Program Director

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Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, the Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor in Jewish Studies and the founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, has been at USF since 2007. An educator for more than two decades, his primary academic interest is the intersection between identity formation, social justice, and marginalized groups.

Aaron completed his PhD in the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied the History of Religions...

  • PhD, Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • MTS, Harvard Divinity School
  • BA, Johns Hopkins University

Full-Time Faculty


Paula J. Birnbaum is the inaugural Ann Getty Endowed Chair and Academic Director of the Museum Studies Master of Arts Program and Professor of Art History and Museum Studies at USF. She is a specialist in modern and contemporary art and holds a doctorate in Art History from Bryn Mawr College. Professor Birnbaum is a former Fulbright Scholar and fellow at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University.

Birnbaum’s research focuses on modern and contemporary art in...

  • PhD, History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
  • MA, History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
  • BA, History of Art and French Literature, Bowdoin College
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Oren Kroll-Zeldin is the assistant Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco where he is also an assistant professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. He is the co-editor of This Is Your Song Too: Phish and Contemporary Jewish Identity (Penn State University Press) and author of the forthcoming book Unsettled: American Jews and the Movement for Justice in Palestine (New York University Press). Oren is the co-founder...

  • California Institute of Integral Studies, PhD in Cultural Anthropology and Social Change
  • California Institute of Integral Studies, MA in Cultural Anthropology and Social Change
  • Skidmore College...
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Elliot Neaman received a BA in sociology from the University of British Columbia in 1979, an MA in history and philosophy from the Freie Universität in Berlin in 1985, and his PhD in history from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. His areas of specialization are Modern Germany, The Holocaust, Late Modern Intellectual History, post 1945 Global History, European Diplomatic & Economic History, and theory and methodology of the historical sciences. His first book on the German writer...

  • PhD in History, University of California at Berkeley
  • MA in History and Philosophy, Freie Universität in Berlin
  • BA in Sociology, University of British Columbia
Kalmanovitz Hall 272 POLS (Annex)

Stephen Zunes has been at USF since 1995, teaching courses on the politics of the Middle East and other regions, nonviolence, conflict resolution, U.S. foreign policy, and globalization. He served as the founder and first director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program.

A prominent specialist on U.S. Middle East policy, Professor Zunes has presented hundreds of public lectures and conference papers in both the United States and over a dozen foreign countries. He has traveled frequently to the...

  • PhD, Cornell University
  • MA, Temple University
  • BA, Oberlin College
  • Middle Eastern & North African Politics
  • Peace Studies
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Social Movements

Part-Time Faculty

Camille Shira Angel, an adjunct professor in the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, is also an ordained rabbi from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the author of articles including "Crafting a Liturgical Mirror," in the wonderful new anthology The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality, and "Ruach Acheret-Ruach Hakodesh: Different Spirit-Sacred Spirit" in Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible.

She was the spiritual leader...

Noa Bar-Gabai earned her PhD in comparative literature from UCLA. Her dissertation and current research examines Hebrew narratives written by Mizrahi (Arab-Jewish) authors with regard to issues of secularism, postcolonialism, and Jewish nationalism.

  • PhD, Comparative Literature, UCLA
  • BA, Rhetoric, UC Berkeley

Lee is the rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Napa and a Senior Moderator at the Aspen Institute. He has devoted his life to a variety of social justice issues as a teacher, humanitarian and community leader. For fifteen years he was Dean of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, where he was also Assistant Professor of Leadership and Applied Theology and served as the Smither Visiting Professor of World Religions at the Claremont School of Theology.


  • BA from University of California at Berkeley
  • PhD from Claremont School of Theology
  • Social justice issues

Dalit Gvirtsman was born and raised in Israel, where she studied at Tel Aviv University and received her BA in general and interdisciplinary studies in the faculty of humanities. She has been an educator and a Hebrew language instructor in the Bay Area for the past 20 years, and developed curriculum for advanced Hebrew learners at Jewish Day Schools grades K-8, as well as for high school students and adult learners.

Dalit has been teaching in the Hebrew San Francisco Ulpan at USF since 2016...

  • MA candidate in Cultural Studies at The Open University of Israel
  • Tel Aviv University, BA in General and Interdisciplinary Studies, 1993
  • Hebrew instruction
  • Hebrew cooking classes
  • Develop Hebrew curriculum
  • Content writing
  • Group facilitating

Professor Herr has dedicated her life to combating genocide and atrocity, and this passion has motivated her educational and professional pursuits and translates into a strong desire to prevent human rights violations. Ms. Herr received a doctorate in holocaust history from the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. In addition to holding academic positions at Keene State College, Northeastern University, and San Francisco State University, she has also worked...

  • Clark University, PhD in Holocaust History, 2014
  • Claremont McKenna College, BA in British Literature, 2007
  • Holocaust and Genocide Studies
  • Fascism
  • European History

Susanne Hoelscher received her PhD in German Studies from the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis in post-wall Berlin literature and film. She earned an MA in German Studies from San Francisco State University, and completed the Erste Staatsexamen at the Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster, Germany, majoring in Education with a focus on German Studies and History.

Susanne Hoelscher's research is focused on late 19th to 21st century German literature and culture and...

  • PhD, German Studies, University of California, Davis
  • MA, German Studies, San Francisco State University

Natalie E. Latteri earned her PhD in History from the University of New Mexico. She teaches Jewish-Christian Relations at USF in the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice. Latteri is a Fellow of the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Foundation (2016-17) and the American Academy for Jewish Research (2015), among others. Her research interests include interfaith (Jewish-Christian) relations, messianism and apocalypticism, Christian apocrypha, polemic, haunting and possession, and...

  • PhD, University of New Mexico
  • MA, Purdue University
  • BA, University of California, Davis
  • Interfaith relations in medieval Europe Apocalypticism and Messianism Medieval polemic

Chelsie May is a scholar of how race, gender, and intersectional analytics illuminate Jewish lives in Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA). Her research and teaching interests include histories of Jews and racialization in SWANA and relations between SWANA Jews and other communities of color that stem from social justice movements and solidarity activism. Her award-winning published articles have discussed the racialization of Jewish women in Iraq. Dr. May's current book project surfaces how...

  • University of Chicago, PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Brandeis, MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
  • UCLA, BA in Middle East-North African Studies 

Faculty Emeritus

Andrew Heinze was Professor of American History and Director of the Swig Judaic Studies program at USF. A recipient of the Ignatian Faculty Service Award, he loved teaching and he published extensively. Andy authored the books Adapting to Abundance and Jews and the American Soul, which was a Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and a Publishers Weekly choice for “Best Books of 2004.” For his expertise in the history of race, immigration, ethnicity and popular culture, he was selected as...

  • UC Berkeley, PhD in History, 1987
  • UC Berkeley, MA in History, 1980
  • Amherst College, BA in History, Magna Cum Laude, 1977
  • History of Race/Racism
  • History of Immigration and Ethnic Identity
  • History of American Popular Culture
  • Jewish History

Retired Faculty

Eli Andrew Ramer, a regular guest speaker in courses offered by the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, was a previous faculty member for many years. An ordained maggid (a sacred storyteller in the Jewish tradition), he is the author of five books of Jewish stories — Queering the Text, Torah Told Different, Deathless, Fragments of the Brooklyn Talmud, and Texting with Angels — as well as many other acclaimed books. A writing instructor, editor, and long-time movement and body...

  • Inner MBA, Sounds True and NYU, 2021
  • Maggid Ordination, 2012
  • UC Berkeley, 1973
  • Jewish Studies
  • Queer Studies
  • Queer and Jewish Intersectionality
  • Body-Centered Meditation
  • Creative Writing

Esti Skloot taught Modern Hebrew at USF from 1997 through 2019. She received her teaching credentials from the Hebrew Teachers' Seminary and taught at Ulpan Etzion, both located in Jerusalem. She later received a BA in Music from Sonoma State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of San Francisco.

In 2019, upon her retirement, Esti received the prestigious USF College Service. When she began at USF, in 1997, she was the university's first Hebrew language instructor. In...

  • Teacher’s Certificate, David Yellin Hebrew Teachers' Seminary
  • University of San Francisco, MFA in Creative Writing, 2014
  • Sonoma State University, BA in Music, Magna Cum Laude, 2004
  • Modern Hebrew
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation
  • Creative writing
  • Leading Israeli songs