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Carleton Rabbi to retire by June

Rabbi Shoshana “Shosh” Dworsky will vacate her position in June

Rabbi Shoshana Dworsky, Carleton’s Jewish chaplain, is set to retire by the end of the year. Dworsky, known as “Shosh” by many students on campus, has been the chaplain for Jewish and interreligious life for the last seventeen years. Dworsky is the fourth chaplain to step down in the last year.


Dworsky’s replacement is expected to take over next year, but the Office of the Chaplain is assembling a committee to find her replacement.


The college announced her resignation in an email to the entire college on Thursday, Jan. 4, but Dworsky announced her intended retirement in an email to the Jewish Students of Carleton the prior afternoon.


In Dworsky’s email to the JSC, she encouraged students to continue to use her as a resource. “I hope it goes without saying that you are absolutely invited to reach out if you’d like to chat about what’s on your mind,” Dworsky wrote. “Be it personal or political, local or global, Torah or just life (really, those last two are synonymous).” Dworsky, who leads several weekly services for the JSC on Friday nights as well as a Chapel-sponsored program known as Bagels and the Book, will continue those duties, as well as others, for the remainder of the academic year.


Annabel Cohen ’23, the former president of the Jewish Students of Carleton, commented that “While I was a student, Shosh was always there to support Jewish interests and help our community come together.”


Dworsky’s retirement comes as the college has recently hired Laura Levitt, a Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion, to teach the Religion Department’s Introduction to Judaism.


Though Dworsky will be leaving Carleton at the end of the year, it’s not clear whether she will vacate her joint position at St. Olaf. The two Northfield colleges share Shosh as a chaplain of Jewish life on the two campuses. The schools have, in the past, shared Muslim chaplains, but there’s been no agreement between the schools to share the new incoming Jewish chaplain.


Dworsky’s retirement opens up conversations about a new Jewish chaplain. Head Chaplain Schuyler Vogel commented that “it’s definitely a challenge to convince people to commute 45 minutes down from the cities for a half-time position.” Chaplain Vogel continued: “It’s important for the college to understand that any hire is going to be more difficult because of the nature of that job.” Though the process to find a new chaplain is in its early stages, Rabbi Shosh will continue to stay involved until June 2024. Vogel added, “We in the Chapel will obviously miss Shosh, and she’s been gracious enough to stay for the remainder of the academic year.”


Chaplain Vogel added that the search process will work closely with student interests. “Our goal is to have a group of students put their input into the process.” Vogel encouraged students to be involved and raise their comments and concerns on a new chaplain throughout the process. “The position is for students. We want the campus to feel involved in the search process and interviewing two to three candidates.”


This process has raised some questions about what an associate chaplain for the Jewish Community of Carleton looks like. Though Rabbi Dworsky is a rabbi, ordained in the Conservative movement of Judaism’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), Dworsky’s replacement doesn’t necessarily have to be a rabbi. Chaplain Vogel commented that “An ideal chaplain will be someone who can communicate and cooperate with the Jewish community and the larger campus. We’re open to both a rabbi or a Jewish educator. Like chaplains, there’s a Rabbinical shortage in the US. We want someone to best serve the role, and we’re willing to work with the Jewish community to best find that person.”


Chaplain Vogel added that a good chaplain is necessary at this time around the country for Jewish students. “Jewish communities around the country are going through difficult times. An ideal chaplain can bridge divided Jewish communities.”


Though no new chaplain has been found, the chapel wants to continue to extend its gratitude to Rabbi Dworsky for her work. When asked about Shosh’s impact on the Chaplain’s office, Chaplain Vogel added that “Shosh’s departure will be felt by all of us, not just the Jewish students on campus.” Vogel continued by saying that “The chapel is sad that her [Dworsky’s] tenure of seventeen years is coming to an end.” The chaplain added, “We know that we’ve been truly blessed by her presence.”

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Bax Meyer
Bax Meyer, Managing Editor
Hey, all! I'm Bax (he/him), and I'm a junior Econ major with a Middle East Studies minor. I love talking about Middle East politics and American Indian Treaty Rights. I'll always send you good book or movie recomendations. You can probably find me on campus wandering the arb, on 1st libe, or at step areobics. I like dad jokes, American Indian Treaty Rights, shawarma, and publishing my hot takes in the Carletonian anonymously.
Red flags: econ major, will judge you for using the Oxford comma, and hates geese
Green flags: Middle East Studies minor, still uses the Oxford comma, and quotes the Star Wars prequels on the daily
Bax was previously Managing Director and Viewpoint Editor.

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