Introducing Jewish TikTok influencer of the month – Adam Bershad. Adam is a 26-year-old Hillel professional who graduated from Temple University in 2018 and then made the move down to sunny Orlando Florida. In addition, he is currently studying for a Masters in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. During the beginning of the Pandemic, Adam started producing TikToks and realized to gain traction on his videos, he needed to find his niche. During Passover 2020, Adam started making more Jewish content when he was home with his family, and it just took off from there! That’s how Jewishadam was born.
Where are you from?
West Windsor, New Jersey
What did you do Jewish growing up?
I grew up having Shabbat dinner with family and friends every week, which was the spark that made me love Judaism. I also went to Beth El Synagogue on a regular basis, had my Bar Mitzvah there, and went to Hebrew school. Over the summer I went to Sleep Away Camp at Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake and Camp Tel Yehudah and made it to Israel for the first time in 2013 on Young Judaea Machon.
What do you do for work?
I am finishing up my time as the Director of Jewish Student Life at Central Florida Hillel in Orlando and will be starting as the Director of Engagement and Israel Experiences at Maryland Hillel next month.
What is your favorite part about creating TikToks?
I love engaging with the wider Jewish community. In many of my videos, I pose a question and ask people to comment their answers. I love seeing the variety of Jewish experiences we all have! I also love teaching knowledge on topics I am passionate about like Jewish food, Israel, and Jewish genealogy among other things.
What is your favorite video you produced?
This is a tough one! I don’t know if I can pick one, but I love making videos with my girlfriend when we get to see each other. I’m in luck because we’re moving in together.
What is the craziest experience/comment/ reaction you have had on your videos?
I recently got back from Israel, staffing a Birthright Israel trip. At Ben Gurion Airport, I was looking for food to eat before the flight and came across a pizza place. Food in Israel is some of the best in the world, but I’ll never be able to get behind corn on pizza. Made a video about the pizza on display. The comment section on that video is wild. Got lots of hate, but it’s all fun and games!
Tell us about antisemitism on TikTok?
Antisemitism on TikTok is bad and is unfortunately normalized. Before TikTok existed, I knew this issue was there on social media, but the way TikTok works has definitely created a more serious situation by giving a platform to people who don’t like us. The way the algorithm works, it puts many of their videos on Jewish TikTok. Those types of people are lost, but there are others who are ignorant and just don’t realize they are making Antisemitic remarks. These are the types that are willing to learn and open their eyes. It’s given us as Jews a platform to speak out and band together all over the world which has been a good thing to come out of it.
What is your favorite way to spend Shabbat?
Shabbat is my favorite day! Especially Shabbat dinner. Working for Hillel, I generally get to experience dinner with my students each week during the school year and get to exude my pride in the day of rest with them. I love bringing them into a warm environment and making sure they eat enough food! Shabbat is many students’ first experience with us. With that said, when I’m not at Hillel, I love being able to cook for my family and friends. Shabbat dinner was probably one of the earlier meals I would cook. Growing up I’d help my mom prepare for our company. Whether it’s perfecting my hummus (Michael Solomonov’s Zahav recipe is THE BEST) and challah or trying new recipes to go with it, I’ll never get tired of cooking for loved ones. In addition, while I’m not shomer Shabbat, I make it a point to rest in my own way. My favorite quote is by Ahad Ha’am, and he says, “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.”
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