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 social justice and activism rooted in the Jewish traditions. Our interdisciplinary curriculum examines Jewish culture, history, politics, philosophy, and language to better understand and strengthen marginalized communities around the globe.

The program’s ethos is built upon the following four ideas 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.

The Swig Program - Beyond The Classroom

The program sponsors an annual fall Speaker Series on Jewish Identities, annual spring lectures on Social Justice and Human Rights, a Social Justice Passover Seder, study abroad courses, film screenings, presentations, and workshops.

Our History

Renowned Collection of Books

The USF Gleeson Library's' collection of books on Jewish Studies is of the highest caliber. Our library is also renowned for its rare microfilm collection of 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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