San Francisco State UniversityA-ZSearchCalendarNeed help?News

SF State News
SF State News Home
SFSU in the News
Events Calendar
Gator Sports News

Expert commentary
Expert Commentary 1
Expert Commentary 2
Expert Commentary 3

For Journalists
News Releases
Faculty Experts
Public Affairs Staff

For Faculty
Submit a News Item
Be an Expert Source
Working with the  Media

SFSU Publications
SFSU Magazine

Public Affairs

New, unique program in Jewish service learning

March 15, 2007

Photo of students learning about Jewish service learning at a December workshop sponsored by SF State and the Bureau of Jewish Education of San Francisco SF State, 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 certificate of completion in Jewish service learning.

"Service learning is a modern application of the ancient Jewish tradition of giving back to the community," said Professor Marc Dollinger, who holds the 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."

Beginning this month, the two-semester, four-unit program will train working professionals to create and sustain community service projects that make a difference and inspire learning at day schools, synagogues, youth programs, nonprofit organizations and more. During 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.

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. "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."

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 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.

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 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

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Courtesy of the Bureau of Jewish Education of San Francisco


San Francisco State University

Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132    (415) 338-1111
Last modified March 15, 2007 by University Communications