Mott and Sean Savage/JNS.org
Part of this story originally appeared in the
Cleveland Jewish News
Driscoll Pochter, a Jewish student at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, was
fatally stabbed June 28 in Alexandria during clashes between government
supporters and protesters trying to oust Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as the two attend the 50th anniversary African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 2013. Egyptian protesters from the country’s Christian and secular minorities have accused the U.S. administration of supporting Morsi’s Islamist government at their expense. Credit: State Department.
a 21-year-old from Chevy Chase, Md., was observing the Egyptian demonstrations,
according to a statement from the U.S. State Department. He had a special
talent for making others feel welcome–especially when inviting them into the
Hillel House on the campus of Kenyon, a private liberal arts college two hours
south of Cleveland, said Marc Bragin, Kenyon’s Hillel director and Jewish
was one of those rare college students that had a purpose and a vision that
everyone should have a voice and everyone should be included and have a chance
to share their point of view, whether he agreed with them or not,” Bragin told
the Cleveland Jewish News.
Pochter traveled to Egypt at the end of the
academic year as an intern for AMIDEAST, an American nonprofit organization
engaged in international education, training and development activities in the
Middle East and North Africa. He taught English to Egyptian children and lived
in an Egyptian home. He planned to return to Kenyon in the fall to begin his
junior year and wanted to spend next spring’s semester in Amman, Jordan to attain
fluency in Arabic and develop a better understanding of the political and
religious dimensions of the Middle East.
Bragin said Pochter took an interest in other
people and different cultures, especially the Middle East.
“His passion was peace in the Middle East,”
Bragin said. “I believe he truly was working toward that. He wanted to share
his voice and understanding that that could happen and wanted to do his part to
make sure the process could continue.”
Pochter spent the last academic year as
co-manager of the Hillel House at Kenyon. He became a resident of the house and
was responsible for all Jewish life programming that took place on campus. He
was often the first person students came in contact with upon entering the
“He really made Hillel House an all-inclusive
place that people felt comfortable entering no matter their background,” Bragin
Pochter was also a member of the college’s rugby
club and the Middle Eastern Students Association, and served as philanthropy
chair for his fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi. He was a religious studies major.
Dean of Students Henry P. Toutain said in a
statement on the college’s website that a memorial service for Pochter will be
held in the fall.
“Andrew’s voice and spirit will be missed on
campus,” Bragin said. “When one shining light gets extinguished it’s up to us
to continue his vision of peace, inclusiveness and fairness for everybody.”
Protesters accuse U.S. government of