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Jewish studies prof. reflects on his first year at SFSU

August 29, 2003

Photo of Marc DollingerProfessor Marc Dollinger, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility, enjoyed his first year at SFSU in 2002-03.

In an opinion piece published in this week's edition of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, the former Pasadena City College history professor lets readers know that Jewish life at SFSU is much more positive than as accounted in international media coverage spawned from tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine students that erupted at a 2002 campus rally.

"At SFSU, much of the public perception of Jewish life has been defined by the deplorable acts of a few, while a host of impressive stories have not been told," Dollinger writes.

"Extremists will always seek our attention and exploit it for their own ends. We will have suffered a worse defeat if we allow these incidents to define our larger understanding of the university or our place in it."

Dollinger witnessed many positive, constructive interactions on campus between Jews and non-Jews last year, including the decade-old student-initiated Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group that invites Palestinians and Jews to "listen to all narratives, overcome stereotypes, (and) see each other's equal humanity."

"Many of the fears elicited by the news coverage of last spring's contentious rally could have been eased had readers known about this effort for deeper understanding," Dollinger writes.

A panel discussion of three Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals who traveled from the Middle East to offer their perspectives on the conflict -- as part of SFSU's Year of Civil Discourse -- was also a constructive debate, Dollinger writes.

He also notes that the SFSU Jewish Studies Program had a great year. It enjoyed surging enrollments and launched its new bachelor's degree program in modern Jewish studies. Students engaged in civil discourse in a comparative religion course on Judaism, Christianity and Islam that was filled to capacity with people of all three faiths. The program received a donation of a copy of transcripts from the Nuremberg Trials, available for students and other scholars to use for research, as well as the general public.

Read the full text of Dollinger's opinon piece at the Jewish Journal.

-- Matt Itelson

Photo: Gino de Grandis


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Last modified August 29, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs