April 14, 2024
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Shoshana Schechter Named Stern College’s First Associate Dean of Torah Studies

(Courtesy of YU) Shoshana Schechter (’91) has been named the first associate dean for Torah studies at Stern College for Women. She will work, starting on July 1, under Dr. Karen Bacon, the Mordecai D. Katz and Monique C. Katz dean of the undergraduate faculty of arts and sciences.

Schechter began her career at Yeshiva University in 1998. She is a highly respected member of Stern College’s Rebecca Ivry department of Jewish studies and currently serves as the director of the Mechina Pathways Basic Jewish Studies program, which she established 16 years ago. The program provides an intellectual, spiritual and communal framework for young women with little formal Jewish education so that they can build their own paths to knowledge and observance. Approximately 30 students join the program every year.

In addition to her new administrative responsibilities, Schechter will continue as director of the Mechina program as well as an instructor for two Bible courses next semester.

Schechter is a graduate of Stern College for Women and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism.

“We are so pleased that Shoshana Schechter will join the leadership team at Stern College,” said Dr. Botman. “She will apply her remarkable skills as an effective academic and popular mentor to the entire student body of the Beren campus. The true beneficiaries of this appointment are the students.”

The newly established position of associate dean of Torah studies was initially envisioned by Dr. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, and modeled after Rabbi Yosef Kalinksy’s former role as associate dean of undergraduate Torah studies at Yeshiva College. In this new position, Schechter’s goal will be to merge Beren’s academic Jewish studies with religious life and experience at Stern. The idea is to ensure that “academic programs and extracurricular activities on campus complement and support each other,” said Dr. Bacon.

Dr. Bacon also went on to note that “Mrs. Schechter’s track record as both a Jewish Studies faculty member and as someone dedicated to students’ spiritual growth outside the classroom make her ideal for this position.”

“We need to continue to innovate and improve,” Schechter said. “We call ourselves Yeshiva University, but really, the uptown Wilf campus has been more of a yeshiva. We hope to make Stern College for Women a makom Torah on all levels because the beit midrash needs to be a central focal point.”

Schechter plans on creating student focus groups from various walks of life and majors, including members of the graduate program in advanced Talmudic studies, to determine the best ways to ignite Jewish life on the Beren campus.

“Our goal is to promote Torah learning at the foremost center of Judaic studies for women in America,” Schechter said.

According to many of her former and current students, her appointment is one of the best decisions YU has ever made. Erica Sultan (’22) describes her teacher as “a woman who has made it her life’s mission to bring Torah into people’s lives and have them fall in love with it in a very comfortable way.”

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