Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Gavin Rabinowitz

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  • How Israeli volunteers on the ground in Europe are helping Syrian refugees

    Gavin Rabinowitz, JTA|Oct 2, 2015

    LESBOS, Greece (JTA)-As the small rubber dinghy crowded with Syrians and Afghans emerged from the midnight-black sea to land on a desolate pebble beach, the first people to greet the bewildered and frightened refugees were two Israelis. "Does anyone need a doctor?" Majeda Kardosh, 27, a nurse from Nazareth, shouted repeatedly in Arabic as the asylum seekers scrambled ashore amid cries of celebration and tears of relief at surviving the short but perilous crossing from Turkey to this Greek... Full story

  • On Greek isle of Rhodes, Jews return to celebrate ancient community all but wiped out

    Gavin Rabinowitz|Sep 25, 2015

    RHODES, Greece (JTA)-Each summer, tens of thousands of tourists descend on Rhodes, Greece's easternmost island. They are drawn by the sandy beaches, the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, the casino resorts and the prospect of exploring the medieval walled old city that was built by Crusader knights. On a clear day, you can see Turkey in the distance. But for a few, it's an annual pilgrimage, a homecoming that commemorates the Jews of this Mediterranean island who lived here for 2,000 years-up... Full story

  • Amid their country's financial crisis, Greek Jews struggle and brace for more turmoil

    Gavin Rabinowitz|Jul 10, 2015

    ATHENS, Greece (JTA)-For 55 needy Jewish families, a cash welfare payment is the only thing that gets them through the month. But when they came to the Athens Jewish Community last week for their July assistance, they were given only a portion of the payment in cash-the rest was in supermarket food coupons. "We just don't have cash and we can't get anymore, the banks are closed," said Taly Mair, the community director who oversees the welfare program. "We hope to make the rest up to them... Full story

  • Holocaust trains are jewel of collection of Greek train enthusiast – but are they real?

    Gavin Rabinowitz, JTA|Apr 12, 2013

    THESSALONIKI, Greece (JTA)—It was spring in northern Greece, 1943. Efthymios Kontopoulos, 13, had come to Thessaloniki for the day when he saw Nazis rounding up the city’s Jews. “My father brought me into town,” Kontopoulos, who is not Jewish, said. “We saw them being taken away. They were with their [yellow] badges.” On March 15, 1943, the Nazis began deporting the Jews of Thessaloniki. Some 4,000 people were loaded onto cattle cars and shipped off to Auschwitz. Eighteen more convoys fol... Full story

  • Holocaust commemoration marks shift for Greek Jews in fight against neo-Nazis

    Gavin Rabinowitz, JTA|Mar 29, 2013

    THESSALONIKI, Greece (JTA)—Antonis Samaras stood in the pale morning light coming through the stained glass windows of the only Thessaloniki synagogue to survive World War II and vowed, “Never again.” For Greek Jews marking the 70th anniversary of the destruction of this city’s historic Jewish community, the Greek prime minister’s words were long awaited. So was his presence—the first time a sitting Greek premier had set foot in a synagogue in 101 years. “We have to be very careful to re... Full story