Founded in 2008, the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice is the only academic program formally linking Jewish studies and social justice. Engage students in both theoretical and practical applications of social justice and activism rooted in Jewish traditions, aimed specifically at learning ways to support marginalized communities worldwide.
Program offers a wide range of Jewish studies courses, a minor in Jewish studies and social justice (JSSJ), annual social justice and human rights lectures and an annual social justice Passover seder; additional programs, include films, presentations and workshops, a study-abroad course, and Hebrew San Francisco: Ulpan (summer 2019 is our 22nd consecutive program, the longest running Hebrew Ulpan program in the U.S.).
The program’s ethos is built upon the following four ideas, each integral to the Jewish community’s vast histories and identities:
- Activism – each of us has a role in the process of shaping the world as it is into the world it can be.
- Intersectionality – all forms of marginalization and oppression are inter-linked.
- Social Identity – each of us has multiple social identities, whether a reflection of our age, citizenship, ethnicity, gender, nationality, physical ability, physical appearance, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic standing, race, or something else entirely. Some identities are acquired; others, we’re born with.
- Social In/justice – our social identities have a great deal of meaning for us and others. At times they give us access to opportunities. At other times they deny us entry to jobs, homes, and even food. The world in which we live currently functions as if our identities are real. Most of us live as if there is a specific definition to community X or Y, despite the fact that identities are not static but constantly shifting.
A growing faculty and staff, including a new Assistant Director, Oren Kroll-Zeldin, new Sinton Visiting Professor in Holocaust, Genocide, and Refugee Studies, Rabbi Lee Bycel, and new Rabbi-in-Residence, Rabbi Camille Angel.