Learning about San Francisco Jews and the Diaspora

Further adventures with Fed Fellows

In ancient times, the Jewish people were exiled from their homeland and sent to the far regions of the world. In most situations, this would spell the end of a people in their entirety, as they would simply assimilate into whatever country they were exiled to. For Jews, of course, the story didn’t end there. They have maintained their ethno-religious character for thousands of years, reclaimed their indigenous homeland, and revived their ancient language (Hebrew).

Though the story may sound simple, the effects of being scattered have had a powerful effect on world Jewry. In each region where Jews have lived, they assimilated and took on aspects of that region. This effect wasn’t just limited to the type of foods Jews ate, but also extended to cultural values that are core to individual Jews.

As our Federation Fellows cohort came to learn during a recent presentation by Marc Dollinger, Professor of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University (and pencil enthusiast), San Francisco Jews have their own history and relationship with Judaism, Jewishness, and Zionism.

Marc’s lecture was very amusing but also educational. He spoke about some of the regional differences among American Jews regarding Zionism, Judaism, synagogue affiliation and human rights.

As a Federation Fellow, my mind frame and goal for this fellowship have been to work toward bringing together members of the Jewish community for Zionism and human rights. After hearing from Marc and receiving a copy of his book, California Jews, I now have a greater understanding of how to appeal to Jews in the Bay Area, and across this great country.

The lecture was very informative and created a great baseline for me and my Fed Fellows to engage the larger Jewish community.

Oren Gotesman is a co-founder of JHTC 2.0, a certified project manager, and an advanced speaker in Toastmasters. He loves: board games, Israel, the San Francisco Jewish community, and cookies.

Federation Fellows is a two-year leadership building program that develops the next generations of leaders for the Jewish community. Learn More

Categories: Leadership


February 13, 2017


Oren Gotesman