Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Michele Chabin

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  • For these US Jews of color, encountering Israel's diversity was an eye-opening and affirming experience

    Michele Chabin|Aug 13, 2021

    JERUSALEM – Arel Moodie, the son of a white Jewish mother and a Black father, experienced a core identity struggle through most of his teenage years. "It was one of the biggest pieces of turmoil in my adolescence," said Moodie, who was raised in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn and attended Jewish camps every summer. "I asked myself, 'Who am I? Where do I fit in?' I felt like I had to make a choice between the Jewish side, the white side, the Black side." Moodie, now 3...

  • New online learning platform aims to bridge the gap between US and Israel

    Michele Chabin|Nov 27, 2020

    When the first wave of coronavirus infections reached the American South, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, knew the religious school's classes at his synagogue would have to move online. But he also knew his institution was ill-equipped to make that change. "We are a small congregation – 170 households – and our religious school is generally run by volunteer teachers," Cytron-Walker said. "We don't have a paid religious school director. When COV...

  • 20,000 Jewish communal professionals lost jobs

    Michele Chabin|Oct 16, 2020

    “Blindsided.” That’s how Melissa Engelberg felt after being laid off in April due to COVID-19 cutbacks. “I was shocked, I was sad and I was worried,” said Engelberg, who lost her job as director of grants and programs at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. “I understood the reason — the times are just so unprecedented — but this was my dream job and I had never lost a job before.” Engelberg let colleagues and friends know she was seeking a new position. Soon afterward, two people alerted her to Rise, a new initiative to help the r...

  • Competition provides $1 million in grants to combat BDS and Israel delegitimization

    Michele Chabin|Dec 6, 2019

    By Michele Chabin TEL AVIV-The Genesis Prize Foundation and 2019 Genesis Prize laureate Robert Kraft have launched a competition that will award grants to Israeli organizations on the front lines of the war against anti-Semitism and efforts to delegitimize Israel. Kraft, the Jewish businessman, philanthropist and NFL team owner who received this year's $1 million Genesis Prize, previously had announced he would use the prize money to support efforts to combat anti-Semitism. This week, the...

  • Israeli students train guide dogs for the blind

    Michele Chabin|Nov 8, 2019

    Shir Tabac had always yearned for a dog, but it wasn't until she completed her military service and went to college that she felt ready to make the commitment. "It was the first time I was living independently, and I wondered how I could have a dog and do something good at the same time," said Tabac, now a third-year chemistry student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. "I realized that volunteering to train a guide dog was the perfect plan." Within a month of arriving at the...

  • Facing anti-Semitism at her California school, this Jewish teen takes matters into her own hands

    Michele Chabin|Dec 21, 2018

    When Michaela Weinstein first encountered racist and anti-Semitic slurs at her California high school, she felt sick to her stomach. Students at Albany High School, in the San Francisco Bay Area, were drawing swastikas on schoolbooks and posting photos on Instagram comparing black women to gorillas. Even two years later, anti-Semitism has remained a problem at the school: This fall, the outside walls of Weinstein's school gym were spray-painted with hate-filled graffiti. "There were different...

  • Immunotherapy treatments being developed in Israel offer new hope for cancer patients

    Michele Chabin|Jul 13, 2018

    JERUSALEM-There's a war raging in Israel with life and death consequences worldwide. This war does not involve tanks, drones or tunnels, and the enemy is not Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah. Rather the war is being waged in science labs and the battlefield is the human body. The enemy: cancer. Israeli scientists are experimenting with a new weapon in this war: immunotherapy, which manipulates one's immune system to identify, fight and destroy cancer cells. While immunotherapy has been around for decade...