Jewish Studies & Social Justice

Shaping scholars and social justice activists, our program examines Jewish culture, history, politics, philosophy, and language to better understand and strengthen marginalized communities around the globe.

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Undergraduate Programs

The Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice minor engages students in both theoretical and practical applications of what it means to be a social justice activist rooted in the Jewish tradition.

The program’s ethos is built upon the following four ideas, each of which is rooted in the Jewish communities’ vast histories and identities:

  • Activism - each of us has a role in the process of activism, actively shaping the world as it is into the world as 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 inborn.
  • 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 are constantly shifting.

See our catalog for courses & requirements

The Swig Program

The program also presents an annual Social Justice Lecture, Social Justice Passover Seder, study abroad courses, and intermittent films, presentations, and workshops.

Our History

Study Abroad

Our program currently runs two study abroad programs to Israel-Palestine, each program is grounded in comparative conflict analysis. Our study abroad programs are as follows:

Visit the Center for Transformative Education website for more information:

Library Resources

The USF Gleeson Library collection of books related to Jewish Studies is excellent putting itself on the map internationally by purchasing a microfilm collection of the Jewish daily The Forward (Forverts), the most important Yiddish newspaper of the twentieth century. This microfilm collection has copies from the time of the paper's inception, in 1897, through 1951, the year in which the paper's renowned editor, Abraham Cahan, died. The collection is available to USF students, faculty, and staff.

Visiting faculty and students planning on coming to the library should contact the Periodicals Unit in advance at (415) 422-2051 to arrange access.

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