Hebrew name: Nisan
Alma mater: Marblehead High School, ’17
Current school: University of Michigan ’21
Minor: Judaic Studies
Favorite Jewish food: Chopped liver
Favorite Jewish person: Albert Einstein
Favorite Jewish holiday: Hanukkah
Favorite movie: “42”
Favorite song: Anything by Taylor Swift
How have you gone back to college this year? In person, remote, or a combination of both?
I live in a house off campus, so I was able to return to my physical campus this year in person. I live with nine other Jewish girls from many different states. Out of my four classes, two of them are remote and two of them are socially distant in person.
What was your Jewish background growing up?
I grew up going to Hebrew school twice a week at the Chabad in Swampscott. I also have grown up with my two Jewish parents and four Jewish grandparents who have truly taught me about the religion and the culture surrounding it. Because of their influence, I have always been proud of my religion and identity, which was only further solidified during my first trip to Israel with Y2I when I was 15.
How has your Jewish identity shaped you?
My Jewish identity has taught me to find communities that value similar aspects of life as me. Additionally, my Jewish identity has taught me to be accepting and open to all different types of people and to not judge them based on their demographics. It has made me become an ally for other minority groups and taught me the importance of compassion and empathy.
What’s it like being a student at the University of Michigan and being Jewish? Do you find it accepting?
I love being a Jewish student at the University of Michigan. During the first month of my freshman year, I joined a Jewish sorority and found a large group of Jewish girls that accept me and understand the same culture and values that I identify with. My sorority, along with my minor, has surrounded my experience at Michigan around Judaism and has made me feel accepted here and right at home.
The Jewish Journal recently ran a story about somebody or a group writing racist and anti-Semitic graffiti on the rocks of Preston Beach in Swampscott. What is your experience with anti-Semitism and how do you combat it?
About a week ago, I was on a Zoom call during a lecture. Someone in the chat, by the name of “Adolf Hitler” messaged the entire class “anyone mad?” Immediately after seeing the message, I started to feel uneasy and uncomfortable, and I could not focus during the remainder of the lecture. After class ended, I emailed my professor about how she did not address the message and how it made me feel. Later that day, I received a personal email back, as well as an email addressed to the entire class, about increased security on our future Zoom calls and stating that that type of behavior would not be tolerated.
What’s your dream job/profession after you graduate and why?
My dream job is becoming a doctor on the North Shore of Massachusetts. I spent this past summer applying to medical schools and I plan to go next year after I graduate. I want to spend the rest of my life treating patients and giving them the best medical care and attention that they deserve.
What’s the best way Jewish teens and young adults can tap into their Jewish identity?
I think the best way Jewish teens and young adults can tap into their Jewish identity is by going to Israel with other Jewish people similar in age. These types of groups allow Jewish youth to explore their religion and discover their identities together. By sharing their own home experiences and having new experiences together, they can learn and grow into educated and motivated members of the Jewish community.