University of San Francisco Adds New Rabbi-in-Residence to Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice

SAN FRANCISCO (August 7, 2019) – For the first time in the Jesuit Catholic school’s 164-year history, the University of San Francisco (USF) is adding a Rabbi-in-Residence to its ranks.

Rabbi Camille Shira Angel, who has taught at USF since 2017, was named the university’s first Rabbi-in-Residence, a newly created position jointly shared by University Ministry (UM) and the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice (JSSJ).

Angel has held prestigious previous positions as a rabbi and Jewish educator, including serving as spiritual leader of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, in New York City, from 1995-2000, and of the queer flagship Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, in San Francisco, from 2000-15, where she also edited and contributed to a radically inclusive prayer book, Siddur Sha’ar Zahav, published in 2009. Angel has also written and published numerous articles on Judaism, Feminism, and Gender Studies.

Alongside her serving the campus community in the capacity as a spiritual leader, with a special focus on queer and Jewish members of campus, Angel will continue to teach her popular course, “Queering Religion,” offered through the Swig Program in JSSJ and the Department of Theology & Religious Studies (THRS), which explores how queer people navigate religious contexts that have often attempted to negate them, and looks at how activists, theologians, clerics, and practitioners work to “queer” religion.

Beginning in 2020, she also plans to offer a new Community Engaged Learning (formerly Service Learning) course, through the Swig Program in JSSJ and Department of Theology and Religious Studies in partnership with University Ministry and the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, to help build internal capacity and resources to support LGBTQ spirituality both on and off campus.

“We are incredibly excited for Rabbi Camille Shira Angel to officially join our campus community full-time,” said Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, Mae and Benjamin Swig Professor of Jewish Studies and Founding Director of the Swig Program in JSSJ. “With a deep commitment to a universal outlook on social justice and inclusivity and a firm foundation in the particularism of Jewish communities, Camille is a perfect fit for our campus and the Swig Program. In the last two years, I have seen how profound her work has been for our students, faculty, and staff.”

Following last year’s 40th Anniversary celebration of USF’s Swig Program in JSSJ, where CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper discussed “Speaking Truth to Power” at Congregation Emanu-El, in August 2018 the Swig Program added two new award-winning educators to its faculty, Rabbi Lee Bycel and Professor Oren Kroll-Zeldin, the former as the school’s new Sinton Visiting Professor in Holocaust, Genocide, and Refugee Studies and the latter who also serves as the assistant director of the Swig Program.

“Alongside the two faculty we added to our program last year, bringing Camille to campus as our new Rabbi-in-Residence ensures our continuing plan to grow the Jewish Studies and Social Justice program at USF into a robust academic program with national and international renown,” stated Hahn Tapper.

About the University of San Francisco:

The University of San Francisco is located in the heart of one of the world’s most innovative and diverse cities and is home to a vibrant academic community of students and faculty who achieve excellence in their fields. Its diverse student body enjoys direct access to faculty, small classes, and outstanding opportunities in the city itself. USF is San Francisco’s first university, and its Jesuit Catholic mission helps ignite a student’s passion for social justice and a desire to “Change the World from Here.” The Campaign for the University of San Francisco is raising $300 million through 2022 to support student scholarships and financial aid, the creation of bold and innovative programs, and the renovation of current facilities and construction of new space, all part of expanding the university’s global influence. For more information, visit the USF Campaign Page.

About the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice:

In 1977, USF established the first Jewish Studies program and endowed faculty appointment in Jewish Studies at a Catholic school worldwide. In 2008, the program broke ground once again, becoming the world’s first academic program to formally link Jewish Studies with Social Justice.

Including a minor in this leading-edge field, in the classroom the program offers a wide range of significant Jewish Studies courses not found in other educational settings, as well as an annual intensive Hebrew language summer program, Hebrew San Francisco: Ulpan. Over the past 40 years, tens of thousands of students have taken our Jewish Studies courses; in 2018–19 close to 1,000 students took Jewish Studies classes.

Beyond the classroom, the program offers extraordinary events that are free and open to the public, which thousands of people have attended in the past decade, including an Annual Human Rights Lecture, Social Justice Lecture, Speaker Series on Diversity of Jewish Identities, Social Justice Passover Seder, and more. For more information, visit Jewish Studies & Social Studies.