By Molly Zatman | WJW Intern
Micah Gritz, 20, is the chief operating officer of Jewish on Campus, an organization founded by students to address antisemitism at college. Raised in Rockville and an alum of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, he is now in this third year at Tufts University. He spends his free time working as the communications director for his university’s Friends of Israel chapter and serving on his Hillel’s student board.
What is Jewish on Campus?
Jewish on Campus was founded in 2020 as a social media campaign on Instagram to amplify the voices of Jewish students and combat antisemitism on campus. Quickly, Jewish on Campus realized it had potential to become so much more than a social media campaign as people were gravitating toward the platform as a way to combat antisemitism on campus and seeking additional help on the ground. JOC quickly reached 10,000 followers in 2020 and now we’re almost reaching 40,000.
How did you get involved?
When I was first looking at schools, antisemitism didn’t cross my mind. I was looking at small liberal arts schools in the Northeast and Midwest. I ended up applying to Tufts early decision and I got in. After, we were going around in my Hebrew class discussing where we had gotten into school and I mentioned I was going to Tufts. At the end of class, my teacher pulled me aside and said, you’re going to Tufts? She told me it’s one of the most antisemitic schools in the country. I was dumbfounded. I’d never heard such a thing. I didn’t think anything would happen to me.
I ended up doing a virtual pre-orientation for Tufts, where they advertised this new campaign launching at Tufts for the Deadly Exchange, which is a conspiracy theory that prominent American Jewish organizations and the State of Israel are responsible for police brutality and systemic racism in the United States. It builds on this long development of blood libels against the Jewish community, claiming that Jews have blood on their hands, now in the form of a national collective. I remember reaching out to student leaders, voicing that I and other students I talked to felt uncomfortable. They advised me to simply turn my screen off or turn the volume down, which I felt was a very inappropriate answer.
I found Jewish on Campus on Instagram around July 2020. There were stories from students just like me, even from students at Tufts, who had experienced antisemitism. I was like, wow, it’s not just me that’s experiencing this not alone. I ended up essentially becoming a part of the cult following.
I ended up reaching out, seeking to launch a campaign at my university. They onboarded me and that’s where I got my start. Now, I’m privileged enough to be chief operating officer, where I manage the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Are you going to pursue a career in the Jewish world full-time?
I’m studying international security and Judaic studies. My hope is to pursue a career in this world full time after college. I want to build Jewish on Campus into an organization with my colleagues that is long lasting and one day will be able to help my kids on campus.
I’d love to also eventually pursue a career in international relations background. I love this space that I’m entering because I think it’s a perfect intersection of my passion for fighting for the Jewish community, but then also entering the political in this nonprofit sphere. It’s one that I’m incredibly passionate about.
What advice do you have for Jewish high schoolers and college students?
Don’t hesitate. Don’t let antisemitism stop or alter where you apply to university. Just stay strong in your Jewish identity, and that’s all that matters.