All my friends from Schechter are following their dreams, and thriving at everything from medicine to government to finance to sports journalism. I felt prepared for college both academically and with the ability to balance different classes and commitments. A lot of other students felt frazzled by the many moving parts of college in a way that I don’t think was as challenging for me, my brothers at Cornell, or my friends after four years of a dual curriculum at Schechter; where we balanced English and math but also Bible and Hebrew, student government and literary magazine, cross country or tennis.
The teachers and administration were interested in every aspect of my development. The faculty room was open every day, so students could pop in and ask questions, whether related to the class or not. Teachers spent time looking at students’ college essays, and were excited to write recommendations, not just because they wanted their students to get into their dream schools but because it was easy to write about students they had formed genuine connections with and had watched grow and develop through high school.
At Yale I am surrounded by Rhodes Scholars, children of judges, and other wildly impressive students. For many of them, the path that led them to YLS was tried and true. When I think about the foundations of my pursuit of a legal career, my first thought is to high school rabbinics classes. They were my first foray into statutory interpretation. The first time I closely grappled with an authoritative text in a deep and sophisticated way. The entire dual curriculum taught me to think critically, engage with differing opinions, and communicate effectively. This is what helps me feel confident among my brilliant classmates, and this is why my friends are also succeeding in such a wide array of professions. The intellectually maturity we developed at Schechter is useful to any pursuit, and has been able to flourish because of its strong foundation.
I am grateful for the Jewish values I learned at Schechter; they remain an important part of my identity. Schechter helped prepare me for my time running the Jewish Law Students Association and for the Jewish Law conference at Yale I’m planning right now. I’m also planning a YLS spring break trip to Israel, and I can’t wait to impress my friends with my Hebrew! But despite the awesome itinerary we’re putting together, I know it won’t compare to my senior trip to Israel, which was the perfect capstone to my time at Schechter and solidified the bond I shared with my classmates, our teachers and administrators, and with our Jewish identity and relationship to Israel.
Schechter is the kind of place where you get to know everyone; there are no divisions by class year. I am still in touch with my peer connector as a freshman, and with the freshmen I mentored as a peer connector when I was a senior. My brothers’ friends have become my friends, and vice versa. Running into a Schechter classmate—whether three years older or two years younger—is always running into a friend.