About Shaina  

Shaina began teaching Hebrew school as a teenager. Moving to France after college, she took a class at a synagogue there and realized: Jewish education isn’t just for kids!

That revelation—in addition to living in a foreign country—radically transformed her perspective on Jewish history and identity. In pursuit of answers to big questions about Jewishness, she found an intellectual home at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

After intensive training with cutting-edge scholars in Jewish history, literature, religion, and cultural studies, Shaina gained the methodological tools to address those questions that first nagged at her when living in France. Her dissertation is on its way to becoming a book and she has published on topics such as Jews in film, American Jewish literary legacies, and Jewish-Muslim relations.

But her home remains in the place where she was first able to develop her questions—the classroom. While reading (and reading and reading) grounds her work, nothing advances her ideas and research more than teaching. Shaina loves teaching because she loves to learn. Her students’ perspectives are invaluable—they open surprising new vistas onto materials she’s covered dozens of times; they force her to articulate her thoughts with humor, humility, and clarity; they make the big questions bigger.

After completing her doctorate, Shaina didn’t want to limit her time in the classroom. She continues to teach at the university level, but also seeks out opportunities to engage with Jewish communities, continuing education programs, high-schoolers, and the general public in the Bay Area and beyond.

Shaina also serves as a wedding officiant. Learn about her wedding services here.