Lauren Schuchart

Year '11-'12, PCJE '12-'13

Upon graduation from college, I worked at Penn State Hillel, where I fell in love with the work of helping students engage in Judaism and Jewish tradition. In exploring life’s big questions with students, I came to learn that I had many of my own, and decided to take some time studying at the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies.

During my time at Pardes, I expanded my Jewish knowledge and literacy in a supportive and warm environment. I built a network of friends and colleagues who continue to be among my most treasured relationships. I explored my personal connection to Judaism, engaged in spiritual practice, and lived the rhythm of the Jewish holidays for the first time. I developed relationships with teachers who pushed and challenged me, and modeled for me what it means to be a patient and passionate educator.

The gifts and benefits I received from the Pardes Experiential Education Program – which I had the privilege of joining for a second year at Pardes – are still unfolding for me. As the Associate Director of Berkeley Hillel, my work is inspired by the Jewish learning that I did during my time in Israel. More confident in my own practice and knowledge, I am able to integrate Judaism into different aspects of my work and share my passion with students. Being an alumna of the Experiential Educators Program means that I am part of a network of unique, committed, and thoughtful individuals, with whom I often connect for mentorship and collegiality.

The Pardes Experiential Educators Program not only taught me how to be an educator, but it also nurtured my mind and soul. I carry this spirit with me every day, as I strive to build strong Jewish communities and create meaningful Jewish opportunities on campus.

Lauren Schuchart
Associate Director, UC Berkeley Hillel