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Special Events


Plenary with Dr. Maud Mandel

Sunday, December 16, 2:30 pm – 4 pm

The 2018 plenary lecture will be delivered by incoming President of Williams College, Maud Mandel, and will take place on Sunday afternoon, in an earlier and dedicated time slot. We hope that this new time slot will make it possible for many more members to participate. The plenary will also include the announcement of the 2018 Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards and special programming to mark this anniversary occasion. A coffee break will precede the plenary lecture. Seating at the plenary is limited and will be filled on a "first come, first served" basis.

The Marshall Sklare Award Lecture, Mandell L. Berman Award, and ASSJ (Sklare) Awards Reception

Sunday, December 17, 4:15 pm – 6:45 pm, Back Bay Ballroom C

Sponsored by the Association for the Scientific Study of Jewry

ASSJ will honor our Sklare Award Winner: Arnold Eisen and Berman Award Winner: TBA. The reception will follow the Sklare lecture and Berman ceremony.

AJS 50 and Forward Party

Sunday, December 16, 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Featuring music and light food, the AJS 50 and Forward party will take place on Sunday evening in lieu of the gala dinner. The cost of the party is included in your conference registration fee, but we do ask that when you register for the conference, you RSVP for the party using the party registration link.

Everyone who registers/RSVPs in advance of the conference will receive one free drink at the party!

Film Screening: Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema

Sunday, December 16, 7:30 PM, Back Bay Ballroom C)

Directed by Danny Ben-Moshe (2018, 76 minutes, Australia/India | English and Hindi with English subtitles)

Award-winning Australian director Danny Ben-Moshe revisits a chapter in the early history of Indian cinema, the world's largest film industry, in this fascinating documentary, eleven years in the making. When the screen presence of Hindu and Muslim women was considered taboo in the new medium, Bene Israelis and Baghdadi Jews stepped in to fill their roles, emerging as Bollywood’s first megastars. Interviews with the actors' family members and friends, rare archival footage from silent films such as the 1927 Wild Cat of Bombay, retro-style music, and animation combine to revive the songs and dances typical of a Bollywood production, paying tribute to Indian cinema's golden age icons.

Presented by Joan Roland, Professor of History, Pace University

Distributor’s contact information: Menemsha Films (website, Facebook, Twitter)

Film Screening: The Adventures of Saul Bellow

Sunday, December 16, 9:00 PM, Back Bay Ballroom C

Directed by Asaf Galay (2018, Israel/USA, 80 minutes | English)

The acclaimed novelist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, three National Book Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize, is the subject of this first documentary film on the man considered by many as one of the greatest prose stylists of the twentieth century. Marking the centennial of his birth, the film features interviews with his family, friends, and writers including Martin Amis, Philip Roth, and A. B. Yehoshua. Highlighting Bellow's impact on American literature and his identities as a writer, polemicist, “serial husband,” father, Chicagoan, and Jew, director Asaf Galay is known for innovative films about modern Jewish culture; his recent documentary, The Hebrew Super Hero, concerns the development of comic books in Israel.

Presented by Hannah Pollin-Galay, Senior Lecturer in Yiddish and Holocaust Studies, Department of Literature, Tel Aviv University

Distributor’s contact information: website

Graduate Student Reception

Sunday, December 16, 9:30 PM, Public Garden

Sponsored by the Association for Jewish Studies

University of Michigan - Frankel Center for Judaic Studies Reception

Sunday, December 16, 9:30 PM, Riverway

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.


Jewish Cultural Walking Tour of Boston

Monday, December 17, 9:30 am – 1 pm

Meet in lobby at 9:30am, estimated time back at hotel, pending T, is around 1pm. $30

From the lobby, guide will take guests to the T. Tour participants must buy a T ticket. The tour will officially start after the T ride.

Tour must have 16 people by October 12 to run.

Tour will not end at the hotel.  Guests are responsible for their travel back to the hotel.

Highlights include*:

  • The Milk Street Café - a Kosher cafe
  • The Famine Memorial
  • Home of The Jewish Advocate
  • The Jewish "Back Side" of Beacon Hill
  • The West End House
  • Puffer House Cigar-Rolling Factory
  • The Holocaust Memorial
  • Boston's Immigrant Arrival Area - the North End

*Subject to change as needed.

AJS Honors Its Authors Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

Monday, December 17, 4:30 PM, Exhibit Hall

Sponsored by Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize

Join us in celebrating AJS members who have published books in 2018. Open to all conference registrants.

Jewish Theological Seminary Reception

Monday, December 17, 6:30 PM, Public Garden

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.

Queer, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Reception

Monday, December 17, 6:30 PM, Riverway

Sponsored by the Ohio State University. All are welcome.

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

Monday, December 17, 6:30 PM, The Fens

The Katz Center is celebrating twenty-five years of advanced research. Open to all fellows, past and present, as well as all conference registrants.

Film Screening: The Museum

Monday, December 17, 7:30 PM, Back Bay Ballroom C

Directed by Ran Tal (2017, Israel, 72 minutes | English and Hebrew with English subtitles)

A strikingly creative documentary exploration of the Israel Museum—its galleries, storerooms, employees, and visitors that boldly unlocks the mysteries of this major cultural institution through an ironic, comprehensive gaze. Singing security guards, blind patrons, and a Haredi inspector share the screen with curators, Palestinian guides, and an American museum director. Accomplished Israeli film maker Ran Tal has assembled footage of the museum's daily routine into a cinematic collage—observant, sensitive, and diverse. Nominee, Ophir Award for Best Documentary.

Presented by Yaniv Feller, Jeremy Zwelling Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies, Wesleyan University.

Distributor’s contact information: Menemsha Films (website, Facebook, Twitter)

Film Screening: Svetlana Boym: Exile and Imagination

Monday, December 17, 9:00 PM, Back Bay Ballroom C

Directed by Judith Wechsler (2017, USA, 60 minutes | English)

In 1980, age 21, literary and cultural critic Svetlana Boym (1959–2015) left the USSR for the United States. After graduate studies at Boston University and Harvard, she became the Carl Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University. A brilliant writer and scholar of ambitious scope and great imagination, she explored motifs of exile, nostalgia, the diasporic imagination, and forms of freedom in her books, essays, and artmaking. Interweaving videos, interviews, photographs, and photomontage with the subject's original texts and film excerpts, this moving documentary pays tribute to her legacy. Director Judith Wechsler was awarded the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres for her filmmaking and publications on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art.

Presented by Catherine Portuges, Professor Emerita, Film Studies/Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts–Amherst.

Distributor:  Circulating Film Library, Museum of Modern Art, NY. attn: 11 West 53rd St, NY, NY 10019 (website)

The Center for Jewish Studies and the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School Reception

Monday, December 17, 9:30 PM, The Fens

We invite alumni, past fellows and affiliates, and friends and colleagues to a reception to honor Professor Shaye Cohen on the publication of a Festschrift in his honor.

American Jewish Archives Reception

Monday, December 17, 9:30 PM

The American Jewish Archives welcomes all fellows, faculty, and guests. Celebrate this world-renowned repository of the American Jewish past and learn about its upcoming programs. Open to all conference registrants.


Writing Beyond the Academy

Wednesday, December 19, 9 am – 4 pm, Sheraton Boston Hotel

$50 includes (kosher) lunch (Seating limited)

NOTE: Writing Beyond the Academy is reserved for AJS members who have obtained a PhD.

This day-long program, led by Columbia University School of Journalism professor, Sam Freedman, will offer participants a number of strategies, tips, and exercises on how to translate their work from an academic landscape to the wider public in a number of formats (op-ed, book proposal, personal essay, etc). Additional guest speakers may be added at a later date. Click here to see what previous participants said about the week-long version of the program:

All refunds after November 15 will be charged a $20.00 processing fee.