Ms. Pinczuk (pronounced Pin-chuck), who was diagnosed with autism in elementary school, also had a range of social anxiety disorders that limited her ability to learn in standard classroom settings.
“I was misdiagnosed at an early age with other mental illnesses because I didn’t fit into any particular box,” she wrote in a 2019 essay for heyalma.com.
“I see, hear, and feel the world differently than most other people,” she added, “and to be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
When she left school after the fourth grade, she was functionally illiterate. She was home-schooled for eight years, with visits to special-education teachers, one of whom taught her to read and write when she was 11. Within two years, she was a published writer and a budding filmmaker.
Ms. Pinczuk was 14 when she made a four-minute documentary, “L’Chaim Israel,” which contains images of Jewish tragedy and triumph and interviews with Holocaust survivors — including her grandfather. The film was shown at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, making Ms. Pinczuk one of the youngest directors ever selected for the prestigious international festival in France. She went to Cannes with help from the Make-A-Wish foundation.
She later made another documentary, “Freedom: What It Means to Teens,” which won a best new filmmaker award at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival.
In the meantime, Ms. Pinczuk became one of the youngest contributors to the New York Times Book Review, after asking the editor why children’s books were reviewed by adults and not by children.
At 14, she wrote a young-adult novel, “Sparkle,” about a girl named Diamond who had a life-threatening disease and struggled with some of the same social issues, including bullying, faced by Ms. Pinczuk. The book included a foreword by rap artist Big Sean, and the two of them — accompanied by their mothers — toured schools together.
Borrowing a name associated with the late hip-hop performer Tupac Shakur, Ms. Pinczuk published the novel as Michele Amira, a pseudonym she often used. She had considerable knowledge of hip-hop music and, after enrolling at the University of Maryland in 2010, hosted a hip-hop show, “The Mecca,” on the university’s student-run station, WMUC-FM, for more than four years.
Michele Stephanie Pinczuk was born Aug. 10, 1993, in Silver Spring, Md. Her father is a freelance video journalist covering the White House, and her mother is a writer and the founder of the Music in Me Foundation International, which aims to prevent bullying among young people.
Ms. Pinczuk went through her childhood with frequent stomach pain and was unable to digest many foods. She was 13 when doctors diagnosed her gastrointestinal disease, which causes inflammation in the digestive tract. She also had Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects the skin, blood vessels and other connective tissues.
Throughout her life, Ms. Pinczuk was hospitalized more than 50 times, sometimes for as long as three months at a stretch. Because it was difficult for her to eat solid food, she received sustenance intravenously or through a feeding tube in her nose.
Ms. Pinczuk wrote that she found solace in Jewish religious traditions and often attended the Washington Hebrew Congregation and the Sixth & I synagogue in the District.
Survivors include her parents, Murray and Jane Pinczuk, a brother, Sam Pinczuk, and a grandmother, Ginger Polansky, all of Silver Spring.
Ms. Pinczuk was particularly drawn to the story of Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who wrote in her diary about hiding with her family in an attic in Amsterdam for two years during World War II. Dutch informers tipped off Nazi agents, and the Frank family and other Jews were discovered and shipped to concentration camps in Germany, where many of them died, including Anne.
In 2010, after writing an essay called “Trapped in the Attic,” Ms. Pinczuk received the Spirit of Anne Frank Award from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect.
“Fortunately, I’ve never had to endure the horrors that were inflicted upon Anne,” Ms. Pinczuk wrote, “but I understand the importance of living and not merely surviving — the power of hope and the influence of writing. Although I’ve had to come to grips with my own mortality through battling chronic illness, I appreciate Anne’s implication of living on after death. Even though you die, your words can still flourish.”
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