Faculty and Staff

Tel: (415) 422-5167

Paula J Birnbaum

Associate Professor and Academic Director

Paula Birnbaum is Associate Professor of Arts History/Arts Management and Academic Director of the Museum Studies Master of Arts Program at USF. She is a specialist in modern and contemporary art and holds a doctorate in Art History from Bryn Mawr College. Paula is a former Fulbright Scholar and fellow at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University and has published widely on modern and contemporary art and gender issues.

Tel: 415-422-6601

Jeremy Phillip Brown

Adjunct Professor

Jeremy Phillip Brown is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. His main areas of interest are Jewish philosophy and mysticism, Kabbalah, ethics, medieval Iberia, Sufism, Hasidism and contemporary Jewish thought.
Dr. Brown received his received his Ph.D. from the Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University and his B.A. in Religion from Reed College. He has taught as adjunct faculty at NYU and has worked as an educator throughout the New York and San Francisco Bay regions.

Tel: (415) 422 6601

Lee Bycel

Adjunct Professor

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.

Tel: (415) 422-2378

Aaron Hahn Tapper

Associate Professor

Aaron J. Hahn Tapper is the Mae and Benjamin Swig Associate Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco. The founding Director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, the only program in the world that formally links these two fields, his research and teaching focus on the intersection between identity formation, social justice, and marginalized groups.

Tel: 415 422 2864

Susanne Hoelscher

Adjunct Professor

Susanne Hoelscher is the Coordinator of the German Program. She completed the Erste Staatsexamen at the Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster, Germany, with a major in German and History. She received two teaching credentials and an M.A. in German from San Francisco State University. She completed her PhD in the German Program at the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis in Critical Theory.

Susanne Hoelscher's research is focused on late 19th to 21st century German literature and culture and includes psychoanalytic thought, critical theory, and film studies. She is particularly interested in issues of national and gender identities and has presented and published in this area. At the University of San Francisco, she has been teaching in the German and Comparative Literature programs since 2004.

Tel: 422-6601

Oren Kroll-Zeldin

Adjunct Professor

Oren Kroll-Zeldin received his Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he also received an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Social Transformation. Currently the Director of the Beyond Bridges: Israel-Palestine program with the Center for Global Education at USF and the Center for Transformative Education, he has led numerous study trips to Israel/Palestine. Previously, for a number of years he was involved with alliance building educational programs working with Jewish and Muslim youth in the Bay Area through Abraham's Vision.

Tel: 415 422 6601

Rose Levinson

Adjunct Professor

Rose L. Levinson, Ph.D., came to USF in 2009, soon after completing a doctorate focused on Jewish Cultural Studies. She teaches Jews, Judaisms and Jewish Identities, alternating with Israel-Palestine Conflict through Film and Literature. Professor Levinson seeks to engage her students in ongoing critical discussion about such issues as the meaning of religion in contemporary life; the relationship of Judaism to changing realities in post-modern times; and the role of the artist in articulating and healing conflict. Her book, Death of a Holy Land: Reflections in Contemporary Israeli Fiction, uses the work of four Israeli novelists to illuminate the complexities of life in today's troubled Israel.

Tel: (415) 422-6411

Elliot Y. Neaman


Elliot Neaman received a B.A. in sociology from the University of British Columbia in 1979, an M.A. in history and philosophy from the Freie Universität in Berlin in 1985 and his Ph.D. in history from 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. 

Tel: (415) 422 6601

Andrew Ramer

Adjunct Professor

Andrew Ramer, an adjunct professor in the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, is also an ordained maggid (sacred storyteller) and the author of numerous books and articles including Queering the Text: Biblical, Medieval, and Modern Jewish Stories. His primary interests are in multifaith engagement, the sacredness of the body, and our connection to the Earth. He has just completed a lyrical, apocalyptic story-cycle, When People Still Lived on the Earth, about how human beings destroyed this lovely planet, and what happened to all of us in heaven, afterwards.

Tel: 415 422 6650

Esti Skloot

Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Professor, grew up in Israel where she studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and received her teacher's credentials from the Hebrew Teachers' Seminary. She received her BA in music from Sonoma State University, and her MA in creative writing at the University of San Francisco. Prof. Skloot also directs Ulpan San Francisco, an intensive three-week, multi-level Hebrew-immersion program that is offered to the community each summer.

Tel: (415) 422-6981

Stephen Zunes


Stephen Zunes received his PhD. from Cornell University, his M.A. from Temple University, and his B.A. from Oberlin College. His teaching and research interests include U.S. foreign policy, Middle Eastern politics, strategic nonviolent action, international conflict, and globalization. He offers courses for the Politics department,  the B.A. and M.A. programs in International Studies, the Peace & Justice Studies program, and the Middle Eastern Studies program, for which he serves as program director.