Students and Alumni

Spotlight

Photo of Zoe

Zoe Bishop

Prior to coming to college, my own Jewish Identity was not something that I had explored. When taking “Jews, Judaisms, and Jewish Identities” during my first semester at USF, I learned about how diverse Jewish communities can be and where my identity fit into these spaces as well. JSSJ allowed me to engage with my passion for social justice in new ways, while also making it relevant to my own life. The work that the Swig program does on campus is so important and collides so well with the culture on campus and in all of San Francisco. Jewish Studies and Social Justice has helped me understand and navigate a diverse campus in a diverse city. 


Photo of AlanaAlana Cree

Alana is a Sociology Major and grew up in a small town in the East Bay. She currently works at the Gleeson Library on campus. ” I am a JSSJ minor because being Jewish is an important part of my identity and Social Justice is my future! I grew up with such strong Jewish values and I discovered that I want to devote my life working towards repairing the earth, or “Tikkun Olam”. The JSSJ program was the perfect fit!  I always knew that I wanted to help others because the idea of social justice has been ingrained in me from a young age. I plan to go on to get my Masters in Social Work after I graduate from USF. The JSSJ program has been paramount in my decision to go into this area of study. I have been thoroughly challenged and inspired to learn in each JSSJ course. This program has thoroughly shaped my future and I am grateful to be a part of it!”


Photo of Krystal GiraldesKrystal Giraldes

Krystal joined the JSSJ minor after being inspired by the teachings of Oren Kroll-Zeldin in his class Social Justice and The Israel-Palestine Conflict. “I originally took [this class] simply because I was simply curious about the conflict. I didn’t learn much about anything regarding the Middle East in high school or my early politics courses, but in one semester I became passionate about the subject and developed a deep desire to keep learning more. After several more classes, I declared a [JSSJ] minor. I learned about how Jewish values have been at the forefront of almost all revolutionary social movements, and decided that pursuing an end to the Israeli occupation through these exact values was how I wanted to direct my life path. I am now interning at Middle East Institute in Washington DC because of the inspiration I got from the JSSJ program, and I hope to be working at a Jewish-based anti-occupation organization such as, if not now, than after I graduate this coming May [of 2020]”.


Mackenzie Miller

I’m a JSSJ minor mainly because I didn’t know what to make of my relationship with Judaism prior to attending college. I knew I loved the culture, values, and tradition that I had grown up with, but I didn’t find a sense of purpose through this faith. That was until the course Jews, Judaisms, and Jewish Identities where I discovered that all these aspects of Judaism, that I truly love, can be evolved into a greater compilation of my identity beyond just a religion. I found that the faculty and the curriculum really challenged me in seeing the world through a completely new lens…and that is honestly a big reason why I decided to stay at USF.
With that being said, this program has greatly impacted my life and outlook on my other studies at this University. I think back to courses I’ve taken such as Social Justice, Activism, and Jews that tested my own beliefs and pushed me to understand the pure humanity in our society, even maybe the lack-there-of. Primarily focusing on Tikkun Olam, “repair of the world”, and how that translates into other subject areas or courses.  In addition, the collaboration of Judaism and Social Justice has completely influenced my post-graduate career goals. Having this unique title under my education history makes me feel extremely empowered in fighting the injustices of this world instead of creating them.