Spotlight on Chava Mann CAJE Board & Day School Committee Member

Posted on 08/04/2023 @ 06:00 AM

Tags: CAJE Spotlight, Jewish Schools & Educational Services

Chava, tell us about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in Venezuela, where I went to school and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. I worked in the petrochemical industry in Venezuela.
Later I went to grad school and got my Masters in Biomolecular chemistry at NYU. Together with my husband, we lived in New York City for a while.
A few months after September 11thwe went back to Venezuela. We stayed there for five more years. We sent our children to the British school, because of the quality of the secular education, and Chabad provided their Judaic studies.
I started getting more involved with the Rebbetzin of the Chabad in Venezuela and helped her grow the after-school program for Jewish students. We even organized a model seder and were thrilled to host 180 children that were not in the Jewish School system.
Venezuela was becoming more dangerous. Kidnappings were rampant, and I feared for our safety and that of our children. My husband and I chose Miami for its diversity and multiple school options.  
Tell us about how you were introduced to CAJE and Federation.
When we first arrived in Miami, I took my time exploring. I was searching for a parallel of what we had in Venezuela in terms of community.
I found the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and went to Israel for the first time on the 2012 Mission. I was blown away by the reach of Federation not only in Miami, but in Israel as well. In fact, I became a Lion of Judah on that trip!
My children were happy in the Yeshiva they were attending, and I was, and still am, an involved parent in the schools my children attend.
I was asked to serve on the Federation / CAJE Day School Committee, and I was honored to do so.
After being a wife and mom, my greatest passion in life is Jewish education. Being able to be a part of our Miami day school landscape and hear what our schools are doing is truly a privilege I do not take for granted. 
Why Jewish Education?
I believe that today, our children are facing a social dilemma. It is hard for them to find the balance between being a Jew, being a Zionist and living in the USA.
What is their responsibility towards Israel? What is their responsibility towards their religion? Where do I want my own children to be in terms of the religion, education, Israel? Where do they fit in? Where do I fit in? 
CAJE is the perfect example of an organization that employs a diverse group of individuals all working towards a common goal: ensuring quality Jewish education in all aspects of our Miami community.
As I continue to learn about the important work of CAJE in our day schools and community, I feel that it is crucial that more people know about the people and faces behind the work.
As parents, we are not always aware of all that must happen in order for our children to receive the quality Jewish education they are currently receiving.
I want to be a voice and let people know about the work of CAJE. There is not one school that does not benefit for the support of CAJE, and we should be able to communicate that and share it.
We are so privileged to be living in a time where we have this kind of support.
Additionally, it is in times where we feel most comfortable that there’s a greater chance one may fall through the cracks. We have a responsibility to teach our children that living a Jewish life, going to a Jewish school, and staying true to our roots is vital.