Featured Student: Cameron Erickson

Apr 10, 2016

Cameron Erickson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Growing up, his parents were both judges for the State of Minnesota, and of different political persuasions, which helped contribute to some heated arguments around the dinner table over politics and the ideological direction of the country.

Cameron EricksonCameron had many hobbies and activities growing up (such as classical piano for eleven years, competitive swimming for six years, musical theater and more); but found from an early age that while he became accomplished at many of these endeavors, he never was great. Two consistent passions where he always shined, however, were politics and helping other people. While still in high school, Cameron got his first paid job as a Campaign Worker, working for a US Congresswoman in St. Paul, Minnesota. He also logged-in over 400 volunteer service hours at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.

In 2011, Cameron enrolled as a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where he obtained his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science in 2015. He credits most of his best learning experiences to what occurred outside the classroom, as he avidly pursued his passions both on and off campus. In the winter of 2012, he started an internship at President Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago. While at the Obama headquarters, he was offered the opportunity to transition to Davenport, Iowa to work as a Field Organizer for the last three months of the 2012 Presidential campaign (where he met President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and others).

After returning to DePaul in January of 2013, Cameron was encouraged by his Jewish maternal grandmother Rose, to begin exploring his Jewish roots. He got more involved in AEPi, the Jewish fraternity on campus, and started learning more about the Jewish People and our connection with Israel. He visited Israel for the first time in December of 2013 as a Birthright fellow, and Cameron began his enduring love affair with Israel and Judaism. Advocating for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship became his passion. He was able to combine his knowledge of the political process and his study of Jewish continuity in the 21st century to channel this passion. He started attending AIPAC training opportunities in 2013 and began broadening the pro-Israel community at DePaul University. He attended his first AIPAC Policy Conference that year as DePaul’s only delegate, and by 2015 brought with him to Washington DC 12 other student leaders. He spent the summer of 2014 in Washington DC as an AIPAC Diamond Summer Intern, and in 2015 was presented the AIPAC Activist of the Year Award.

Cameron was positively influenced by JET (Jewish Education Team in Chicago) and their inspiring programs (including Maimonides 1 and 2 and lots of Shabbatot). They were helpful in his Jewish growth including his decision to come to Yeshiva, for which he is very grateful.

Since arriving at Shapell’s last August at a beginner level, Cameron has been steadily increasing his literacy in Judaism and, as he put it, “building a solid foundation upon which to continue building a lifetime of learning and personal growth.” He has also been an active member of the student body, serving on the Student Advisory Board. Earlier this year he welcomed his parents when they visited the Yeshiva, and enjoyed introducing them to his rabbis and friends.

Cameron shared, “I am having an incredible experience in every way. My favorite part about being in Israel for the year has been traveling around the country for unique Shabbat experiences.” He looks forward to traveling back to the Midwest in August and seeking opportunities in politics, community and government relations. We are proud that he will do so not just as a future leader, but as a future Jewish leader!

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