Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program

Affiliated Faculty

Jennifer Thompson, Ph.D., Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement, Director of Jewish Studies Program

Jennifer ThompsonJennifer Thompson, Ph.D., Director, Jewish Studies Program 

  • Professor of Jewish Studies

  • Maurice Amado Professor of Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement

  • Sierra Tower 827

  • 818.677.2963



    Ph.D., Ethics and Society, Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University, 2010

    M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School, 2000

    B.A., summa cum laude, English and American Literature; Women's Studies Program, Comparative Religion minor, Brandeis University, 1998.

Courses taught include:

Sociology of Jewish Families and Communities, Jewish Identity in the U.S., Justice and Judaism, Applied Jewish Ethics, American Jewish Experience


Applied Ethics, 2015
Applied Ethics bookcover. Agape Garden pictured



  • Association for Jewish Studies
  • Society of Jewish Ethics

Melissa Weininger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

Melissa WeiningerMelissa Weininger, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies


Ph.D., Jewish Studies, The University of Chicago, 2010

B.A., English Language and Literature and Women’s Studies, Harvard University, 1995

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Research Interests

Prof. Weininger works in the fields of Hebrew and Yiddish literature, with an emphasis on contemporary Israeli literature. She is completing a book on diaspora Israeli literature and culture. Her other research interests include gender, nationalism, and popular culture, with a particular interest in Israeli television.


Prof. Weininger has taught courses on Jewish literature and film, graphic novels, gender and sexuality. At CSUN has taught Women in the Jewish Experience and the American Jewish Experience, and will teach Israel’s History and Peoples, Jewish Ethics, and Nonprofit Internship in the Jewish Community.

Jeffrey Auerbach, Ph.D., Professor of History

Jeffrey Auerbach, Ph.D., Professor

Shira Brown, M.A., Lecturer in Gender and Women's Studies

Shira BrownShira Brown, M.A., Lecturer


Shira Brown graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and English in 2002. Ms. Brown also holds an M.A. in Applied Women’s Studies, with a concentration in Community Building & Education, from Claremont Graduate University, earned in 2004. Immediately after earning her MA, she began working at the Institute for Multicultural Counseling & Education Services, Inc. (IMCES), where she became a Certified Domestic Violence Advocate and Program Coordinator for a CalWorks Domestic Violence program working one-on-one with survivors of domestic violence to provide access to community resources.

Since August 2011, she has served as the Staff Director for CSUN's Women's Research and Resource Center. She has been teaching in the CSUN Gender and Women’s Studies department since Spring 2006.

Dorothy Clark, Ph.D., Professor of English

Dorothy ClarkDorothy Clark, Ph.D., Professor

Dr. Dorothy Clark is a professor of English. She earned both her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at UCLA and received an M.A. in English and a secondary English Credential from CSUN.  Dr. Clark has been teaching as full-time faculty at CSUN since 2001. 


Her interests and courses include Children’s Literature, Yeats, interdisciplinary courses on good and evil, and the Holocaust with a focus on issues of memory and representation. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Dr. Clark has been a board member of the 1939 Society (the largest Holocaust survivor organization in the U.S.) for over a decade. She helped to initiate the Jewish Studies Program’s trips to Poland, leading the first trip in conjunction with Loyola Marymount University in 2010.

Prof. Clark has taught classes on the Holocaust and American Culture and the Rhetoric of Memory, focusing on the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.

Current Research Interests:

Holocaust education and preserving an “authenticity of memory”; children’s literature and new media; representations of good and evil in popular culture.

Recent Selected Publications:

  • Co-editor, Frontiers in American Children’s Literature. Accepted for publication by Cambridge Scholars Press, January 2014.
  • "Healing Shattered Worlds: The Unforeseen Effects of a Second Generation Daughter's Return to Her Parents' Polish Village." Tikkun Magazine, Tikkun Daily, December 2011.
  • “Hyperread: Repurposing Children’s Literature and Digital Storytelling.”  Postmodern Reinterpretations of Fairy Tales. How Applying New Methods Generates New Meanings.  Ed. Anna Kérchy.  The Edwin Mellen Press, 2011.
  • “Being’s Wound: Evil and Explanation in The Killer Inside Me,” in the Enigma of Good and Evil: The Moral Sentiment in Literature, edited by A. Tymieniecka, Analecta Husserliana Book Series 85, The Netherlands: Springer Publications,  December 2005.


  • Member of the Editorial Board (Polish Peer Reviewed Journal):  A/R/T Journal: Analyses/Rereading/Theories: A Journal Devoted to Literature, Film and Theatre
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • Children’s Literature Association (ChLA)
  • American Literature Association (ALA)
  • Children’s Literature Society, American Literature Association

Daniela Gerson, Associate Professor of Journalism

Daniela GersonDaniela Gerson, Associate Professor

Daniela Gerson is an associate professor of Journalism at California State University, Northridge, with a focus on community, ethnic and participatory media. Previously she was co-founder of the immigration newsletter Migratory Notes; a senior fellow at the Center for Community Media (CCM); community engagement editor at the LA Times; director of the Community Engagement and Journalism Initiative at University of Southern California; and immigration reporter for the New York Sun. She started her career as director of the Jewish Student Press Service and editor of New Voices Magazine. She has reported for WNYC: New York Public Radio, BBC/ PRI’s The World, Der Spiegel, Financial Times, CNN, The New York Times, among other outlets. She was awarded a first-place RIAS Berlin Commission radio award for her German-language radio documentary Too Many Geisters on the legacy of the Holocaust on the third generation. 

You can find her on Twitter @dhgerson

Selected Publications

April 26, 2021

NOVEMBER 1, 2020

Elaine Goodfriend, Ph.D., Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, and History

Elaine Good friend Elaine Goodfriend, Ph.D., Lecturer

  • Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, History
  • Santa Susana Hall 418
  • 818.677.6875 or 818.677-6762 (messages for Jewish Studies), 818.677-3392 (messages for Religious Studies)


  • June 1990: Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies, University of California at Berkeley.  
  • September 1982 - June 1983: Fulbright Grant, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • June 1980: M.A., M.L.S. Concurrent Degree Program in Near Eastern Studies and Librarianship, U.C. Berkeley. Wheeler Fellowship in the Humanities.
  • December 1976: B.A. in Semitic Languages, Cornell University;  Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and graduation with honors. 


Teaching courses in Ancient Near East, Bible (Hebrew Bible and Christian Bible), Jewish history, women in Judaism and Jewish culture, general religious studies.

Research in Hebrew Biblical studies. 


  • "Food in the Hebrew Bible," in Food and Jewish Traditions. Editors: Aaron Gross, Jody Myers, and Jordan Rosenblum. Forthcoming.
  • "Leviticus 22:24: A Prohibition of Gelding for the Land of Israel?" in Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature: The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond. Editors: Roy E. Gane and Ada Taggar‑Cohen, et al. Resources for Biblical Study. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, Spring 2015.
  • "Ethical Theory in the Hebrew Bible," Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality.  Editors:  Elliot N. Dorff & Jonathan K. Crane. Oxford University Press, 2012. 
  • Author of 118 sample annotations for's "Tagged Tanakh." This project is the Jewish Publication Society's endeavor to publish the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh as an electronic, online text, integrating the original Hebrew with JPS's English translation and selected commentaries. My annotations linked the Hebrew Bible with sources from the Ancient Near East.
  • "Book of Exodus," "Prostitution," and "The Ancient Near East." Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture. Editor: Judith Baskin. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Central commentaries for the weekly Torah portions Yitro, Mishpatim, Tazria, and Metzora. The Torah: A Women's Commentary. Editors: Tamara Eskenazi and Andrea Weiss. New York: URJ Press, 2008.
  • Contributions to Women in Scripture:  A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, and New Testament.  Editors: Carol Meyers, Toni Craven, and Ross Kraemer.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.    
  • "Could keleb in Deuteronomy 23:19 Actually Refer to a Canine?" in Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom.  Editors: David P. Wright, Avi Hurvitz, and David Noel Freedman.  Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1995. 
  • "Adultery," "Prostitution," Anchor Bible Dictionary, 1992.

Audrey Thacker, Ph.D., Lecturer in English

Audrey ThackerAudrey Thacker, Ph.D., Lecturer

English, with an emphasis on American literature and sub-specialties in Jewish American literature, African American literature, the novel, and the 20th and 21st centuries
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  • Ph.D, English, Claremont Graduate University, 2005
    • Dissertation:  My Story, Your Story, Our Story--Whose Story? "Storying" the Holocaust and Confronting Questions of Narrative Authority and Authenticity through Art Spiegelman's MAUS: A Survivor's Tale
  • M.A., English, California State University, Northridge, 1992
    • Thesis: Jewish Dreams/American Dreams: Ethnic Absence and Presence in Four Jewish American Texts
  • B.A.,  English, University of California, Berkeley, 1986
    • ​Thesis: Humor and Emily Dickinson: An Unexpected Acquaintance

I teach English, usually American literature, at CSUN, and am also a faculty member in the Liberal Studies Online Degree Completion Program. In addition to teaching, I assess CSUN's Upper Division Writing Exams (UDWPE) and work actively with the Affordable Learning $olutions (AL$) team to make my courses zero-cost with regard to textbooks
At present, most of my research and writing involves both Jewish and African American performance. The idea of performance is a fascinating and a timely one in a current social context in which the borders of ethnic and racial identification are often blurred, both intracommunally and from without.
Complicating Constructions: Race, Ethnicity, and Hybridity in American Texts, co-edited with David S. Goldstein, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, published June 2007 by the University of Washington Press

Review of Weequahic’s Gentle Giant, by Robert Masin, Philip Roth Studies, Fall 2010
Select Papers Presented
“Shifting Borders/Shifting Jews: In Literature and in Life, ‘Big J’s,’ ‘Little j’s and the Farblunget Parameters of Jewish Performance,” presented at the conference of the Western Jewish Studies Association (WJSA), Palm Desert, CA, May 2019
Sorry to Bother You, and Welcome to Braggsville--but Now Get Out! In Underground/Underskin Racial Performance, Will the “Real” Black Man Please Stand Up?,” presented at the conference of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States (MELUS), Cincinnati, Ohio, March 2019

“Pop Goes the Professor: Brands, Stands and Reprimands in the Teaching of Jewish American Texts,” presented at the conference of the Western Jewish Studies Association (WJSA), Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA, March 2017

Nu? THIS Is Where We’re Going? Moving the Holocaust from the Sacred to the Profane in Melvin Jules Bukiet’sAfter and Tova Reich’s My Holocaust,” presented at the conference of the Society for the Study of Jewish American and Holocaust Literature (JAHLIT), Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2009.

Kassandra Wilsey, M.A., Lecturer in Jewish Studies and Recreation and Tourism Management

Kassandra WiseyKassandra Wilsey, M.A.

As a part-time instructor in both the Recreation and Tourism Management Department and the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program, Ms. Wilsey teaches outdoor education and environmental sustainability. She also teaches Environmental Judaism which is an examination of teachings on the natural environment found in Jewish literature and oral teachings, with an emphasis on values and practices related to respect for natural life and environmental conservation. It is her goal to bridge the growing gap between students and their natural environment with hopes of a more sustainable future.