Alumni Delta Talk: Jeremy Moskowitz ’08 Battles the Rising Tide of Antisemitism
As a vice president at Hillel International, an organization serving Jewish students on college campuses, Jeremy Moskowitz ’08 has had ample opportunity to observe the increase in antisemitism that has taken place over the past several years. But, as he explained to Rivers students at Wednesday’s Alumni Delta Talk, it’s important to note that that trend isn’t just about Jews.
“Antisemitism has been around for thousands of years. As long as there have been Jews, there have been people who hate Jews,” said Moskowitz. “But this doesn’t just relate to Jews. Where there is antisemitism, other kinds of hatred arise, hand in hand. As we see a rise in antisemitism, we see a rise in other kinds of hate.”
Moskowitz’s virtual return to campus, shared through a Zoom webinar, was the latest installment in the Delta Talks series, sponsored by the alumni office and the Center for Community and Civic Engagement at Rivers. The goal of the talks, said CCCE Director Amy Enright in her introductory remarks, is to “show students how Rivers graduates act on their responsibility to enact positive change, in a wide variety of ways.”
Moskowitz told the students about his trajectory at Hillel, rising from the lowest rungs of the organization to vice president—the youngest in the organization’s history—over his eight years there. After Rivers, Moskowitz headed to Duke, where he earned a degree in international/global studies. Come senior year, as peers committed to high-paying jobs in fields like banking and consulting, Moskowitz took what he described as “the lowest-paid job in the lowest-paid industry, nonprofits.” But, he says, “I did it because I could make a difference and be passionate and make a career of it.”
To be sure, he says, there were many steps between his entry-level position and the vice president spot, and every step had to be earned. In that process, he found himself drawing on his Rivers education in ways that were sometimes unexpected. In one instance he cited, he was able to volunteer for a crucial, last-minute mission to Argentina thanks to the strong grounding he received in Spanish at Rivers. At the Buenos Aires meeting, he was able to moderate a dispute among differing factions, which ultimately led to his being placed in charge of the organization’s Latin American operations. He eventually went on to oversee other regions including Russia, Ukraine, and Israel. The moral of the story, he said, “and not in a cheesy way, but if you mix passion with the strategic toolkit, and you soak up the resources available to you, you can do anything.”
Moskowitz recently left Hillel to pursue an MBA at NYU’s Stern School of Business. When Enright asked him about the pivot, Moskowitz responded, “I loved my job at Hillel, but I also saw that eventually I could have an even larger impact moving to the for-profit world.” And, to one day serve on the board of a nonprofit, he said, “I needed to have more hard business skills.”
Although Hillel serves Jewish college students, said Moskowitz, it would be a mistake to apply too narrow an understanding to the organization’s mission. Judaism is a culture and an ethnicity as well as a religion, he noted, and Jews may vary considerably in their practice and observance. Hillel tries to meet them where they are and help them build confidence in their Jewish identity, said Moskowitz. And building identity, he said, is crucial in the broadest sense, not just for Jews. “Whether you’re Jewish or Christian or Muslim, by building a stronger identity, you build a stronger campus. We have many other partners involved in this work, and that is what truly builds community.”