(Jewish News Of Northern California) Since becoming University of San Francisco’s rabbi-in-residence in 2019, Rabbi Camille Angel has been busy, whether she’s creating inclusive on-campus spaces, helping to empower students through her classes, officiating Jewish lifecycle events or leading Passover seders:
When Angel’s hiring was announced, it made headlines. A Jesuit Catholic university appointing a rabbi-in-residence was unprecedented, especially when that rabbi is a lesbian and longtime LGBTQ activist. She says credit for her presence on campus is largely due to the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice.
“I was trained and I’m a rabbi to serve Jews, and I do — I led a shiva two nights ago, so I’m definitely still serving Jews,” Angel told J. “But there’s something remarkable for me and totally unexpected about my rabbinate being primarily among non-Jews at this point and that my teaching is primarily with non-Jews.”
According to Angel, there is only one Jewish student in her “Queering Religion” class of 40. The other students represent a mix of religious affiliations, but they gravitate to Angel’s classes and programs because of the inclusive queer community she has cultivated on campus…
Angel said it’s important for her to be a visibly Jewish and queer presence on campus — both in and out of the classroom. She regularly wears an embroidered kippah and keeps a rainbow pride flag displayed in her office window. She emphasizes how much real representation and inclusion matter, especially when many students have never interacted with Judaism or Jewish thought or even met a rabbi.
“Students will often ask me, ‘What should I call you? Professor? Doctor? Rabbi?’” Angel said. “I tell them to call me rabbi, because everyone needs a rabbi, and if you didn’t have one before, now you do.”
Angel, who had been lecturing at USF for several years before joining the seven-person University Ministry staff as the on-campus rabbi, places a lot of emphasis on being a positive, identity-affirming spiritual adviser regardless of students’ backgrounds or belief systems. Angel finds that many of her students’ relationships with religion often are complicated by negative experiences due to their sexual orientations or gender identities. But they are also curious and seeking for themselves to figure out whether they want to explore spirituality.
“When I was teaching my first [theology] class, I encountered so many people who’d been really damaged and hurt by religion, or who had chosen not to be associated with religion, because they could see that it hurt people they loved,” said Angel. According to USF, a majority of undergraduate students are unaffiliated with a religion, while others identify as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, atheist or Protestant. Fewer than half are Catholic.
According to a 2020 study by the Trevor Project, LGBTQ young adults whose parents held negative religious beliefs about homosexuality were at twice the risk of attempting suicide.
In her “Queering Religion” class, Angel teaches from a Jewish perspective how to navigate religious contexts, especially those religions that have often attempted to negate queer people. Many students credit Angel and this class with helping them re-evaluate and reconnect with their respective spiritual traditions.
This was the case for Luis Anaya, a senior sociology major, for whom growing up Mexican American and Catholic went hand in hand, but being queer and Catholic, not so much. “I had a lot of reservations around religion because growing up and being queer, I innately had a different experience and different perspective on Catholic teachings,” said Anaya, who was born in Mexico City but grew up in Stockton.
When he took Angel’s class, he said, he also was taking strides in exploring and navigating his queer identity, so the intersection of queer narratives and spirituality was particularly meaningful for him. He also said exposure to Jewish thought helped to repair his strained relationship with Catholicism.
“Rabbi Angel talks a lot about pluralism, how different identities can coexist at the same time, and the idea of not reading the text literally, but rather interpreting it to get a better perspective of what these people were trying to write about and the messages that they were trying to convey,” Anaya said. “To question things and almost approach them with a grain of salt.”
Peñafort had a similar experience. Raised Catholic, she stopped going to church in her teens….“Even though I felt like I didn’t fit into Catholicism and their values, I was still able to take little pieces and apply it to myself or just reframe it in a way that applies to me and my life and my identity,” said Peñafort.
With Angel as a facilitator, Anaya and several other students started a peer-led LGBTQ group on campus called “Qmmunity,” which Anaya describes as a sort of extension of Angel’s class and the Jewish values she teaches. On Thursdays, the group hosts a lunch program called “Breaking Bread and the Binary,” in which students come together to share a meal, their thoughts and reflections on current events.
The first session this semester was held Jan. 27 on Holocaust Remembrance Day and shortly after the Jan. 15 Colleyville, Texas hostage crisis. Angel expressed how significant the gathering felt and how it reminded her of the importance of creating inclusive spaces not just for Jewish students but for all marginalized people.
“Being in this group out and proud, here and queer, on the lawn in front of the church, it’s the biggest satisfaction that Hitler and the Nazis and fascism and fundamentalism don’t rule our lives,” Angel said the next day, reflecting on the session. “We’re here, together, and we won’t be frightened back into our respective closets.”
Next month, Angel will host the inaugural Alvin H. Baum Jr. Memorial Lecture, in honor of the San Francisco philanthropist known as a community pillar in the Jewish, civil rights and gay communities who died last year. In April, she’s leading a social justice-centered interfaith Passover seder focused on themes of climate justice, interfaith solidarity, peace, health and freedom. She also has plans to expand community outreach to address the issue of food insecurity among college students, something that affects LGBTQ people at twice the rate of others, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
All throughout, her core focus is on the intersection of religion and queerness. “I think it’s so refreshing to hear a different perspective,” Peñafort said, “and even if it’s based on a religious point of view, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it is. It just feels like she’s a very wise woman, and a mentor and a friend.”
The true purpose of having this “rabbi” on campus isn’t about fostering “inclusivity” and “acceptance” of “marginalized” identity groups — it’s to teach students that Christianity is oppressive and destructive — the moral equivalent of Nazism — and that permissive Judaism can “heal the world” — through “tikkun olam.”
And by promoting this agenda, this rabbi is indeed “serving Jews” by subversively “queering” the students on campus and turning them away from the Christian faith.
According to a group of Jesuit priests at Forham University, “gay Catholics” — not Christ — are the “new cornerstone” of the Catholic Church.
No, this isn’t about “queering” all religions — it’s about “queering” oppressive and “anti-Semitic” Christianity, the great boogeyman of the Jews.
The rabbi does what all rabbis do — deconstruct the Scriptures and twist them into saying exactly what they want them to say, to justify whatever sin you refuse to give up and repent of — especially homosexuality.
That this rabbi was hired by a Jesuit college is surely no coincidence — the Jesuit order was founded by a crypto-Jew Ignatius Loyola — and the early Jesuit Order attracted so many like-minded crypto-Jews that it was considered a “virtual synagogue” — a fifth column in the Catholic Church.
Later, the Jesuit Order was targeted for infiltration by the Freemasons — the Illuminati itself was founded by a Jesuit-educated crypto-Jew by the name of Adam Weishaupt.
Judaism, in many ways, is indistinguishable from Freemasonry — as the Jewish Tribune wrote in 1927, “Freemasonry is based on Judaism. Eliminate the teachings of Judaism from the Masonic ritual and what is left?”
This subversion goes far in explaining why the Jesuits have been on the vanguard of conforming to the modern world and its Jewish values — which this lesbian rabbi articulates so well.
Since Vatican II, under the guise of “Catholic-Jewish” dialogue, the Church has compromised on one issue after another, conforming more and more to Jewish-Marxist “values” — while Jews have compromised on nothing — if anything, they’ve become even more hostile to the Church with every concession the Church makes — like sharks when they perceive a wounded prey.
If the Jesuits who run this college truly wanted to protect its faith and its flock, it wouldn’t let this radical, Christ-denying Jewish lesbian anywhere near the campus — or a Bible.