Born in the United States to a Jewish family from Argentina, Leah Soibel ’00 (Judaic studies) is a Hispanic American Israeli who has dedicated her career to promoting accurate coverage of Israel and the Jewish people in the Spanish-speaking world.
She's the founder and CEO of Fuente Latina, a nonprofit media organization that provides global Hispanic journalists with the information and access they need to report on these topics accurately and in real time. She also recently launched Activista Media, the first-ever bilingual (English/Spanish) digital news brand that engages English-dominant U.S. Latino journalists, influencers and online news consumers with stories aimed at breaking down stereotypes between Latinos and Jews.
"I always knew that I wanted to be a Judaic studies major," says Soibel, who moved to Israel after graduation. "And when I got to campus, I thrived, finding professors who would support me in building programming that I wanted."
And while Soibel was certain of what she wanted to study as an undergrad, it certainly wasn’t a straight line from Dickinson to Fuente Latina, as Soibel went on to get degrees at the American University of Cairo, George Washington University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, before jumping into intelligence work.
“Before I came to campus, I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life, and Judaic studies was key to achieving my goal of working in national security,” she says. “But at the bright age of 28, I decided it was time to retire and start a more lucrative and dangerous career working with the foreign press in Israel”—work that landed her in a bomb shelter with Anderson Cooper at one point. Now, Soibel focuses her efforts on giving an important voice to an often-overlooked population.
“Fuente Latina is not just the voice for the Jewish people encountering the hate that we see online and in traditional news, but it is also a voice for the Hispanic community,” she says, adding that the Spanish-speaking community is a half a billion people strong worldwide. She works with the top news agencies around the world, in the hopes that she will be able to counter misperceptions and distorted imagery that is fueling anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments.
Headquartered in Miami—with offices in Tel Aviv, Madrid, Los Angeles and Mexico City—Fuente Latina’s work has resulted in two Emmy wins and an Associated Press Broadcasting Award, along the way facilitating thousands of interviews and producing more than 60,000 news stories about Israel and the Jewish world.
"Dickinson taught me to be innovative and taught me that I can use my voice to create impact,” Soibel says, who notes that working with professors to start the college’s first Arabic class and design a study-abroad provided a valuable life-lesson about finding creative solutions to challenges. “I believe that the media has a responsibility to present a balanced and accurate picture of Israel and the Jewish people, and I'm committed to working with journalists to ensure that they have the information they need to do so.
Published July 17, 2023