Rachel Gross named John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies

A smiling Professor Rachel Gross

Rachel Gross, the John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies   

The San Francisco State University Department of Jewish Studies has named Rachel Gross to the endowed John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies. Currently a visiting assistant professor of Judaic studies in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech, Gross will join the SF State faculty in August as a tenure-track assistant professor of Jewish studies.

Gross' scholarly interests in American Jewish studies are varied, ranging from Jewish food and children's books to American Jewish experiences of genealogy, nostalgia and Jewish heritage sites. She is currently working on a book manuscript, "Objects of Affection: The Material Religion of American Jewish Nostalgia."

"With the hire of Rachel Gross as the John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies, the department counts its third Goldman family chair," said Marc Dollinger, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility. "This is an impressive testament to a family that has established and now solidified Jewish studies scholarship, education and community engagement in perpetuity at San Francisco State." Eran Kaplan, associate professor, holds the endowed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies.

"Rachel Gross strengthens the department’s keen interest in the American Jewish experience," said Fred Astren, chair of the Department of Jewish Studies. "Her interdisciplinary work builds on SF State Professor Marc Dollinger’s scholarship in American Jewish history. Together, they offer incredibly strong capacities in American Jewish studies scholarship, teaching and community involvement."

As John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies, Gross will expand the department’s existing areas of expertise in Israel studies, Jewish literatures and Jewish history in Islamic lands. Her wide-ranging interests will contribute to scholarly conversations and partnerships with programs across the University as well as in the community.

"I am excited to join the robust and collegial Department of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State," said Gross. "I look forward to teaching about American Jewish religion and culture and to exploring with students the everyday and extraordinary ways that people have engaged with Jewish concepts and practices. I am particularly eager to teach about Jewish foodways in the context of the vibrant Bay Area food scene."

Gross earned a bachelor's degree in Jewish studies at the University of Virginia and master's degrees in religion from the University of Virginia and Princeton University. She earned a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University.

The endowed John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies was established with a $1 million gift from the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation in 2013. In 1997, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund established the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility with a $1 million gift, which was followed by an additional $500,000 gift in 2010 to augment the endowment. In 2008, the endowed Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Israel Studies was established with a $3.75 million gift from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. A portion of this gift supported the reorganization of Jewish studies into a University department.

The Department of Jewish Studies is devoted to the history, religion, culture and contributions of the Jewish people and attracts a diverse group of students from many racial and ethnic backgrounds. The department offers a bachelor's degree in modern Jewish studies and a minor in Jewish studies.

For more information about the work of the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation, visit the website.

Last update: 
2016-02-23 09:29
By: 
mk