When Traci Moran moved from Pikesville to Alaska three years ago, she had no idea what she was in for.
“I thought the whole world was Jewish,” said Moran. “It was such a culture shock to leave Pikesville.”
Not only did Moran leave Pikesville, but she moved across the continent to live on an Army base with a town full of strangers. When her husband, Jared, was deployed in late 2011, she was left to raise her young daughter largely by herself. To make matters more complicated, she was also starring in a reality TV series based on her life and the lives of the other women on base with husbands overseas.
Young and outspoken, Moran was the focus of a lot of attention, both negative and positive.
When she mentioned charoset in one episode, she was overwhelmed by the number of women who reached out to her with their own tales of maintaining their Jewish faith in an overwhelmingly Christian military community.
Today, she maintains a YouTube channel, where she discusses everything from Judaism to cursing.
In Alaska, she had to travel more than 20 minutes to the nearest synagogue, and it wasn’t uncommon for services to be canceled because of moose camped out on the porch.
“To keep up with a Jewish lifestyle takes dedication, it’s next to impossible, and nobody understands it,” said Moran. But instead of giving in and putting her religion on hold, Moran said the difficulties she and her family have faced have only strengthened their Judaism. While Jared was stationed overseas during Chanukah, without another practicing Jewish colleague or even a menorah, he made do with eight chem lights and his own prayers. While Moran was in Alaska alone with her baby daughter, she made sure to hold onto as much Jewish tradition as she could, even if it was just for the two of them.
Moran plans to post another video soon that will provide viewers with a Jewish take on Christmas. While a lot of her content so far has been a random assortment of whatever is on her mind, Moran said she plans on focusing her future posts more on the Jewish experience.
Check out Moran’s YouTube channel