NAME: Andrew Jacobson
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: Waltham
ALMA MATER: Swampscott High School ’15, Brandeis University ’19
FAVORITE FOOD: Indian food; aloo gobi
FAVORITE MUSIC: I like Jon Bellion, Ishay Ribo … I like Hozier, Portugal. The Man … Bon Iver [they’re my favorite].
FAVORITE BOOKS: That’s a hard one, but “Sabbath’s Theater” by Philip Roth. I also love “Winesburg, Ohio” by Sherwood Anderson, and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.
FAVORITE MOVIES: “Good Will Hunting” is number one.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “The Office”
FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: Jaipur, India; Santorini, Greece; and Iceland. I want to go to Bali and New Zealand.
FAVORITE JEWISH PERSON: Viktor Frankl
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR JEWISH BACKGROUND.
Until third grade, I went to Cohen Hillel and then my parents moved me to public school: different elementary schools in Swampscott … I kept with public school through high school – I went to Swampscott Middle School, then Swampscott High School. I guess mostly in high school I was involved with different youth groups … and in high school I also was involved in Prozdor, which is a Jewish high school basically at Hebrew College in Newton. Religiously speaking, I would say I grew up Conservative – you know, like having Friday night dinners … doing all the regular holidays, lighting candles for Chanukah, having a Seder for Pesach. We went to Shirat Hayam as well as Chabad of the North Shore in Swampscott. I went to Camp Tevya for five or six years in New Hampshire, and I also spent two weeks at a camp in Israel.
YOU’VE SPENT A FAIR AMOUNT OF TIME IN ISRAEL.
A lot of my Jewish identity is based on my experience in Israel. I was able to take a semester there, actually my second semester junior year of high school, and also did a semester there, just last semester, at Hebrew University. And I’ve gone on other trips, through youth groups, my family, through Y2I, [then as] a counselor on Y2I.
[The high school trip] was through a program called Alexander Muss High School in Israel … I did the full semester program, so I was down south at a small regional school, kind of like a kibbutz, just outside Beersheba, along with 31 other public high school students from around the country. The whole program was centered around basically teaching us Jewish history by taking us to places where things actually happened. Like for example when we were in ancient times, we went to the City of David in Jerusalem, and when we got to the Holocaust, we actually went to Poland. It was an awesome experience, one that I think inspired my love for Israel and propelled me to get involved in I guess you might call it Israel activism.
COULD YOU TALK MORE ABOUT YOUR ISRAEL ADVOCACY EFFORTS?
I became an intern with StandWithUs, and I became involved in American Israel Public Affairs Committee and also with the Lappin Foundation. My interests have changed since then, but in high school I ran a lot of events, like for the Lappin Foundation, we did a six-week course on Israel education … that was one of the coolest things I did. I ran different events in my high school and went to different conferences and spoke to donors – that kind of thing.
[Since high school] I wouldn’t say my views have necessarily shifted a lot, but my understanding has really deepened. My views were pretty superficial in high school – I just didn’t know that much. Having had talks with Palestinians, having had experiences with Jews from different denominations, has really opened me up to very different opinions on the issue, and made me more able to have a deeper understanding of the issues.
HOW IS BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY?
Brandeis is a really unique school when it comes to Jewish life. It’s about half Jewish, and I think in many ways it’s a microcosm of the American Jewish community. I think from the very beginning at freshman year, I became the most involved in that group, because I saw them as more engaged. I’ve become a little bit more religious since entering college. I actually keep Shabbat now fully and I started that freshman year, and the community here has really provided a really good platform to do that. I don’t follow everything that your average modern-Orthodox person follows, so for that reason I don’t classify myself as modern-Orthodox, but I’m definitely closest to modern-Orthodox.
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT YOU WANT TO DO AFTER GRADUATION?
I’m not entirely sure … I’m majoring in philosophy, minoring in business and Judaic studies, and I’m looking for jobs in a variety of different areas; everything from social impact, consulting, impact investing, to becoming a financial planner, to something a little bit nonprofit or humanities-oriented. I also love to write. My biggest dream is to write a novel.