and is still living in St. Louis today). Rivkah was separated from her brother and she and her parents perished in the Lodz ghetto. Izzy also donated a portion of her bat mitzvah gifts to the Heritage Project. “It was so interesting to learn Rivkah’s story and I was happy to share my bat mitzvah in her memory,” Izzy said. “It made me realize how lucky I am.”