Michelle Carr

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Student

First-year Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) student Michelle Carr loves teaching and finds it to be a tremendous outlet for creativity.

For nearly 15 years, Michelle has taught and supervised educators and counselors who are seeking Master’s licensure at Manhattan College. Michelle received her Masters in clinical mental health counseling from Manhattan College and an MBA from NYU. She says, “While most of my experience has been directed toward guiding students in community project-based work, I have maintained a small private practice, supporting learning-challenged students. I am now working with the Center for Jewish Life at the Washington Heights/Inwood YM&YWHA (the “Y”), which serves a diverse constituency through critical social services with programs in mental health, education, social justice, and caring for those in need.”

She explains what brought her to HUC. “I had spent one year in a Psychology Ph.D. program and realized my goals – both professionally and intellectually – were not being met. I always wondered about HUC. So, one day when I was meeting some friends in the Village, I walked in and immediately felt this was home. I called Jennifer Harper, Director of the Interfaith Doctor of Ministry program, and she was, and still is, amazing. I didn’t know I was seeking a theological perspective in my counseling profession. I am learning so much, but most importantly, I am taking my counseling into a whole new realm. I am also learning so much from my cohort on how to impart my skills in a new way.”

Michelle is also working on two projects: “Better Together” brings Jewish teens and older adults to learn together and develop mitzvot-based projects. The second, the “Jewish-Latinx Youth Council” brings together local Jewish and Latinx high school students to work on relationship building through social action projects, communal and identity exploration, and joint learning. In addition, weekly individual and group counseling sessions for senior residents take place in Wien House, an adjacent supportive housing unit for low-income seniors.”

Michelle shares a reflection for Women’s History Month:

In the book “Women of Valor, Stories of Great Jewish Women Who Helped Shape the Twentieth Century,” the first to make an appearance is Rose Schneiderman, my great-great-aunt Rose. At a time when it was more important to educate sons rather than daughters, Rose’s father urged her to study hard and pursue her dream of being a teacher. He died before this could happen. Six days a week, ten hours a day, 13-year-old Rose was bent over a sewing machine on the lower east side. Disgusted at the treatment of the workers, Rose assembled 20,000 workers, formerly isolated women, from 150 shops and led them in the first uprising that New York City had ever seen – the first uprising of women in U.S. history. The exhilaration was to be temporary, as overcrowded workrooms filled with piles of flammable oily rags caused the tragic 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, killing 147 Jewish and Italian women.

In the aftermath of the fire, Rose Schneiderman’s cry for social justice was heard throughout New York City and the state. She was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1926, she was elected president of the National WTUL, a post she retained until her retirement. In 1933, she was the only woman to be appointed to the National Recovery Administration’s Labor Advisory Board by President Roosevelt, and was a member of Roosevelt’s “brain trust” during that decade.

From 1937 to 1944 Rose was secretary of labor for New York State and campaigned for the extension of social security to domestic workers and for equal pay for female workers. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, she was involved in efforts to rescue European Jews. Albert Einstein wrote her: “It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution to rescuing our persecuted fellow Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future.”

Over the decades, Aunt Rose continued to play a major role in the battle for the rights of working women: minimum wages, equal pay for equal work, unemployment insurance, and of course safety in the workplace. When she died in 1972, the New York Times remembered her as “the person who did more to upgrade the dignity and living standards of working women than any other American.”

What Aunt Rose accomplished, this tikkun olam, an act of repairing the world, was no short of a miracle. Her concern for the protection of those who labored included all races and her spirit has glowed throughout her lifetime.