By Lisa Woolfson
Sophomore Meira Goldfischer says that school has always been her first priority. But as president of Hamsa UMD and a cabinet member of Terps for Israel, no one can accuse her of not being involved in extracurriculars. Hamsa is the only Jewish LGBTQ+ group on campus and anyone who is part of that community or an ally is welcome, no matter their religious denomination.
“Making a safe place for other Jewish queers on campus is something that makes me very happy,” she said.
Goldfischer has helped re-establish board positions and is currently revamping the website, Instagram page and anything she can to get the Hamsa name back out there. She is also focusing not just on the Hillel community, but also the north campus community which she often feels is overlooked.
“One of her priorities and passions is making sure people know they’re safe in this community,” said Madison Fischman, a sophomore environmental engineering major and the treasurer of Hamsa, in addition to other creative duties.
Fischman added, “Even during our board meetings…we’re all very close and happen to be friends as well and she’s made sure to make it a space where we discuss the club seriously and not just letting the hour or two meeting pass by.”
After each meeting, every board member leaves with an assignment that they are expected to have completed by the next meeting.
Goldfischer is also an advocate for Israel and is a member of Terps for Israel. In high school, she completed a year-long internship with Stand With Us, a non-profit, pro-Israel educational organization.
“I knew that when I came to college, I definitely wanted to be able to do something to advocate for Israel,” she said. She came to college after a year of living in Israel and said that seeing some anti-Israel sentiment on campus strengthened her love of Israel.
Since last semester, she has been working in educational positions as a member of Terps for Israel. She has been doing a lot of education on the latest Israeli elections and also about what the land of Israel is like. This semester she has done a lot of tabling.
Goldfischer is also very active in opposing BDS bills on campus.
“I do think the BDS bill really does impact me along with a few other people because the pride alliance is a co-sponsor of it, so when that comes along, members of Hamsa don’t feel too great…they don’t really feel welcomed. If it gets brought back to campus this year, I will be speaking out against it and just educating people.”
She says she truly believes that BDS comes about from people who are misinformed about the issues.
Ben Rosenbaum, a junior history and secondary social studies education major, was the Terps for Israel education chair last semester and Goldfischer was a member of his cabinet. He said, “She’s a very dedicated worker. On the things she really, really cares about…one of the things was about building relationship between Terps for Israel and the LGBT community. She really put in a lot of effort with that. And it’s really challenging because she’s had a hard time finding a crossover appeal.”
But Goldfischer’s Jewish activism goes beyond the on-campus Jewish world.
“In her desire to spread goodness and truth in the world she talks to people who either have hateful opinions or don’t even know about what’s going on and she’s able to work around that hate or that ignorance,” said Tova Goldfischer, Meira’s older sister.
“I’m older than her, but I look up to everything she does,” she added.
Meira is also very involved in Hillel. She first got here during her second semester last year, so she had a hard time meeting people. She said that she used to sit on the couch in Hillel and work there all day and that’s how she made friends.
“Now my life at Maryland really centralizes at Hillel,” she said.