Shimmy Socol, Yeshiva University High School for Boys
Students of all ages and backgrounds come to Yeshiva University to pursue a range of professional and personal dreams, from scientific research and medicine to law, Jewish education and the creative arts. Our students seek to harness their unique talents and YU education to make a lasting impact on the world around them. This spring, when they graduate from YU, these new alumni will hit the ground running.
Meet the Class of 2016.
He’s only graduating from high school, but Shimmy Socol of Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy/Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) has already led an impressive career as a photographer and videographer.
Since becoming fascinated with the medium while editing his own bar mitzvah video, Socol has run his own film and photography production company, working together with his siblings to capture visually stunning images for weddings, promotional films and personal projects alike. He’s been commissioned by organizations that range from Yachad to the Harlem Globetrotters, who he recently shot at Madison Square Garden, and the band Zusha, for whom he is the photographer.
As a sophomore, Socol and fellow student Yisroel Loewy ’15YUHS were presented with an award and commendation from CSPAN for their entry—one of more than 2,500—to its StudentCam documentary competition. Their film, “Made in the USA,” was a passionate argument for the repatriation of American manufacturing across the food, apparel and technology sectors, taking to the New York City streets to illustrate how outsourcing jobs has affected the local middle class. But for Socol, the documentary is just one of many projects that he’s invested his heart and soul in throughout his high school years.
“I try to be passionate about everything I do and get involved in crazy amounts of things,” said Socol. His time at MTA is a testament to that philosophy: whether he’s working on an issue of The Academy News as editor-in-chief, competing with the school’s debate team, or covering a basketball game as a member of LionsLive, a broadcast team dedicated to MTA’s sports teams. “As my rebbe says, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person—what’s one more thing?’ ” said Socol.
As a third generation Yeshiva University graduate—following his grandparents Sheldon ’54YUHS, ’58YC and Ginger Socol ’59S, and his parents Jeffrey ’80YUHS, ’85YC, and Robyn Socol ’87YUHS—Shimmy has taken advantage of every opportunity to refine his craft in and out of the classroom. As one of seven seniors enrolled in Covering a Century at MTA: 100 Years of Memories, Socol is documenting the high school’s centennial through a unique course that combines sessions on American and New York Jewish history with others that focus on documentary filmmaking skills and oral history interview techniques. He also recently returned from Poland, where he and fellow classmates explored the country’s Jewish history and Jewish life as part of the high school’s Names, Not Numbers program.
Socol also makes time for other hobbies, including playing the guitar, and recently won Battle of The Bands as part of the MTA band. “Winning Battle of The Bands this year was amazing,” he said. “It was really special because that night, I wasn’t just the ‘camera guy’.”
What Socol is most proud of, however, was his spiritual growth at MTA.
“Shiur was always my favorite part of the day. Each rebbe I had was so different and it felt like a journey as I progressed through each year—from Rabbi Rafi Pearl who taught us to learn seriously to Rabbi Mayer Schiller, who helped us lead intellectual discussions, to Rabbi Netanel Danto, where we learned how to work b’chavrusa (in partners), and finally Rabbi Avraham Shulman’s class, where we took everything we learnt over the past four years and applied it to what one has to do to live a Torah-centric life and prepare for learning in Israel next year.”
After he graduates, Socol will already have accomplished more than most college freshmen. But that’s just the beginning. He already has a pretty good idea of what he wants his future to look like: “I want to study in Israel, get semicha [rabbinic ordination] at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, win an Oscar, and make aliyah—in that order.”