Meet Moriah: 5 Feet Tall With a Ton of Ambition

Meet Moriah Richman: an ambitious freshman, tackling some of the world’s most important issues, such as antisemitism, a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, and equal rights for all. She came to college with high hopes of making a difference and as a young Jewish woman, she is already doing so in her community. Moriah is an organizer for J Street, a club dedicated to promoting a safe space for Jewish students and advocating for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. She is also a member, and now an intern, at Florida State University’s Hillel. Hillel is an organization promoting a place for Jewish students to get in touch with their roots and make smart choices. While Hillel and J Street have different goals, Moriah has found a way to intertwine them perfectly into her college experience. 

Her Campus (HC): What’s your major?

Moriah Richman (MR): My major is Political Science!

HC: What drew you into J Street?

MR: Well, I was raised Jewish, but my family was mainly non-religious—we only celebrated high holidays like Chanukah and Passover, and we didn’t go to services. With that, I didn’t have a strong Jewish identity and that’s something I struggled with growing up. When I came to college, I found J Street at the involvement fair and I saw their tag line: Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine and Pro-Peace - that drew me in. I was thinking, “That sounds like me,” so I went to a meeting and immediately felt like it was the political home for me. I learned (and am still learning) so much about the occupation of Palestinian Territories and about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in general, as well as America’s role in it. With J Street, I am also developing a new Jewish identity that I believe is stronger because it doesn’t rely on dual loyalty; it relies on my Jewish values like freedom, peace and justice.

HC: What drew you into Hillel?

MR: I was drawn to Hillel because I felt like it was a safe space for me. It is student-led and filled with all different kinds of people! I felt comfortable in Hillel’s space because they didn’t judge me for not knowing prayers and I was welcomed with open arms. I was intimidated to enter a religious space without knowing much about this huge part of my identity, but I met so many other friends who are just like me. I feel like Hillel is a great way to meet new friends in such a big school and learn more about my religion.

HC: What exactly do you do during J Street meetings and Hillel services?

MR: In J Street, we have meetings around what we can do on our campus to ensure a two-state solution and an end to the occupation. This looks like educational body meetings and we plan events on campus that advocate for our beliefs. In Hillel, I go to Shabbat services on Friday nights! During the service, someone reads a Davar, where they relate the Torah portion to daily life. I like this because it relates specifically to our lives as college students. 

HC: You got to travel to Washington D.C and Los Angeles for J Street conventions. What was that experience like for you?

MR: Traveling was so much fun! I haven’t traveled much, and those two trips were my first times going to D.C. and L.A.! In D.C., we had our national conference where I got to meet and hear from so many leaders in the organization as well as learn so much about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Pod Save the World was there, and they interviewed a few presidential candidates, so it was super cool hearing from these political figures. I also got to lobby on Capitol Hill to advocate for a two-state solution and pass H.Res 326 (which passed!). LA was fun and informative because I got to attend leadership workshops and connect with J Street U leaders all around the country.

 

Courtesy: Moriah Richman

HC: Do you plan on applying for the J Street board next year?

MR: Yes!

HC: You’re only a freshman, how does it feel to be an intern at Hillel?

MR: It’s great! I’ve met a lot of interesting people in Hillel who hold other internship positions, as well as some excited students who are also planning to get more involved in J Street.

HC: What do these organizations mean to you?

MR: There’s definitely a lot to unpack in that question. But essentially, these two organizations mean very different things to me. J Street allows me to be a part of this important movement that cares about human rights and will continue to fight to make changes in our international community. Hillel allows me to meet tons of Jewish students and feel comfortable creating my own Jewish identity as I grow at FSU.

HC: Where do you see yourself in these organizations by the end of your college career?

MR: I see myself taking larger leadership roles within both groups, and hopefully making some impactful changes in each of them.

HC: Where do you see yourself in the future?

MR: It’s tough to say where I see myself in the future in terms of a career, but I do see myself traveling to Israel and Palestine, and doing some on-the-ground activism work there. I also see myself getting more involved in our local political arena. Whatever I do in the near-to-far future, I most importantly vision myself making an impact in our communities, local and global, helping others who face marginalization and systematic oppression.

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