Morgan Cooper

GEN Z: Morgan Cooper, 26

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GEN Z: Morgan Cooper, 26

Morgan Cooper

Pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Beverly
Currently living in: Greenville, S.C.
Alma mater(s): Epstein Hillel School (then Cohen Hillel Academy), Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, Furman University
Job: Partnerships manager at Slate Milk
Hobbies: I walk my dog on the trail. I do yoga. This is so nerdy – I love to organize and declutter things. I love cooking and baking, and then eating with friends. Anything around food is a huge happy point for me. And I love traveling, exploring new cultures and cuisines is one of my favorite things to do.
Favorite travel destination: I studied in Florence, Italy, and I am totally in love with that place.
Favorite Jewish practice: Making challah on Shabbat.
Favorite North Shore spot: I love going to Kell’s Kreme.

 

Tell me about your Jewish background.

I was raised in a conservative household. Both of my parents were raised conservative, and made it a priority to instill Jewish roots and practices in our home. So, from kindergarten through eighth grade, I went to Jewish Day School with my siblings. We would practice all High Holidays and any fun holidays, like Purim and Hanukkah. We’d end the week around the dinner table, having Shabbat every Friday. So it never was foreign to me to think about spending time [with Jews] – whether it was with other Jewish families, or in synagogue. It was kind of second nature.

How is your Jewish experience now different from what you grew up with?

Going to school in the South, I have to say I was very lucky that the community I chose to enter into was incredibly accepting and embracing of diversity. And for them, being Jewish was diverse. For me, being Jewish was the norm.

Being in the South, it is something that I recognize as being a little bit different for other people. I often am met with a lot of curiosity, a lot of wanting to know more about my Jewish culture and practices and beliefs. And so even though I’m not in an entirely Jewish place, I’m surrounded by people who care about what it means to me to be Jewish.

You participated in the second cohort of Jewish Changemakers, a leadership development program, in the summer of 2021, and in January, you went on a Women’s Solidarity Mission to Israel with the Jewish Federation as a Changemaker alum. Tell me about the trip. What was your favorite part?

It was a very quick trip … I left Monday, traveled all the way from South Carolina into Tel Aviv, landed Tuesday morning, and first thing, went to meet the group and went to our volunteer day. We were there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and I flew home on Friday morning.

One of the highlights of me being there was our volunteer day. We went to Leket, which is the National Food Bank of Israel. Their mission is to rescue surplus food and distribute it to underserved communities. Since the war has started, the impact and the need across the country has escalated exponentially. We got to spend the day with the volunteers and employees of Leket, packing produce boxes. Collectively, we packed 9,000 pounds of produce. That was just a really beautiful and tangible way that we knew we were helping. It was really great to just see that Jewish Federation dimes are going to organizations like Leket and supporting on-ground work that they’re doing to really bring a little bit of relief to people in the war right now.

What was special about it being an all-women’s trip?

I think almost all of the women on the trip, if not all, are mothers. I was just continuously reminded of the power that women can have when we stand together, and especially mothers – that endless amount of compassion that they have to give. It was really astounding to be part of, and a special experience that I will never forget.

Another message that I’ve taken home with me is: We in America, and we as diaspora Jews, not only in America, but all around the world, have an obligation to Israel and to our Jewish families everywhere, to continue to elevate what’s happening in Israel and speak of it. If people are not wanting to have conversations, you don’t have to fight with them, you don’t have to argue – that’s not the point. It’s just to be in conversation, and make them recognize that these, too, are people that are suffering, and that deserve to feel safe in their homeland. Being back in America, and specifically being back in the South … I found it really important to just continue to speak about my experience since coming home.

If you could have dinner with any Jewish person alive or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?

Elie Wiesel is somebody that stands out to me. I grew up learning about him, and I think that he would be somebody I would certainly love to share a meal with and hear more about his experience and what he lived through as a Jewish person. Θ

Do you know someone aged 18-40 who we should feature in this column? Email klein@jewishjournal.org with their name and contact information.

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