Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Andrew D. Pochter, 21, the Kenyon College rising junior and Hillel student leader who was killed on June 28 in Egypt, while on a quest for knowledge and understanding.
Andrew’s family, mentors, and friends describe him as a fun-loving, active student of the world with a facility for foreign languages. "He was one of the rare kids who lived what he believed," said Marc Bragin, Hillel director and Jewish chaplain at Kenyon.
"His belief was that everyone should be included, everyone had a voice, and no one should be left out because what they think is different than what others think. What really stands out to me about Andrew is how incredibly welcoming he was to different people and to different ideas. He had a passion for learning, for learning about other people and other cultures. Andrew was an amazing student and the loss of his spirit and voice will surely be felt for a long time.”
At Kenyon, Andrew was a religious studies major. He was reared in a home with both Christian and Jewish parents, said his mother, Elizabeth Pochter, and he had become interested in his Jewish heritage. He was co-manager of Hillel House. Andrew was also a member of the Middle Eastern Students Association (MESA). "Andrew was interested in the whole Jewish side and the whole Palestinian side," his mother said. His activity in the Middle Eastern Students Association was very important to him, she added.
A student of Arabic, Andrew had spent a gap year in Morocco before arriving at Kenyon. After completing his sophomore year at Kenyon, he traveled to Egypt to intern for AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organization engaged in international education, training and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa. He lived in an Egyptian home and taught English to young Egyptian children.
Kenyon Provost Nayef H. Samhat, noted, "He was a thoughtful and soft-spoken young man with a deep concern about the region and its transformation," Samhat said. "He had great intellectual curiosity, and his desire to better the Middle East clearly shaped his vision of what his life might be and where it might take him."
Andrew had planned to spend the spring 2014 semester studying in Amman, Jordan, as part of the AMIDEAST Education Abroad Program, to learn conversational fluency in Arabic and grasp a better understanding of the political and religious dynamics of the Middle East.
Andrew is survived by his parents, Elizabeth and Theodore Pochter, and sister, Emily. His mother shares that he was fun-loving, sweet, a great friend, and very attentive to friends and family. Andrew was also a great cook, and loved spending time in the kitchen, cooking with others.
May Andrew’s memory always be a blessing, and may God comfort his family among all the mourners of Zion.
*Highlights from Andrew’s story are sourced from Kenyon College's Office of Public Affairs. Learn more about Andrew from The Forward, JTA, and the Washington Post.