By Sophie Fisher ‘21, News Editor
After serving as Heschel’s Jewish and Student Life (JSL) Fellow this past year, Shoshana Lauter is moving on to pursue a career in medical sociology. “I would be incredibly lucky to work in an environment as thoughtful as Heschel again,” Lauter shared. “The faculty and students are remarkably kind, generous, and engaged.” While she did not initially anticipate that her role as JSL Fellow would include counseling young people, Lauter found that one of the most rewarding aspects of the position was helping students develop their leadership skills.
Lauter is a Heschel graduate, which gave her a unique lens as a faculty member. She grew up in Atlanta but moved to New York at the age of 11 and began attending Heschel middle school as a sixth grader, remaining through senior year.
Following her graduation from Heschel High School, Lauter went on Kivunim, a travel-oriented gap year program started by Heschel founder Peter Geffen. She then studied sociology at Barnard College, where she participated in political organizing, working for Planned Parenthood and in a Bronx hospital.
After college, Lauter went on to get a masters degree in medical sociology from the University of Cambridge. “I think a lot about healthcare systems and the ways that patients and providers interact, as well as about racial and class inequity,” Lauter explained.
When Lauter returned to New York after receiving her masters degree, she was looking for a job and thought the JSL Fellowship could be a meaningful experience between her studies and future career. “In college and graduate school, I disconnected a bit from the Jewish community,” Lauter said. “So one of the things I have loved most about this job is reconnecting with Jewish practice and getting to know the people who have continued to build the culture of the school since I was last here.” On top of planning Hesed days and being the facilitator for the Hesed Council, Lauter spent the year applying to medical school and graduate programs so she could continue to study how psychiatry can support the mental health of people in low income, predominantly African American communities.
“Thinking about social responsibility in school is incredibly unique to Heschel,” Lauter remarked, praising the way the faculty cultivate an engaged student body.
On a personal note, I have had the pleasure of working with Lauter on the Hesed Council this year. She led the committee with skill and compassion. As someone who has always cared about community service and social justice, having a council facilitator with such expertise and passion in these areas was inspiring. While the Heschel community will certainly miss Lauter at school next year, we wish her every success in her future endeavors.