Unless noted otherwise, all events were free and open to the public.

Fall 2011

God, Gender, and I: A Jewish Journey Between Genders
Oct. 12, 11:45 a.m., USF

In June 2007, after a lifetime of struggling to live as a man, Dr. Joy Ladin, the David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University, began to live as a woman. Like many transgender children, for many years Joy's only confidant was God. Unlike many transgender people, who lose their early intimacy with God as they struggle with religious traditions that don't acknowledge or accept them, Joy remained engaged with the Jewish tradition into which she was born and found a position teaching at Yeshiva University, a modern Orthodox Jewish school. After receiving tenure as man, she came out as a transsexual; after a tumultuous period of adjustment she was welcomed back by her students and her colleagues, becoming the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution and sparking discussions about religion and gender identity around the Jewish world.

Dr. Ladin is the author of five books of poetry: Coming to Life, Psalms, Transmigration, The Book of Anna, and Alternatives to History. She also recently completed a book of autobiographical essays, a collection of psalms, and book of poems composed of words found in an issue of Cosmo Girl.

Peace in Palestine and Israel?
Nov. 18, 11:45am, USF

The young men and women in the US and the Middle East are taking the lead in changing their realities. The whole world is watching. Something major is happening.

This past summer, two groups of students set out in a personal and communal journey to two different conflict zones. One group traveled to the Balkans to explore the role social identities play in conflicts. Called the Vision Program, they explored the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the lenses of people living in Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The second group went to Israel and Palestine in an intensive exploration of a seemingly intractable conflict. Called Beyond Bridges: Israel-Palestine, they learned that as Americans they can play a key role in ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Come and learn about ways to move toward a just peace in Palestine and Israel with Vision Program students Abed Abou Shchada and Einat Levi and BBIP students Olivia Alonso and Cutter Macleod.

Spring 2012

Justice in Jerusalem?
Feb. 8, 7 p.m., JCCSF

For the fourth annual Social Justice Lecture of the the USF Jewish Studies and Social Justice program we will be joined by Anat Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel. A founding member of Women of the Wall, in recent years Anat made international news in regard to her tireless advocacy on behalf of issues related to women's rights and freedom of religion. Prior to joining IRAC, Anat, who was born and raised in Jerusalem, served on the Jerusalem City Council for 14 years, leading the opposition to the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox-led administration. In the Social Justice Lecture Anat will focus on the chasm between what people think of Jerusalem -- the fantasy, the fable, the wish, the dream that people have associated with this ancient city for centuries -- and what Jerusalem really is, a Middle Eastern hub replete with violence, ruthlessness, injustice, and people working against all odds to fulfill the city's ideals.

Listen to Anat Hoffman's lecture.

Are they ‘Real’ Jews?
March 1, 11:435 a.m., USF

Professor Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, the the Director of the USF Jewish Studies and Social Justice program, will give a talk entitled, "Will the ‘Real’ Jew Please Stand Up? Karaites, Samaritans, and Messianic Jews."

Healing Haiti
April 9, 6 p.m., USF

The fourth annual Social Justice Passover Seder of the USF JSSJ Program will be led by long-time social justice activist Rabbi Lee Bycel, the founder and CEO of Cedarstreet Leadership. Bycel will focus the seder on his recent humanitarian work in Haiti and the plight of the Haitian people. Light Pesadic snacks will be served.

Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance
April 26, 11:45 a.m., USF

Jerusalem Open House Executive Director Elinor Sidi has been active in JOH for the past 10 years. She is a feminist activist with a MA in Gender studies from the Bar Ilan University, specializing in transforming feminist theory into practice. She began her activism with "The Other 10 Percent,” Hebrew University's LGBTQ student union, and was the first woman to become its Chairperson. Elinor is also a friend and ally of the Transgender community and volunteers in Transgender activist groups including the Gila Project, a grassroots independent Transgender project for economic empowerment.

JOH is the flagship LGBT organization in Jerusalem and its only LGBT center. With a constituency as diverse as the city itself, the JOH transcends political, ethnic and religious boundaries to build and unite a community in pursuit of the common goal of tolerance and mutual support. Among the remarkable work JOH performs:

  • Organizing the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance, the largest human rights demonstration in the city.
  • Providing numerous support services and social groups for LGBT youth.
  • Providing the only free, anonymous, rapid-result HIV/AIDS testing service in Jerusalem.
  • Providing a place where all LGBT Jerusalemites -- including Orthodox Jews, Arabs, and transgender individuals -- can go for support, services, and to just be fully themselves.