Slain College Student Andrew Pochter Driven by Jewish Values to Help Egypt

'Passion To Help' Sent Him Back to Turbulent Middle East

Proud and Idealistic: Andrew Pochter was remembered as an idealistic star at his high school — and one who was keenly aware of his Jewish faith.
courtesy of blue ridge school
Proud and Idealistic: Andrew Pochter was remembered as an idealistic star at his high school — and one who was keenly aware of his Jewish faith.

By Anne Cohen

Published June 29, 2013.
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Pochter impressed his hosts in Morocco as a down-to-earth, earnest person who embraced learning about everyday life in the Muslim world.

Hachimi Taoufik, a teacher who taught Arabic to Pochter in al-Jadida, Morocco, told Al-Arabiya that Pochter spent most of his time staying in modest homes despite having a host family that lived in a palatial villa.

“He loved to go buy sardine sandwiches — he loved to come home and cook with my wife and kids, Taoufik recalled. “He even liked to go grocery shopping to cook some of the meals he wanted to share with us,”

Pochter’s optimism about the region and his ability to make a different was palpable after he returned from the region.

“I just think he felt really energized about being able to do something to help work out a better resolution to the issues that we currently have over there,” the teacher said.

Bragin said that eagerness to learn and help were what drove Pochter back to the region.

“He was curious, he was passionate about the Middle East,” Bragin said. “He really wanted to help people. It was evident from his actions that he tried to do that every single day. “

According to a statement released on the newly created “RIP Andrew Driscoll Pochter” Facebook page, Pochter had been planning to spend his spring semester in Jordan.

“Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned,” the statement read, adding a request that his family’s privacy be respected during this difficult time.

People from all over the world rushed to post their condolences on the social media page, some family acquaintances and friends, but also strangers from as far away as Europe, and of course, the Middle East.

Ragaa Moustafa Mohamed was one of many Egyptians who apologized to the family on behalf of her country for the killing. They called him a martyr in their own struggle for democracy.

“I know that no words can bring u peace,” she wrote. “As an Egyptian I feel responsible for ur loss … I promise u that we won’t stop & ur sons legacy will continue … & we are extremely sorry beyond description.”

Friends from high school also shared some memories on the school’s Facebook page.

“Everyone that went to BRS while Andrew was there can attest that they have multiple stories that are some of their favorite memories included Andrew in them,” wrote Anderson Will Moss, who played lacrosse with Pochter for the Blue Ridge Barons. “Andrew wanted everyone to love each other, so that is what we can do to honor him.”


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