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About the Consortium

Cynthia Scheinberg, David Biale, Steve Zipperstein, Adriane Leveen, Robert Alter, Arnold Eisen, Ze'ev and Lisa Brinner, Murray and Sheila Baumgarten, Naomi Seidman (left to right)
A Word from Professor Robert Alter, Chair, Academic Consortium Steering Committee

The Academic Consortium brings faculty and graduate students in the field of Jewish Studies together with their peers at other Bay Area institutions, providing intellectual exchange and a sense of community beyond what is available on any individual campus. Initiated in 1988 and administered by the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and funded by the Swig Family Fund for Jewish Community Involvement, the Academic Consortium also brings Northern California academics into a closer relationship with the organized Jewish community, thereby bridging these two communities that have so much to offer each other.

The Academic Consortium has had many notable successes since its inception, sponsoring semi-annual Bay Area-wide "Days of Learning" featuring scholars in the field of Jewish Studies from Northern California institutions, and producing a comprehensive Directory of Jewish Studies Programs in Northern California. Graduate students have been helped to find research and job opportunities and financial support. The Consortium's steering committee, with representation from all of the major Jewish Studies programs, also assists in the development of new programs at Northern California universities, and receives grant assistance from the staff of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund. 

The wealth of knowledge at each institution...benefits Jewish lay leaders and communal workers, as well as the Jewish and general populations. Conversely, the Jewish community can extend its involvement and support to academic programs in Jewish studies and the scholars who lead them. 


As Jewish Studies programs have become established and have made Northern California one of the most important centers for Jewish Studies in the country, the scope of the Consortium has broadened. The Consortium now includes faculty and students from 11 programs, including the Graduate Theological Union, San Francisco State, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, the University of San Francisco, CSU Chico, Santa Clara University, Mills College, and San Jose State. Participation from other institutions in the region, including CSU East Bay, Humboldt State, Sacramento State and Sonoma State has also been encouraged.

The wealth of knowledge at each institution, represented by the professors, and graduate students, benefits not only colleagues inside and outside those institutions, but Jewish lay leaders, rabbis and other communal professionals, and the Jewish community as a whole. The partnership developed over the years has proven of great value to all concerned and has become a national model. 

We hope the Academic Consortium and its participating programs can continue to enrich both the field of Jewish Studies and the interaction between scholars in that field and their respective communities. If we can be of assistance in that regard — or if you would like further information about upcoming programs sponsored by the Academic Consortium — please do not hesitate to be in touch. 

Professor Robert Alter
Chair, Academic Consortium Steering Committee