The Emergency Crisis Center of Neve Michael in central Israel now has a beautifully renovated facility and state-of-the-art kitchen, thanks to Charlotte Sack, 12, from Manhattan, who loves to cook and decided to donate her bat mitzvah gifts to renovate the facility for the children at the Center who can benefit from cooking therapy.
Charlotte recognizes how fortunate she is in life and wanted to use her bat mitzvah as an opportunity to give back. Together with UJA-Federation of New York’s “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah” program, Charlotte decided to give to a place she admires and to bring something that gives her joy to the children at the Neve Michael Emergency Crisis Center.
The Center serves and provides refuge for 250 children from all over Israel, who have suffered abuse of all kinds. Since the year 2000, more than 650 children have benefited from the Crisis Center kitchen. Two volunteers come to cook and bake with the children on a regular basis. This cooking therapy focuses on socializing, learning to cook together, learning about food, and learning about the health benefits that food provides.
The natural wear and tear in the kitchen over the last 13 years is visible. Charlotte’s gift will provide a clean and modern space, where the children can undergo therapy through cooking and baking. The money will be used to purchase two industrial dishwashers, an oven, an industrial refrigerator, and a freezer.
Charlotte’s parents, Jonathan and Caroline Sack, and her siblings, Rebecca, 9, Beatrice, 2, and Elizabeth, 14, traveled to Israel to visit the center and to meet the children who will be helped by Charlotte’s generosity. Elizabeth also participated in the Give a Mitzvah–Do a Mitzvah program two years ago, at the time of her bat mitzvah, and had a handicapped-equipped sailboat built for Israel’s Paralympic team in the 2012 Olympics in London.
“I learned about children who are growing up in a very different environment than I am and I knew I wanted to help,” said Charlotte. “Since I love cooking, I thought it would be great to give other children the opportunity to cook with nice equipment and learn a new skill that I enjoy so much.”
“UJA-Federation of New York’s Give a Mitzvah–Do a Mitzvah program allows bar and bat mitzvah aged students to take their first step into the world of philanthropy as they begin their young adult journey in the Jewish community. We work individually with each participant to tailor a project based on their passions, hobbies, and interests,” said Brittany Wayne of UJA-Federation of New York. “Charlotte’s project relates to her interests and her generosity will greatly benefit the children at Neve Michael. Her project is a great example of becoming involved in philanthropy at a young age and helps to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish community in New York and in Israel.”
A special dedication ceremony took place Tuesday at the Crisis Center in Neve Michael. Charlotte Sack and her family joined the kids there to officially open the new kitchen. Speakers at the ceremony included Ilan Halperin, representative of UJA-Federation of New York in Israel.