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SF State launches unique Jewish
learning certificate program



Matt Itelson
SF State Office of Public Affairs & Publications
(415) 338-1665



Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


University partners with nonprofits Bureau of Jewish Education, Spark Center for Jewish Learning

SAN FRANCISCO, February 28, 2007 -- San Francisco State University, in partnership with the nonprofit organizations Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE) of San Francisco and Spark Center for Jewish Learning at Jewish Funds for Justice, has established a first-of-its-kind graduate certificate program in Jewish service learning.

The two-semester, four-unit program begins in March. It will train working professionals to create and sustain community service projects that make a difference in the community and inspire Jewish learning. In the first semester, students will learn principles of Judaism and service learning. In the second semester, students will develop skills in such areas as grant writing and community relations and launch a service project. About 10 students per semester are expected to enroll.

"Service learning is a modern application of the ancient Jewish tradition of giving back to the community," said Professor Marc Dollinger, who holds SF State's Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. "Service learning can be a powerful, transforming experience because it offers a way to connect with people regardless of background, race or denomination."

The Spark Center for Jewish Learning at Jewish Funds for Justice, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that focuses on Jewish service learning initiatives, has provided grant funding and is helping develop the SF State program.

Toby Rubin, Bureau of Jewish Education associate director, said SF State is the perfect university partner due to the recognition it has received its for service learning efforts and faculty's engagement in the Jewish community.

"Marc Dollinger is a dedicated BJE board member and the chair of social responsibility for a university that was just voted one of the nation's premier university centers for community engagement," Rubin said. "I can't think of a more ideal synergy in partnerships."

Enrollment in the program -- offered through SF State's College of Extended Learning and Jewish Studies Program in association with the Spark Center and Bureau of Jewish Education -- is open to students, Jewish community professionals and volunteers, and anyone interested in Jewish service learning.

The program is also funded in part by the Koret Foundation and Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

Cost is $500 per semester. For details, contact Dollinger at (415) 338-3160 or

SF State is a national leader in community service learning, a teaching method that incorporates academic study with community service experiences. The University is classified as a "Community Engagement Institution" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and received a 2006 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service. In 2005-06, about 37 percent of all SF State students took part in service learning classes, contributing 332,348 hours to the surrounding community. That contribution would add up to $2.49 million if paid at the new California minimum wage of $7.50 an hour.


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Last modified April 240, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications