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Schechter Alum Profile: Gabriela Geselowitz, SSLI Class of 2009

December 13, 2013
By SSLI Communications

This month we profile Gabriela Geselowitz, HS Class of 2009.  Gaby graduated from City University of New York William E. Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College (2013) and received her Double Major in Media (Journalism Concentration) and Theatre.  For Gaby’s Senior Thesis, she directed a “steampunk” production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was delighted to return to Schechter to see the HS Fall production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Gaby got her start as a journalist when she wrote for FRESH INK as a summer intern when she was 17.  She then interned at Jewish Week throughout college, and upon graduation, was offered a position at the newspaper. 

Gaby recently wrote an article for the Jewish Week about an Israeli play coming to America.  Gaby interviewed the playwright and star of the play.

What was your favorite memory of Schechter?

Gabriela: My favorite memory is being in the plays.  I only wish I had done it sooner.  In junior year, I was in the Fall Drama and in my senior year I was in the Spring Musical, Pippin.  One of the reasons I loved the Drama program is because all the kids really got along.  Kids from different social groups, when they got together to do the drama program, took it seriously.  It was a very committed group of kids.  There was an excitement level not seen in other clubs.

Another memory is of hanging out in the teachers’ lounge.  I feel that the teachers’ lounge at Schechter must be unique.  There is an open door policy where even though teachers should be on their down time, you can walk in and talk to them at any time.   Bless the teachers for putting up with that.   The Israel trip “was a huge thing” for me.  I had never been on a plane, to Israel, or out of the continent.  I went from The Brandeis School to SSLI, and even though I was raised with strong a connection to Israel, it was always theoretical - I ate Israeli candy, had teachers with thick Israeli accents but had never been there.  Going there was a whole other experience. 

Who is your favorite teacher?

Gabriela: Joan Cohen.  I am completely obsessed with Joan.  She is a one woman machine.  Every year she makes something from nothing.  Joan was a huge influence on my attraction to theater.   She doesn’t have the Turn off the Dark budget, but manages without fail to put on these amazing productions.

What clubs/activities were you involved in in High School? 

Gabriela: I was involved in everything - the Drama Department, Mathletes, Tzibor, the Book Club and Robotics club.  I was co-president of Chess Club and an editor of Paw Print.

Have you stayed in touch with any other alumni? If so, who? 

Gabriela: Sammie Ruthenberg, Reuben Berman and Leanne Gale.  I see Reuben in Manhattan.

What was the one thing you learned at Schechter that has stuck with you?

Gabriela: The AP Art history class was one of the best academic decisions of my life.  It provided me with practical, real world application.  I also have an extremely good grasp of Israel – its culture and my relationship to Israel.  I took a class in college about Israel culture, but already knew most of the information the professor was teaching. 

Going to a huge public college with an extremely diverse population was a  culture shock but I feel  I had a leg up because the teachers at Schechter made the effort to keep students abreast of and aware of the rest of world.  That helped to ease my transition into college.  I remember a Tzibur club program where people of many different faiths came to speak.  It was a significant program to talk about diversity.  It was also great being in an institution that values Conservative Judaism. 

How did Schechter prepare you for your chosen profession or path?

Gabriela: In my work at the Jewish Week, I focus on arts and theater when I can.  Schechter hooked me up with Fresh Ink and Paw Print.  (Former SSLI parent) Ken Bob started Paw Print and the level of serious journalism was intense.   Also, one can’t write or understand about theater without doing it.  You need practical experience and I got that at SSLI.

What would you like to say to our current students? 

Gabriela: Absolutely take advantage of open relationships with teachers at SSLI.  They are excellent for personal as well as academic support because of causal nature of student-teacher interaction.  Also, err on the side of doing everything in clubs.  High school comes but once in a lifetime.  Even though it is stressful, high school ends and then even if it feels tough, it’s not as bad as it seems. You can be cool after school.  I was weird in high school but now I’m a Brooklyn hipster – dreams come true. 

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