Abby Shuster

Worcester, Massachusetts

Major: Bible and American Studies    Interests: My classes, experimenting with new cooking techniques, diagnosing my friends' Meyers-Briggs personality types, reading many books at once, and making impromptu DIY projects.  

Extracurricular/Cocurricular Activities: I lead Columbia/Barnard Hillel's Pro-Israel Progressives, a left-leaning Zionist group; sporadically attend text classes at Yeshivat Hadar; and organized the "Your Judaism, Your Campus" conference, sponsored by JTS's Myers Rabbinic Initiative for Leadership, where college students met to discuss the future of traditional egalitarian Judaism.   

Three Favorite Things About List College:    1.    The combination of resources the Joint Program offers. Between JTS and Columbia, there are unparalleled library collections and a constant stream of renowned icons (last year I heard Peter Beinart and Jonathan Safran Foer speak in the same month). 2.    List College gives students boundless opportunities. For me, the experience of asking myself how I really want and need to spend my time has been transformative. No other college experience necessitates that intentionality in quite the same way. 3.    Classes.   

Three Favorite Things About Living in New York City:    1.    I've grown to love New York City's hidden nooks and understated corners, unassumingly nudging my introverted self to go on solo explorations. 2.    I'm blessed to have easy, proximate access to most anything. Living here is humbling without being paralyzing. 3.    The grid (of the city's streets) is very, very useful.   

My Favorite List College Class: Dr. Walter Herzberg's Advanced Exegesis of the Or Hahayim and Alshikh. It was surprising and powerful to see how medieval commentators paid careful attention to the psychological states of biblical characters, as well as the "why" questions undergirding mitzvot, Torah, and theology.    

One day I want to . . . learn how to crack eggs with one hand (which would certainly make me more efficient as a JTS mashgiah), wrap my head around Maimonides' philosophy, and be a parent.