Week of Sept. 3, 2008

MACKENZIE BRANDT, TEMPLE EMANUEL

Mackenzie wanted to share her special day with someone else.

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Not just anyone, but a young girl from the Rubin-Zeffren Children’s Home in Kiryat Sanz, Netanya, Israel.

Daughter of Isabel and Rick Brandt, Mackenzie had talked about how she wanted to give a less fortunate girl her one special day — in this case, a birthday party.

To fund the birthday party, Mackenzie donated a portion of her bat mitzvah gift dollars. In her bat mitzvah D’var Torah, she mentioned what she was doing for her mitzvah project. Several of the guests were so inspired that they sent in money to help out. Asked why she wanted to do this particular project, Mackenzie said, “I love kids and I feel every person should get a birthday party.”

The Rubin-Zeffren Children’s Home is sponsored by the Lev LaLev (Heart to Heart) Fund.

It is an important Israel charity, as it helps provide a love-filled home and a brighter future to orphaned and disadvantaged Jewish girls from all over Israel. It provides for their physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs so that they may each achieve their individual potential. The Lev LaLev Fund has different categories of giving or specific gifts, such as the entire bat mitzvah or just the training for it.

To honor Mackenzie with a donation, please visit the fund’s Web site at: www.levlalev.com.

In addition to her love of kids, Mackenzie, a student at the John Burroughs School, also loves ice-skating. For the past year, she has volunteered at the Webster Groves Ice Arena, working with the youngest group of synchronized skaters of the Metro Edge Figure Skating Club. This group of 5-6 year olds is known as the “Toe Picks,” and Mackenzie devotes about an hour a week working along with the head coach.

Mackenzie said, “It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy working with the young skaters. It’s great to watch them grow in their ability and gain self-confidence. I feel like I can really relate to them; I can get them to do things that the coach can’t.”