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Conference Program


SUNDAY

First-Time Attendee Coffee Reception

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM EST

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Exhibitor Sessions

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM EST

Brandeis University Press

Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

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PLENARY

Embracing Ambiguity: How History Matters

A Conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch, III (Smithsonian Institution) and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (POLIN Museum), moderated by Alice Greenwald (National September 11 Memorial & Museum)

Sunday, December 13, 2020; 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM EST

In this session, three individuals instrumental in the creation of major museums that have opened within the past seven years – each commemorating, documenting and conveying traumatic history where there are conflicting notions of what the story is (or should be) – will discuss the challenges and opportunities of building institutions of public history that tackle contested topics in fraught contemporary contexts.

All museums communicate complex information to wide audiences and are considered among the most highly trusted institutions in their role as centers of informal education grounded in scholarship and historical documentation. As containers of cultural production, museums also promote and reinforce a narrative of national identity. But what happens when there are differing notions of what national identity is? How do museums – and particularly though not exclusively history museums – navigate the expectations of their stakeholders, the politics of history, and the obligation to crystallize complicated human stories into coherent narratives that are historically accurate, broadly accessible, and able to evolve as our understanding of history evolves?

Historian, author, curator, and educator Lonnie G. Bunch, III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex.

Alice M. Greenwald is President & CEO of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, where from 2006-2016, she served as Executive Vice President for Exhibitions, Collections, and Education and Director of the Museum.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University and Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator, Core Exhibition, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

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Exhibitor Sessions

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM EST

Association Book Exhibit

Brill

The Posen Library

Project MUSE

University of Toronto Press

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Coffee Break with JTS Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz

Sponsored by the Jewish Theological Seminary

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Join Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz in conversation as she shares information about JTS, her goals for the upcoming year, and updates about the new campus and the greater JTS community.

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Exhibitor Sessions

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM EST

Academic Studies Press

Brandeis University Press

Princeton University Press

Rutgers University Press,

Stanford University Press

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Exhibitor Sessions

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM EST

NYU Press

Wayne State University Press

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Welcome and Networking

5:15 PM – 6:00 PM EST

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Graduate Student Reception

6:00 PM – 6:45 PM EST

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Monday

AJS Honors Its Authors

Sponsored by the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM EST

All registered AJS conference attendees are invited to join AJS past president and SRP judge Pamela Nadell for a conversation with this year’s AJS authors about the writing, publishing, and reading of our books.

The event will be moderated by AJS past president and SRP judge Pamela S. Nadell. Dr. Nadell is Professor and Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women's & Gender History and Director of the Jewish Studies Program at American University. Her book, America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, won the National Jewish Book Awards’ 2019 Jewish Book of the Year.

Distinguished panel participants are:

Warren Hoffman, AJS Executive Director and author of The Great White Way: Race and the Broadway Musical

Marion A. Kaplan, three-time National Jewish Book Award winner and author of Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal

Jeffrey Shandler, Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University and author of Yiddish: A Biography of a Language

All AJS members who registered their book titles as part of the 2020 AJS Honors Its Authors program will be invited to participate in the session Q&A.

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Women’s Caucus Breakfast

10:00 AM – 10:45 AM EST

Pre-registration is required.

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Exhibitor Sessions

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM EST

Cambridge University Press

The Jewish Publication Society

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

National Museum of American Jewish Military History

University of Toronto Press

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Exhibitor Sessions

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM EST

Academic Studies Press

De Gruyter

The Posen Library

Project MUSE

University of Pennsylvania Press

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Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Take a break and check out our Exhibitor Virtual Booths!

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AJS General Business Meeting

1:45 PM – 2:15 PM EST

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Exhibitor Sessions

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM EST

Brill

CCAR Press

Knopf Doubleday

Rutgers University Press

University of Pennsylvania Press

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Exhibitor Sessions

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM EST

Association of Jewish Libraries

Ingram Academic

Princeton University Press

Wayne State University Press

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American Association for Jewish Research: Baron Book Prize Reception

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM EST

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Jewish Theological Seminary Reception

5:15 PM – 6:15 PM EST

The Jewish Theological Seminary invites alumni and conference attendees to join us at the annual “JTS Alumni and Friends Reception.” This is an opportunity to hear from Chancellor Shuly Rubin Schwartz and reconnect with one another. Please RSVP to Melissa Friedman at alumni@jtsa.edu.

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Tuesday

Division Meetings

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM EST

Gender and Sexuality Studies

Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity

Jewish Mysticism

Jews, Film, and the Arts

Pedagogy and Professional Practice

Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History, Literature, and Culture

Sephardi/Mizrahi Studies

Rabbinic Literature and Culture

Yiddish Studies

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Exhibitor Sessions

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM EST

Academic Studies Press

Association Book Exhibit

Brill

Princeton University Press

Rowman & Littlefield / Lexington Books

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Exhibitor Sessions

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM EST

CCAR Press

Knopf Doubleday

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

NYU Press

The Posen Library

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Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Take a break and check out our Exhibitor Virtual Booths!

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Exhibitor Sessions

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM EST

Association of Jewish Libraries

Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

Stanford University Press

University of Toronto Press

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PLENARY

Why Racism Should Matter for Jewish Studies Scholars

Barbara Harris Combs (Clark Atlanta University), Jonathan K. Crane (Emory University), Joe Feagin (Texas A&M University), Lewis R. Gordon (University of Connecticut), and Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth College)

Tuesday, December 15, 2020; 3:45 PM – 5:00 PM EST

This plenary addresses how anti-racism efforts can shape Jewish studies pedagogy and research; considers the potential impact of Black Lives Matter on Jewish Studies; and explores the ways in which new research on the intersection of race, gender, and nation informs Jewish studies research and teaching.

Barbara Harris Combs is associate professor of sociology at Clark Atlanta University and a visiting fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University.

Jonathan K. Crane is the Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar of Bioethics and Jewish Thought at Emory University’s Center for Ethics.

Joe Feagin is Distinguished Professor and Ella C. McFadden Professor in sociology at Texas A&M University.

Lewis R. Gordon is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut.

Susannah Heschel is the Eli M. Black Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies and chair of the Jewish Studies Program at Dartmouth College

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Film Festival Discussion

5:15 PM – 5:45 PM EST

They Ain’t Ready for Me Q&A discussion with director Brad Rothschild; click for film details.

Please watch the film in advance, available to stream December 13, 5:15 PM – December 15, 5:15 PM EST on the conference app.

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Trivia Night w/Josh Lambert and Saul Hankin

5:15 PM

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

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Wednesday

Film Festival Discussion

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM EST

Incitement/Yamim Noraim Q&A discussion with director Yaron Zilberman; click for film details.

Please watch the film in advance, available to stream December 14, 10:00 AM – December 16, 10:00 AM on the conference app.

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Exhibitor Sessions

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM EST

9/11 Memorial & Museum

Cambridge University Press

The Jewish Publication Society

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Exhibitor Sessions

12:15 PM – 12:30 PM EST

De Gruyter

Rowman & Littlefield / Lexington Books

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Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Take a break and check out our Exhibitor Virtual Booths!

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Exhibitor Session

3:30 PM – 3:45 PM EST

National Museum of American Jewish Military History

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Exhibitor Sessions

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM EST

Princeton University Press

University of Toronto Press

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Thursday

Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

1:45 PM – 2:00 PM EST

Take a break and check out our Exhibitor Virtual Booths!

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Watch ON YOUR SCHEDULE

2020 Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards

Stream the awards presentation on the conference app. Click here for winners, finalists, and other details.

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AJS 2020 Film Festival

Stream the films on the conference app.

INCITEMENT/YAMIM NORAIM

Available to stream: December 14, 10:00 AM – December 16, 10:00 AM EST
Q&A session with Yaron Zilberman: Wednesday, December 16, 10:00 AM EST

Directed by Yaron Zilberman, Israel 2019, Hebrew with English subtitles, 122 minutes

This acclaimed historical drama follows the Israeli ultranationalist Yigal Amir in the year leading up to his assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Amir was a law student and Orthodox Jew outraged by Rabin’s announcement of the Oslo Accords. Based on careful historical research, the film masterfully reconstructs the process of Amir’s disturbing radicalization. Nominated for ten Ophir awards in Israel, the film was Israel’s submission to the 2020 Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film.

Distributor: Oded Horowitz oded@odedhorowitzfd.com

THEY AIN'T READY FOR ME

Available to stream: December 13, 5:15 PM – December 15, 5:15 PM EST
Q&A session with Brad Rothschild: Tuesday, December 15, 5:15 PM EST

Directed by Brad Rothschild, USA 2020, English, 89 minutes

Tamar Manasseh, the founder of MASK (Mothers Against Senseless Killings), is a mother and rabbinical student who dreams of becoming a rabbi. She has emerged as an important voice within Chicago’s Black community and a national symbol of grassroots activism. Each day, from the start of summer through Labor Day, she and her fellow MASK volunteers occupy the corner of 75th and South Stewart Streets on Chicago’s South Side to create a safe space for neighborhood children and residents, providing dinner to anyone in need. With her magnetic, self-assured energy, Tamar credits Judaism for instilling in her this sense of civic duty through tikkun olam, carried out through acts of kindness, activism, and charity. Timely and inspirational, this documentary demonstrates the challenges Tamar faces in both her Black and Jewish worlds.

Distributor: Menemsha Films, Neil Friedman neilf@menemshafilms.com

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