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San Diego (Carmel Valley, CA) Bat Mitzvah Girl Is Right on the Mark!

Bookmark Project Benefits our Girls

 Exclusive Interview with Inside Our Home Editor Chava Yelloz

Only 12 years old, and already she’s a practical thinker and an independent hard worker. Tamara Benrey, who’s a 7th grader at the San Diego Jewish Academy, researched online for a recipient for her right of passage mitzvah project. Wanting to help her peers, she searched for an Israeli organization that helps kids, and found the Lev LaLev Fund. Now, it was time for Tamara to dream up a product that is useful for everyday life, which she could sell for her fundraiser.

tamara_bat_1.jpgOn May 26th, the Benrey family celebrated Tamara’s Bat Mitzvah at San Diego California’s Beth Am Congregation. Nadin Benrey, Tamara’s mom, told Lev LaLev that Rabbi David Kornberg, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, directs the boys and girls who will become bar and bat mitzvah to participate in a meaningful project to commemorate their special day.

Discussing possibilities for a product to sell whose proceeds would be donated to the Children’s Home in honor of her Bat Mitzvah, Tamara brainstormed with a creative friend. Their joint thinking produced a bright and colorful idea: a bookmark made of giant paper clips adorned with large buttons. Now she was set to start production.

Tamara began her initiative by first creating a flyer that she used to market her bookmarks to friends, family and schoolmates. She actually produced the items on her own and collected the funds which she would present directly at the Children’s Home to our Programs Director, Bracha Runes during her recent trip to Israel.

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Visiting Israel in honor of her Bat Mitzvah was a very special treat for Tamara and her family. Her parents, Nadin and Alberto, originally from Mexico City, where Tamara and her siblings were born, are involved in their community. Since emigrating from Mexico 12 years ago, Nadin serves as a board member of the San Diego Jewish Academy and was on the board of directors of the United Jewish Fund. Alberto shared a seat on the Academy’s board as well and is involved as a staunch supporter of the school.

More about Tamara:

She’s an avid soccer player whose position is FORWARD. She is a teammate of the La Jolla based Nomads who practice twice a week at their local Noble Park.

Math and Judaic Studies are her favorite subjects.

 DSC_0140.jpgQuotes from Tamara:

“Although my bat mitzvah is over, I’d like to continue donating to the girls at the Home.” As she left the Children’s Home in Netanya, she said to her mother,  “It’s amazing to be here and see these girls go through their life struggles, and I am here to help them.”

Tamara and her older sister Nurit, 17 who also attends the S.D. Jewish Academy (high school division), both utilized their Hebrew skills learned at the Academy, talking to and bonding with our precious girls. Nadin Benrey told us that Nurit, who is totally fluent in Ivrit, had a life changing experience because of her visit to the Home. She shared that her middle daughter, who is thinking about colleges to apply to, didn’t have a serious focus for her future studies yet. But, as she left the Home, she told her mother she now realizes what it is she would like to do some day. Nurit Benrey now aspires to dedicate her career to helping kids. She hopes to apply herself to studying psychology.

Tamara’s older brother, Rafael, 20, who attends Babson College in Boston, and could not travel to Israel with his family because of his school schedule, sums it all up by saying, “I think Tamara's effort to donate money to such a good cause is very representative of how much she cares for the world and people around her. She is truly someone to look up to.” 

The Benrey’s extended family, Fanny, Alberto’s mother, Doris, his sister, and their niece Anna, also accompanied them on their visit to Netanya.

The girls at the Home very much enjoyed hosting their esteemed visitors from Southern California and appreciate and acknowledge Tamara’s generosity and warm spirit. Making and selling bookmarks to help support the needs of the girls at the Home – place Tamara right on the mark of her responsibility as a young Jewish woman – thinking of those less fortunate and in need. Kol HaKavod to this very special family!


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