Humans of Machon Maayan: Mackenzie Taller

Mackenzie Taller, Woodmere, New York

Hebrew Academy of Nassau County

Machon Maayan 2018-2019

 

Why did you choose to attend Machon Maayan?

I wanted a school that was going to have Torah learning, of course, but I didn’t want to be sitting in a Beit Midrash all day with a chavruta. I’m more interested in discussion-oriented classes. I also wanted a big focus on chessed and touring Israel, all of which Machon Maayan has. Something I now appreciate but didn’t know I was looking for is the fact that Machon Maayan isn’t based in Yerushalayim. There’s way less pressure to go into town every five minutes and I can focus on myself, rather than constantly socializing with every person I’ve ever met. Machon Maayan has a great balance of all the things I was looking for.

 

What’s something super unique about you?

I wore a back brace for eight years, then I had spinal fusion surgery to correct the curvature of my spine, and now I have twelve steel rods and twenty-eight screws fused inside of me 👍🏻.

 

Do you have any Hashgacha Pratis stories?

Ya! I had my back surgery the summer before ninth grade and was super nervous about making friends because I had a lot of medical things going on. On my school’s freshman retreat at the beginning of the year, a table collapsed on my leg (a great start to high school, I know) and I ended up making a ton of friends because people were constantly coming up to me and asking me how my leg was. I was no longer weird because of a previous medical condition, but because of something everyone was there for. It sounds crazy, but I’m actually so thankful it happened.

 

What’s the best advice that you’ve ever heard?

“Don’t waste your time and effort on relationships where the other person doesn’t value you as much as you value them,” from my mom.

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