The Layers Project Magazine

Insights Into The Lives of Jewish Women

Who We Are

Shira Lankin Sheps, MSW - Founder, Publisher & CEO

Where I’ve Been:

I graduated from Hunter College School of Social Work with my MSW in clinical social work. After working in the clinical field, marketing and photojournalism, I decided to start The Layers Project to help break down stigma and promote healing within our Jewish community.

Why I’m Here:

I feel strongly about presenting women, who are so often shown as shallow characters or fully removed from Jewish media spaces, as three-dimensional individuals whose lives are full and rich with resilience. Together with my incredible team, we have launched The Layers Project Magazine as a space for all Jewish women to discuss our triumphs and challenges in an authentic and honest way.

What I Do:

Here at the magazine, I am responsible for maintaining our signature tone of empathy in all our pieces, innovating new media and content, directing our art, managing the backend of the site and social media, and steering the business side of our endeavor.

Rachel Hercman, LCSW - Clinical Director

Where I’ve Been:

I earned my MSW from Wurzweiler School of Social Work and I have a clinical focus on relationship and sexual health, self-esteem and trauma. My background in mental health and medical settings informs my appreciation for the mind-body connection in our functioning. I am currently in private practice in Manhattan and I enjoy working with a diverse clientele.

Why I’m Here:

Change is happening. Topics that used to be limited to scared whispers are now getting a voice of recognition. From the time I began following Layers Project, I felt moved by the stories and the poignant responses from readers. It felt like every post removed another brick from the walls that isolate us from each other. Seeing this transformative power, I am excited to be part of the team in furthering these uplifting conversations and experiences for our readers.

What I Do:

I aim to provide content that speaks to our common life experiences, challenges, and lessons. With guest authors, interviews, and an Ask-the-Therapist, I aspire to present perspectives that offer clinical insight, understanding, and sensitivity.

Shoshana Gertler - Fiction Editor

Where I’ve Been:

I graduated from The New School with an MFA in fiction. Before that, I studied Tanach and Jewish history in Stern College for Women. I organize intimate writing workshops to foster an encouraging environment for professional writers.

Why I’m Here:

I have long felt a shortage in the Jewish community of places to showcase professional and high-quality artistic content, including writing, fashion, and fine arts. Outside of the professional world, I have seen many talented women with skills that they utilize only as recreational pursuits, and I’m determined to bring those creators into the spotlight to applaud their talent and motivate more women to pursue the arts professionally.

What I Do:

As the fiction editor of the magazine, I am responsible for drawing in those talented writers of fiction and poetry — from short story to serial, haiku to spoken-word — on a range of topics that delve into the authenticity of humanity that is integral to The Layers Project Magazine’s unique voice. I work with writers to provide them with editorial guidance from the moment of submission until publication.