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Zach Teicher

Religious Studies, 2007
Minors: History, Classics
White Plains, New York
Lilly Senior Keystone
Mac Jewish Organization
Macalester Multifaith Council
Mac Dems

Zach Teicher points to his time at Macalester as a direct link to his grounded outlook in life. As part of his minor in classics, Teicher participated in three archeological field trips, including two digs in Israel. “Digging in that ancient dirt connected me with the land of Israel and what it is to be an Israeli, an Arab-Israeli, a Palestinian. It changed my relationship with Israel, and contributed to my current job, my current politics.” Teicher is a communications and development associate with J Street, a Washington-based nonprofit established in 2008 to advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is no surprise that Zach now works in a faith-based NGO. “Macalester Jewish Organization, the Multifaith Council, and the larger Center for Religious and Spiritual Life community played a huge role in my time at Macalester. I relished being involved with my own faith community while at the same time coming together with students of different backgrounds to wrestle with tough questions about faith, religion, culture, and community.”

"Zach understands what it is to stand at a pivotal moment in history, that to be a global citizen we must have religious understanding across differences. He helped create Multifaith Council out of a deep desire to better understand his own Jewish tradition in the context of the world's religions." -Barry Cytron, Jewish Chaplain, CRSL

“I chose to attend Macalester because it was the only school where I saw political activity on the campus itself,” Teicher says. “As a student, I was totally focused on what was happening on campus. If I could do it over, I would do more in the greater community. One of the best things about Macalester is the opportunity to balance activities on campus with those beyond the campus.”

J Street is the second time Teicher joined an organization at its inception. Shortly after graduating from Macalester, he worked long hours as a field organizer for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign, coordinating staff and volunteer efforts in New Hampshire, Missouri, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania. When the campaign ended, he returned to Macalester as an assistant director for the school’s annual fundraising effort before moving to Washington, DC, to join J Street.

The connection between campaigning for a candidate and campaigning for a college is clear to Teicher. “The strategies needed to reach out to the different constituencies in politics transfer into mass appeal fundraising,” he notes. “An additional honor for me in returning to Macalester was that it added volumes of texture in what I saw as Macalester’s preparation of students.

“One of the true highlights of my own time as a student was the Lilly Senior Keystone retreat at Whidbey Island. I told all my friends, ‘You need to go on this trip!’ because it so shaped my views as I left Macalester. The vocabulary I use now I didn’t have before Whidbey.”

Not surprisingly, Teicher’s advocacy on behalf of so many campaigns aligns with his definition of a purposeful life. “Life is about passionate work for an issue or cause that moves you,” he says. “My work since leaving Macalester has honed that definition. It’s important to take a step back, look at the trajectory of what you are doing, and ensure that it actually is somehow for the greater good. ‘Save the world’ sounds a little hollow, but I believe Mac grads actually do that.”