Department of Jewish Studies {College of Liberal & Creative Arts}

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Welcome to the Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University

Rachel Gross named to endowed John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 22, 2016 – The San Francisco State University Department of Jewish Studies has named Rachel Gross the John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies. Currently a visiting assistant professor of Judaic studies in the department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech, Gross will join the SF State faculty in August as a tenure-track assistant professor of Jewish studies.


Gross' scholarly interests in American Jewish studies are varied, ranging from Jewish food and children's books to American Jewish experiences of genealogy, nostalgia and Jewish heritage sites. She is currently working on a book manuscript, "Objects of Affection: The Material Religion of American Jewish Nostalgia."


"With the hire of Rachel Gross as the John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies, the department counts its third Goldman family chair," said Marc Dollinger, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. "This is an impressive testament to a family that has established and now solidified Jewish studies scholarship, education and community engagement in perpetuity at San Francisco State." Eran Kaplan holds the endowed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies.


"Rachel Gross strengthens the department’s keen interest in the American Jewish experience," said Fred Astren, chair of the department of Jewish Studies. "Her interdisciplinary work builds on SF State Professor Marc Dollinger’s scholarship in American Jewish history. Together, they offer incredibly strong capacities in American Jewish studies scholarship, teaching and community involvement."


As John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies, Gross will expand the department’s existing areas of expertise in Israel studies, Jewish literatures and Jewish history in Islamic lands. Her wide-ranging interests will contribute to scholarly conversations and partnerships with programs across the University as well as in the community.


"I am excited to join the robust and collegial department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State," said Gross. "I look forward to teaching about American Jewish religion and culture and to exploring with students the everyday and extraordinary ways that people have engaged with Jewish concepts and practices. I am particularly eager to teach about Jewish foodways in the context of the vibrant Bay Area food scene."


Gross earned a bachelor's degree in Jewish studies at the University of Virginia and master's degrees in religion from the University of Virginia and Princeton University. She earned a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University.


The endowed John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies was established with a $1 million gift from the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation in 2013. In 1997, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund established the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility with a $1 million gift, which was followed by an additional $500,000 gift in 2010 to augment the endowment. In 2008, the endowed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies was established with a $3.75 million gift from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. A portion of this gift supported the reorganization of Jewish studies into a University department.


The department of Jewish Studies is devoted to the history, religion, culture and contributions of the Jewish people, and attracts a diverse group of students from many racial and ethnic backgrounds. The department offers a bachelor's degree in modern Jewish studies and a minor in Jewish studies.


For more information about the work of the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation, visit the website.

John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies 

San Francisco State University, Department of Jewish Studies, invites applications for the position of the John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies to be filled at the level of tenure-track assistant professor beginning August 2016. Because American Jewish studies is a scholarly field and not an academic discipline, the department will consider applications from scholars in a wide array of disciplines, including (but not limited to) anthropology, art history, cultural studies, education, ethics, history, literature, media studies, modern Jewish thought, philosophy, political science, religious studies, sociology, and women’s/gender studies. Since this position reflects the intrinsically interdisciplinary nature of Jewish studies, broad familiarity with Jewish studies is desirable.


Candidates should have a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in their discipline, with a completed degree by August 1, 2016. Candidates must have an active record of scholarship related to their area of specialization in American Jewish studies. Preferred candidates will have teaching experience in settings with large, diverse student bodies and demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching. The ability to work as a public intellectual in Jewish studies is highly desirable, since the successful candidate is expected to contribute to the university's mission of community engagement. Preferred candidates will have strong interpersonal skills, a sense of collegiality, and the ability to work cooperatively.


The successful candidate will be expected to teach two courses per semester, both lower and upper division undergraduate courses. These will include both existing department course offerings and new courses to be developed for the department in the candidate’s area of expertise. Since 2/2 constitutes a reduced annual teaching load, the endowed chair must demonstrate correspondingly higher levels of scholarly productivity (by maintaining an active program of research leading to publication in peer-reviewed journals and other venues in the field of American Jewish studies, as well as presentations at significant conferences, accolades or awards, and strong endorsements by referees) and leadership in service outreach activities. Other duties include advising, curriculum development, and committee service. A detailed position description is available at the department website:


Salary will be competitive, commensurate with qualifications and experience. The California State University provides generous health and retirement benefits, as well as domestic partner benefits. Application: Applicants must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, copies of relevant publications, evidence of teaching experience, and at least three letters of reference. Review of applications and supporting materials will begin September 30, 2015 and will continue until the position is filled. Please email materials or inquiries to Printed materials may also be sent to:


                                American Jewish Studies Search

                                  Department of Jewish Studies

                                 San Francisco State University

                                      1600 Holloway Avenue

                                    San Francisco, CA 94132

San Francisco State University is a member of the California State University (CSU) system and serves a diverse student body of 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The University seeks to promote appreciation of scholarship, freedom and, human diversity through excellence in instruction and intellectual accomplishment. SF State faculty are expected  to be effective  teachers  and demonstrate  professional  achievement  and growth through research, scholarship, and/or creative work.


San Francisco State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer with a strong commitment to diversity. We especially  welcome  applications  from  members  of  all  ethnic  groups,  women,  veterans,  and  people  with disabilities.


A background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered a position with the CSU. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the application  status  of  applicants  or  continued  employment  of  current  CSU  employees  who  apply  for  the position.

Marc Dollinger's American Jewish History Named Noteworthy Book

American Jewish History Book Cover

Brandeis University Press: Presenting the American Jewish historical experience from its communal beginnings to the present through documents, photographs, and other illustrations, many of which have never before been published, this entirely new collection of source materials complements existing textbooks on American Jewish history with an organization and pedagogy that reflect the latest historiographical trends and the most creative teaching approaches.

Ten chapters, organized chronologically, include source materials that highlight the major thematic questions of each era and tell many stories about what it was like to immigrate and acculturate to American life, practice different forms of Judaism, engage with the larger political, economic, and social cultures that surrounded American Jews, and offer assistance to Jews in need around the world.

At the beginning of each chapter, the editors provide a brief historical overview highlighting some of the most important developments in both American and American Jewish history during that particular era. Source materials in the collection are preceded by short headnotes that orient readers to the documents’ historical context and significance.

Congratulation to Eran Kaplan on the publication of Beyond Post-Zionism

Beyond Post-Zionism Book CoverSUNY: Post-Zionism emerged as an intellectual and cultural movement in the late 1980s when a growing number of people inside and outside academia felt that Zionism, as a political ideology, had outlived its usefulness. The post-Zionist critique attempted to expose the core tenets of Zionist ideology and the way this ideology was used, to justify a series of violent or unjust actions by the Zionist movement, making the ideology of Zionism obsolete. In Beyond Post-Zionism Eran Kaplan explores how this critique emerged from the important social and economic changes Israel had undergone in previous decades, primarily the transition from collectivism to individualism and from socialism to the free market. Kaplan looks critically at some of the key post-Zionist arguments (the orientalist and colonial nature of Zionism) and analyzes the impact of post-Zionist thought on various aspects (literary, cinematic) of Israeli culture. He also explores what might emerge, after the political and social turmoil of the last decade, as an alternative to post-Zionism and as a definition of Israeli and Zionist political thought in the twenty-first century.

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