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People

Advisory Board

Please find the Madrasa-Midrasha Program Advisory Board members and bios below.

 

Kamal Abu-Shamsieh is Director of the Interreligious Chaplaincy Program (ICP) and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union. He founded Ziraya Muslim Spiritual Care and extensively traveled internationally to train chaplains in primarily Arab and Muslim countries. Since 2012, he has served as a chaplain at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. He completed four clinical pastoral education units (CPE) at Stanford Hospital and a Certificate in Palliative Care Chaplaincy from California State University Institute for Palliative Care. He completed a Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union in 2019 where he examined Prophet Muhammad's dying experience as a good death model for an Islamic practical theology for end-of-life care.
 

Deena Aranoff is Faculty Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She teaches rabbinic literature, medieval patterns of Jewish thought, and the broader question of continuity and change in Jewish history. Her recent publications engage with the subject of childcare, maternity and the making of Jewish culture.
 

 

Carol Bier, a historian of Islamic Art, studies patterns as intersections of art and mathematics. As Research Scholar at the Center for Islamic Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, she has published widely on cultural aspects of geometry in Islamic art that inform a beauty of form, pattern and structure. She is concurrently Research Associate at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC (2001-present), where she served as Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections (1984-2001).

 

Munir Jiwa is the Founding Director of the Center for Islamic Studies and Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Anthropology at the Graduate Theological Union, and serves as a faculty at the Othering and Belonging Institute’s Religious Diversity Cluster at UC Berkeley. His research interests include Islam and Muslims in the West, Islamophobia studies, media, art and aesthetics, secularism, religious formation and leadership, religion in the public sphere, and interreligious and theological education. He is the recipient of foundation awards and grants from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. From 2019-2021 he served as the Chair of the Committee on Racial and Ethnic Minorities at the American Academy of Religion. He received the GTU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015 and was the GTU Distinguished Faculty in 2019.
 

Naomi Seidman is Chancellor Jackman Professor of the Arts at the University of Toronto in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. She was formerly the Koret Professor of Jewish Culture at the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the GTU, and is currently a Scholar in Residence at CJS. She is working on a book on Freud's Jewish languages.explores how in Jewish ritual time Passover marks the beginning of a psychological journey to Shavuot, the celebration of Sinai.
 

Sam S.B. Shonkoff is the Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU, where he teaches on Jewish religious thought, modern Jewish cultures, and methods in theology, ethics, and the historical-cultural study of religions. His research focuses primarily on German-Jewish thought and Hasidism, as well as appropriations of Hasidic spirituality in relatively secular spheres. Shonkoff’s current book project investigates themes of embodiment in Martin Buber’s representations of Hasidism vis-à-vis the original sources. He is co-editor with Ariel Evan Mayse of Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community and Life in the Modern World (Brandeis University Press, 2020) and the editor of Martin Buber: His Intellectual and Scholarly Legacy (Brill, 2018). He is also affiliated with the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics. Prior to joining the GTU in 2018, Shonkoff taught at Oberlin College and the University of Chicago.