Certificate Program in JEDI + JSSJ

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Jewish Studies and Social Justice


Flexible. Virtual + in-person. At your own pace. As little as 12 months.

This graduate level Certificate Program in JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) + Jewish Studies and Social Justice (JSSJ) trains and prepares students to implement systemic change around anti-oppression, social justice, and human rights in professional contexts. With a curriculum rooted in current research and best practices around multiracial, multicultural, and multifaith values, students engage with current political and social realities with a focus on equity and intersectionality within the larger context of education both in relation to and outside of the “Jewish world.” 

This certificate is the country’s only graduate-level program focused on Jewish studies and social justice systemically infused with JEDI values, developed to train professionals to work within, between, and beyond Jewish-identified communities.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Upcoming Courses

  • Antisemitism and Intersectionality
    Aaron J. Hahn Tapper
    Mondays, 4-7 pm Pacific Time (remote synchronous)
    January 29, February 12, 26, March 11, 25, April 8, 15, May 6

    Anti-Jewish ideology and behavior – Antisemitism – has been part of Jewish identities since this community was birthed. Over the last few years (in relation to the rise of American White Supremacist activities) and the last few months (in relation to the State of Israel), there have also been rapid increases in antisemitic activities in the United States. This course will explore some of the central ways that Jews have been discriminated against alongside the myriad inter-related nuances connected to other significant social identities. Topics for this course include, but are not limited to, a survey of Christian-based antisemitism, the Shoah/Holocaust, misunderstandings of the signifier "Jew" relative to other social groups, and the overlap between so-called "anti-Israelism" and "anti-Zionism" and bigotry targeting the Jewish people.

    Environmental Justice and Jewish Perspectives: Land, People, and Power
    Ariela Ronay-Jinich
    Thursdays, 4-7 pm Pacific Time (remote synchronous)
    January 25, February 8, 22, March 7, 21, April 4, 18, May 2

    Students will explore a variety of perspectives and case studies informing how we approach thinking about and responding to environmental degradation and its devastating impact on a wide variety of populations and regions across the globe. As a course steeped in Jewish learning, each class and content area will include traditional and contemporary Jewish sources suggesting potential responses to environmental injustice on a personal, cultural, institutional, ecological, and spiritual level.

  • Disability and Jewish Social Justice
    Julia Watts Belser
    Sundays, 10 am-2 pm Pacific Time (remote synchronous)
    June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, July 14

    This course aims to help students deepen their capacity to create cultures of accessibility within Jewish social justice practices. We’ll bring classical Jewish texts into conversation with the lived experiences of contemporary disability activists to grapple with spiritual and political questions about access and equity, invisibility and shame, and practices to transform social inequality. We’ll hone skills for recognizing and resisting ableism, and for understanding the way ableism intersects with racism, antisemitism, misogyny, queer, trans, and fat hatred, and more. We’ll also examine the contours of hegemonic norms around decorum and behavior, pace and time, and physical and sensory access—and consider ways to transform our religious communities and cultural spaces so that they more fully welcome the vivid, complex diversity of all our bodies and minds.

  • Meet the Moment – Israel/Palestine and American Jewish Life: Generational Divides and Future Directions
    Oren Kroll-Zeldin
    Mondays, 4-7pm Pacific Time (hyflex)
    August 28, September 16, 30, October 14, 28, November 11, 25, December 9

    Israel/Palestine has been a central topic of concern in American Jewish life since before the State of Israel was established. Though there has never been a consensus among American Jews about Israel, American Jews, and their institutions have largely expressed support for Zionism and the State of Israel for more than half a century. Since October 7, 2023, American Jews have grappled with the role of Israel/Palestine in their communities and institutions in new and intense ways, particularly as dissenting Jewish voices against Israel and Zionism have become much more pronounced, especially amongst younger American Jews.

    Our fall 2024 “Meet the Moment” course — Israel/Palestine and American Jewish Life — examines American Jewish perspectives on Israel during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics will include histories of Anti-Zionism and Zionism; generational trends, especially among today’s younger American Jewish Palestine solidarity activists; teaching multiple narratives on Israel/Palestine; Jewish responses to trauma since October 7; and how to have hard conversations inside and outside of Jewish institutions regarding this potentially volatile topic. This course is especially relevant for people working in Jewish institutions looking for meaningful ways to engage with Israel/Palestine in their communities.

    Binaries and Beyond: Justice, Gender, and the Future of Jewish Traditions
    Rabbi Camille Shira Angel with Guest Scholar Joy Ladin, PhD
    Wednesdays 4-7pm Pacific Time (remote synchronous)
    August 28, September 11, 25, October 9, 23, November 6, 20, December 4

    What does it mean to live in a world in which gender is visibly, rapidly changing, and how do we live and work with those for who do gender in different ways than we do – who identify themselves in ways that don’t make sense to us, or identify us in ways that contradict our sense of who and what we are? In this class, we will explore these questions not only as individuals trying to live meaningfully gendered lives, but by critiquing the ways gender has figured in Jewish tradition, and studying how gender works in a variety of Jewish institutions and how those institutions are responding to gender diversity and the ways gender is changing.The course will also touch on social identity categories often linked to gender, such as sex and sexual orientation. The course will also touch on social identity categories often linked to gender, such as sex and sexual orientation.

    Race, Racism, and Jews
    Dr. Imani Chapman
    Sundays 10am-1pm Pacific Time (remote synchronous)
    August 26, September 8, 22, October 6, 20, November 3, 17, December 1

    This graduate-level course explores the complexities of race, racialization, and racial oppression within Jewish American communities. Through inquiry and reflective practice, students will explore the historical roots and present-day manifestations of racism within Jewish contexts. The course investigates how race, as defined in the US context, plays out within Jewish community dynamics. Students will critically examine their own positions within systems of privilege and oppression, developing a deeper awareness of their role in perpetuating or challenging racist structures. By utilizing anti-racist frameworks, students will develop an awareness and practical strategies that will enable them to contribute to efforts of dismantling racism at individual, interpersonal, institutional, and societal levels. Rooted in Jewish values of shleimut (wholeness) and kavod habriyot (human dignity), this course empowers students to advocate for more inclusive and equitable communities within Jewish spaces and beyond.


  • Dates: Applications are currently being accepted on a rolling basis for the Spring and Summer 2024 semesters.
  • Schedule: View updated class dates and times on the JEDI blog.
  • Location: Online, in-person, and hyflex (simultaneously online and in-person); course dependent, view updated locations on the JEDI blog. See accommodations & services.
  • Certificate Units: 3 per course; total of 15 to complete certificate. Certificate units are different from academic credits. Courses may be taken individually or applied to complete the certificate. See FAQs, "Program Description" (below), for more information.
  • Cost: $1,500 per course ($7,500 for five courses).

Program Highlights

  • Learn from exceptional educators
    Experienced and renowned educators & changemakers from the fields of JEDI and Jewish studies.

  • 100% flexible 
    Interactive learning that fits your life & profession.

  • Power your career
    USF is home to award-winning immersive learning experiences. Pursuing this certificate will help you stand apart.

Areas of Focus

  • Race 
  • Comparative Conflict Analysis 
  • Disability 
  • Environment 
  • Gender 
  • Genocide Studies 
  • Human Rights 
  • Indigeneity 
  • Queer and Trans Studies 
  • & more 


This certificate program has a diverse and seasoned faculty. A partial list of the certificate program faculty and staff housed in the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice (JSSJ):

Tune into Tzadikim

Delve into our Podcast, Tzadikim as we highlight the brilliant voices of our community through meaningful conversations. This podcast is hosted by the University of San Francisco’s Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice in conjunction with the world's only graduate-level program focused on Jewish studies and social justice systemically infused with JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) values. Join us in conversation with some of the remarkable individuals who are molding Jewish spaces worldwide with their insights and narratives.



  • All students need to apply to the Certificate program in order to take any of the JEDI + JSSJ Certificate program courses, whether they are interested in completing the certificate in full or only in taking a single course.

  • This entire program, including the per course tuition rates, is already subsidized through generous scholarships. This is why we are able to offer the per course rate at such a low price. We have a limited number of scholarships available. If you are in need of financial assistance and identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ please inquire with mjabrams@usfca.edu to see if we have available funds at this time.

  • In order to participate in this graduate level certificate program, students need to have already received an undergraduate degree (i.e., B.A. or B.S.) or the equivalent. This aside, there is no age requirement. For any specific questions please be in touch with mjabrams@usfca.edu.

Program Description

  • Designed to support teachers of early childhood through college, as well as rabbinical students and educators working in non-formal settings, such as community organizations, participants are trained to tackle and teach about inequities based around race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, sexual identity, and disability, among other social identities, as well as the intersectionality of these distinct spheres, and ways to integrate these ideas pedagogically into Jewish-identified settings. Grounded in critical thinking and positive action, this certificate program sets JEDI values as both the framework and core end goals of the educational process.

    This certificate program’s courses examine JEDI, and how these topics intersect with Jewish studies and Jewish communities. While the program addresses the realities of such subtopics as race, comparative conflict analysis, disability, environment, gender, genocide studies, human rights, indigeneity, queer and trans studies and more. Transformation, an essential element of the certificate program, occurs through a process of education that empowers people to make changes in their own lives, as well as in their families, communities, and Jewish-affiliated institutions.

  • A student needs to complete five JEDI + JSSJ certificate program courses to complete this certificate. The specific program requirements are as follows:

    One required foundation course:

    • Antisemitism and Intersectionality

    One of the following courses:

    • Race, Racism, and Jews
    • Binaries and Beyond: Justice, Gender, and the Future of Jewish Traditions 
    • Disability and Jewish Social Justice
    • Environmental Justice and Jewish perspectives: Land, People, and Power

    Three of the following courses:

    • Race, Racism, and Jews
    • Binaries and Beyond: Justice, Gender, and the Future of Jewish Traditions 
    • Disability and Jewish Social Justice
    • Environmental Justice and Jewish perspectives: Land, People, and Power
    • Comparative Conflict Analysis: International Conflicts, Genocide, and Jews [TBD]
    • Beyond Bridges: Israel and Palestine [TBD]
    • Human Rights Education: Pedagogy & Praxis [TBD]
  • Matriculating "JEDI + Jewish Studies and Social Justice" Professional Certificate students will receive certificate units upon completing a course. Certificate units are distinct from academic credits, which can be applied toward a degree (e.g., MA, EdD). Certificate-seeking students and degree-seeking students enrolled in the same courses are in distinct programs with different course requirements. Certificate-seeking students will not be able to convert certificate units into academic credits retroactively. Certificate-seeking students can only apply certificate units toward the JEDI + JSSJ Certificate program. 

    After completing five courses (see "What are the program's course offerings"), students are awarded a professional certificate in JEDI + JSSJ. No academic credit is given.    

  • Classes will be held online (via Zoom) and hyflex (simultaneously online and in-person). This will ensure that students residing outside the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to fully participate in the certificate program regardless of not being able to do so in-person. All in-person courses will take place on USF's main campus. Registered students will be notified of the exact on-campus location prior to beginning a course.

  • Most courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening during the week and/or during the day on weekends. This allows students to maintain a full-time job while concurrently earning this graduate-level certification.

    Class days/times

  • Like most institutions of higher learning, all of the certificate program courses will be offered intermittently. In the first two years of the program, the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years, the courses will be offered in the following sequence:

    Fall 2023

    • Race, Racism, and Jews
    • Binaries and Beyond: Justice, Gender, and the Future of Jewish Traditions

    Spring 2024

    • Antisemitism and Intersectionality
    • Environmental Justice and Jewish perspectives: Land, People, and Power

    Summer 2024

    • Disability and Jewish Social Justice

    Fall 2024

    • Comparative Conflict Analysis: International Conflicts, Genocide, and Jews

    Spring 2025

    • Human Rights Education: Pedagogy & Praxis [TBD]

    Summer 2025

    • Beyond Bridges: Israel and Palestine [TBD]

    In addition, depending on student interest it is possible that we will also offer the same courses offered during the 2023-24 academic year during the 2024-25 academic year as well.

  • A course requires a minimum of 5 registered students in order to run. If this requirement is not met, students will receive a full refund for the course.

    A student who withdraws from a course after having already made payment is entitled to a 25% refund of their tuition if their request is made at least 30 days prior to the first class session. Thereafter, all course payments are non-refundable nor can such tuition be applied to a future course. 

    Please take the following steps to prevent a situation involving such requests:

    1. Carefully review the course offerings to ensure the class is the right fit for you.
    2. Carefully review the calendar and ensure you can attend all of the class dates and times. 
    3. Email us so that we may answer any questions about the specifics of a class before completing registration and payment.

    We are a small educational program, and we rely on the registration and payment of each student. Thank you for your understanding.

  • The University of San Francisco is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming community. Student Disability Services (SDS) recognizes disability as a valued aspect of diversity and works to facilitate equal access and an inclusive environment for students with disabilities. Regarding digital content in particular, we have a legal obligation to make it WCAG 2.0 AA Accessibility Guidelines compliant.

Program Background

  • Founded in 1855 as the first university in San Francisco, in 2022 U.S. News & World Report ranked USF as having the #1 most racially and ethnically diverse student body in the country. One-third of all undergraduates are the first in their families to attend a post-secondary school. USF’s College of Arts & Sciences alone has more than 100 major and minor subject areas of study, many with specialized concentrations. On the graduate degree level, the university offers over 60 master’s, doctoral, and credential programs. With an overall student body of approximately 10,000 students—6,000 undergraduates and 4,000 graduates—approximately 10% of USF’s students identify as Jewish (see below). More information about USF's history can be found here.

  • The Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice is the oldest Jewish studies university program at any Bay Area institution of higher learning; the first endowed Jewish studies program at a Catholic school, Jesuit or otherwise, in the world; the first academic program formally linking Jewish studies and social justice in the world; and the first Catholic school to create a full-time Rabbi-in-Residence for a queer-identified individual, a position established in fall 2019. More information about our program’s history, can be found here.

    Fall 2023 is the first semester of the Certificate Program in JEDI + JSSJ.

  • The Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice estimates that 10% of USF students are Jewish, with a disproportionate number of Jews in our graduate programs (e.g., School of Education, School of Law, School of Management). Some students identify as strongly Jewish, some identify as nominally Jewish, and some have a family member who is Jewish and feel a familial connection to the Jewish community, however distant (i.e., Jew-ish).

  • The twenty-first-century Jewish American world is confronting issues emanating from an entirely new terrain. The nature and number of Jewish identities are changing. In recent years there have been major communal shifts related to:

    • the growing diversity of Jews in terms of social identities, such as those related to race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability;
    • an increase of families comprised of Jews and non-Jews;
    • generational changes about political issues both in the U.S. and abroad.

    There are unprecedented understandings and formations of what it means to be a member of the Jewish community today, patterns that were not existent previously. 

    The American Jewish communities need a new cadre of professionals trained to meet the twenty-first-century demands of being Jewish in the United States, a landscape where Jewish identities and the ways people are learning to be Jewish are constantly evolving.

    This moment requires an innovative paradigm of education that is uniquely relevant: one that centers social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (or JEDI), principles that must be integrated into the core fabric of pedagogies and approaches rather than exist as “add-ons.” It is essential to have a program that underscores the global and systemic nature of our world, including the fact that 99.8% of the world is not Jewish. 

    Whether the environment is a Jewish day school, Hebrew school, Jewish summer camp, Jewish NGO, another Jewish-identified context altogether, or any other professional setting, the Jewish community has a duty to offer a compelling and effective way to teach about Jews and Jewish identities, one that is intersectional within and between intra-communal Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and one that explicitly confronts issues related to racial, gender, queer, and disability equity.

    Although social justice values—embodied in terms such as tikkun olam, bitzelem Elohim, tzedek, and tzedakah—continue to strike a chord in Jewish-identified settings, the American milieu needs a cohesive educational program that centers these Jewish values. Our Certificate Program teaches professionals how to operationalize ideas around anti-oppression, social justice, and human rights as applicable to and within Jewish-identified contexts. We maximize JEDI values using an educational framework rooted in Jewish terms and ideas, proverbially translating these ancient Jewish words and concepts so they can be applied to today’s Jewish-affiliated spaces.

JEDI + JSSJ Certificate

MJ Abrams, Program Assistant
2130 Fulton St. Kalmanovitz Hall, Room 152
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080

Mon-Fri: 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.