Skip to Main Content

Conference Program

Program Book PDF (schedule of sessions, special events, receptions; floor plans; exhibitors)

Sessions Schedule with Presentation Abstracts (log in with your MyAJS info to create your personal schedule)

Highlighted Special Events


Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Workshop

Led by Mira Sucharov, Associate Professor of Political Science at Carleton University

Sunday, December 15, 9 AM – 12:15 PM, Sapphire Green Room (4th Floor)

$40 (includes a copy of Mira Sucharov's book, Public Influence: A Guide to Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Engagement)

The deadline to register for the workshop has passed.

This workshop will guide you through the ins and outs of op-ed writing and social media engagement. Led by Mira Sucharov, co-editor of AJS Perspectives, co-chair of the Jewish Politics Division and author of Public Influence: A Guide to Op-Ed Writing and Social Media Engagement (University of Toronto Press, 2019), this workshop will show you how to translate your research into prescriptive arguments, how to find your way into an ongoing public conversation, how to identify the right outlet, how to pitch your ideas, how to structure and style the piece, and how to manage the ensuing conversation—including analyzing the contemporary social media dynamics of outrage culture, tone policing and virtue signaling in the context of variously scholarly, institutional, and grassroots communities.

Prior to the November 15th registration deadline, refunds are subject to a $10 cancellation fee. After November 15, refunds will no longer be available (except in the event that the workshop is cancelled).

The Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of North America's Meet and Greet

Sunday, December 15, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Aqua 313 (3rd Floor)

Learn how the Yiddish Arts and Academics Association of N. America (YAAANA) promotes Yiddish language and culture through artistic and academic events in California and in North America broadly.

Plenary and Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards

Sunday, December 15, 2:15 PM – 3:45 PM, Sapphire Ballroom CDGH (4th Floor)

The 2019 plenary features Professor David Nirenberg in conversation with Professor Lila Corwin Berman discussing the topic “Does the History of Antisemitism Tell Us Anything about Its Future?” The program will also include the announcement of the 2019 Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards. Seating at the plenary is limited and will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis.

Plenary Details | 2019 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Winners

Celebrating Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Winners Coffee Break

Sunday, December 15, 3:45 PM – 4:15 PM Exhibit Hall, Sapphire Ballroom AB, EF, IJ, MN (4th Floor)

Made possible by funding from Jordan Schnitzer and Arlene Schnitzer through the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Family Fund of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.

Marshall Sklare Award Lecture and Reception

Sunday, December 15, 4:15 PM – 6:45 PM, Sapphire Ballroom CDGH (4th Floor)

ASSJ will honor our Sklare Award Winner: Professor Harriet Hartman. The reception will follow the Sklare lecture.Sponsored by Association for the Scientific Study of Jewry.

Chair: Leonard Saxe (Brandeis University)

How Gender and Family Still Matter for Contemporary Jewry
Harriet Hartman (Rowan University)

Respondents: Judit Bokser Liwerant (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Ira Martin Sheskin (University of Miami), Sylvia Barack Fishman (Brandeis University)

Welcome Reception

Sunday, December 15, 6:00 PM &ndas h; 7:00 PM, Sapphire Ballroom AB, EF, IJ, MN (4th Floor)

Please join us for the Welcome Reception. Thank you to our generous plenary and party sponsors who helped subsidize the cost of the events.

Film Screening: Tel Aviv on Fire

Sunday, December 15, 7:00 PM – 8:45 PM Aqua Salon D (3rd Floor)

Directed by Sameh Zoabi, Israel/Luxemburg, 2018, in Hebrew and Arabic w/English subtitles, 97 minutes.

Winner of top prizes at the Haifa and Venice film festivals, writer-director Sameh Zoabi’s satire follows Salam, an inexperienced young Palestinian man whose creative career is on the rise on a Palestinian TV soap opera, Tel Aviv on Fire, popular with both Israelis and Palestinians. Salam’s daily commute from the Ramallah TV set through the Israeli checkpoint leads to regular encounters with the IDF officer in charge, until the soldier and the show’s financial backers disagree about how the show should end, and Salam is caught in the middle, concocting plot twists to please all sides.

Introduced by Dalit Katz, Wesleyan University.

Distributor’s contact information: Cohen Media

Graduate Student Reception

Sunday, December 15, 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Aqua 310B (3rd Floor)

Sponsored by the OU Center for Communal Research

AJS graduate students are invited to this networking reception.

University of Michigan - Frankel Center for Judaic Studies Reception

Sunday, December 15, 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Aqua 311A (3rd Floor)

The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies invites all conference participants to attend a dessert reception in honor of past and present fellows at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies.

UC San Diego and San Diego State University Reception

Sunday, December 15, 8:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Aqua 311B (3rd Floor)

The UCSD and SDSU Jewish Studies Programs invite colleagues, alumni, and friends to join us for a dessert reception. Those wishing to share memories of the late Professor David Goodblatt will have an opportunity to do so at the beginning of the reception, from 8:30-8:50 pm.

Film Screening: Jerusalem, We Are Here

Sunday, December 15, 8:45 PM – 9:30 PM Aqua Salon D (3rd Floor)

Directed by Dorit Naaman, Canada/Israel/Palestine, 2016, in English, Hebrew, Arabic w/English subtitles, 30 minutes out of 120 minutes.

Jerusalem, We Are Here is an interactive documentary that digitally brings Palestinians back into the Jerusalem neighborhoods from which they were expelled in 1948. Focusing primarily on the neighborhood of Katamon, the film introduces Palestinians and their descendants as they probe their families’ past. This award-winning documentary consists of several self-guided virtual tours of the neighborhood as it is today and as it was in 1948, weaving together testimonies, memories, documents, and maps. Embedded in these tours are short, poetic videos imbued with nostalgia, sorrow, and fleeting returns that offer a model for digital witnessing.

Introduced by Olga Gershenson, University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

Film is open access:

Association for the Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ) Memorial Reception

Sunday, December 15, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Aqua 310A (3rd floor)

We will honor the memory of three valued ASSJ colleagues who passed away in 2019: Professor Rela Gefen z’’l, Professor Moshe Hartman z’’l, and Professor Sidney Goldstein z’’l. Remembrances will be offered about the lives and work of these scholars. Along with formal remarks, an opportunity will be provided for brief recollections by participants in the memorial session. A reception will follow. Open to all conference registrants.

Film Screening: From Cairo to the Cloud: The World of the Cairo Geniza

Sunday, December 15, 9:30 PM – 11:00 PM Aqua Salon D (3rd Floor)

Directed by Michelle Paymar, Canada, 2018, in English, 92 minutes.

In 1896, when Solomon Schechter entered the genizah of an ancient synagogue in Cairo, he discovered a vast treasure trove of manuscripts that revolutionized our understanding of 1,000 years of vibrant Jewish life in the heart of the Islamic world. Over half a million of these documents included religious texts, medical prescriptions, love letters, marriage contracts, and children’s school lessons—a veritable Facebook of the Middle Ages. This extraordinary documentary is the first to explore the Geniza, exposing audiences to the rich, complex world it reveals, and introducing us to the scholarship that emerged from this unique discovery.

Introduced by filmmaker Michelle Paymar; Q&A following the screening.

Distributor’s contact information:


Please note: The Financial Planning Workshop scheduled for Monday afternoon has been cancelled.

AJS Honors Its Authors Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

Monday, December 16, 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM, Exhibit Hall (4th Floor)

Sponsored by the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

Join us at Exhibit Hall Booth 103 to celebrate AJS members who have published books in 2019. Open to all conference registrants.

The Jewish Theological Seminary, The Gershon Kekst Graduate School Reception

Sunday, December 15, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Aqua 310AB (3rd Floor)

JTS’s Office of Alumni Affairs welcomes all alumni, faculty, and conference guests. Mingle with JTS deans, faculty, graduate students, and alumni. Open to all conference registrants.

De Gruyter Oldenbourg Reception

Sunday, December 15, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Aqua 311A (3rd Floor)

De Gruyter hosts a reception to celebrate the publication of new books and the new database “Klemperer online.” Open to all conference registrants.

Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pennsylvania Press Reception

Sunday, December 15, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Aqua 311B (3rd Floor)

The Katz Center celebrates over 25 years of advanced research. Open to all fellows, past and present, as well as all conference registrants.

Film Festival: Who Will Write Our History

Monday, December 16, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Directed Roberta Grossman, USA, 2018, in English, 95 minutes.

This film, based on Samuel Kassow’s 2007 book, tells the story of Oyneg Shabes (The Joys of Shabbat), the secret archive that documented the life of Warsaw Ghetto. Historian Emanuel Ringelblum assembled journalists, scholars, and artists imprisoned in the ghetto, who collected thousands of pages of eyewitness accounts, drawings, posters, and poems from daily life during the Holocaust. They sealed the archive in containers and buried it beneath buildings not long before the ghetto was burned and nearly all its inhabitants murdered. Who Will Write Our History, scheduled for national broadcast in 2020, features the voices of Academy Award nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award winner Adrien Brody.

Introduced by Samuel Kassow; Q&A session with filmmaker Roberta Grossman following the screening.

Distributor Contact information:

Trivia Night

Monday, December 16, 9:00 PM, Odysea (Lobby Level)

Sponsored by the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

Join hosts Saul Hankin and Josh Lambert for our fourth annual AJS trivia competition, where your knowledge of Jewish history and culture will be tested. Meet new people! Have a drink! Win fantastic prizes!

Film Festival: Promise at Dawn [La Promesse de l’Aube]

Monday, December 16, 9:00 PM – 11:30 PM

Directed by Eric Barbier, France, 2017, in French w/ English subtitles, 131 minutes.

Based on the acclaimed autobiographical novel by Romain Gary, this epic drama is a coming-of-age portrait of the writer born Roman Kacew in 1914 Vilna. Gary is shown as a Jewish boy raised by his determined, passionate, and ingenious mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who never lets him forget that his mission is to become a great writer. Indeed, Gary became a celebrated novelist and the only writer to have twice won the Goncourt Prize for French literature. Beyond his literary accomplishments, he was a World War II aviator, a diplomat, a filmmaker, and the husband of Jean Seberg.

Introduced by Catherine Portuges, University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

Film Distributor information:

Israel Institute Reception

Monday, December 16, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Aqua 311A (3rd Floor)

The Israel Institute welcomes conference participants to learn about grant opportunities for faculty and students, including funding for developing new courses about Israel.

College of Charleston, Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program Reception

Monday, December 16, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Aqua 310AB (3rd Floor)

The Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston invites faculty, friends, and all conference registrants to a reception introducing its new director and celebrating the establishment of the Arnold Center for Israel Studies.

The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives Reception

Monday, December 16, 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Aqua 311B (3rd Floor)

The American Jewish Archives welcomes all conference registrants to join us as we provide updates on initiatives, collections, and programs of the AJA. Please join us!


Trip to the U.S./Mexico Border with Border Angels

Wednesday, December 18, 9 AM – 2 PM

$50 (a limited number of $35 seats are available for graduate students and low-income participants on a first-come basis)

The registration deadline for the trip has closed.

Join AJS and Border Angels as we visit Friendship Park, located on the border between San Diego and Tijuana. You will be able to experience and learn about the history of the wall. Participants will be able to learn about immigration laws and learn about the myths and reality of the Border Life.

Be sure to bring documents verifying U.S. residence and wear comfortable closed-toed shoes as it is over a mile walk on sand.

The bus will leave from the Hilton Bayfront lobby at 9am on Wednesday, December 18 and return at approximately 2pm.

Cancellation & Refund Policy: Prior to the November 15th registration deadline, refunds are subject to a $10 cancellation fee. After November 15, refunds will no longer be available (except in the event that the trip is cancelled).