Skip to Main Content

Special Events


How Not to Read a Conference Paper: Workshop

Sunday, December 17, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, Marquis Salon 1

Join Lila Corwin Berman and Ari Kelman for this interactive workshop to learn practical tips on how to present you paper in a more conversational style. Open to all conference registrants.

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

Sunday, December 17, 4:45 pm – 7:15 pm, University of DC Room

ASSJ will honor our Sklare Award Winner: Prof. Judit Bokser Liwerant and Berman Award Winner: Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat. The reception will follow the Sklare lecture and Berman ceremony. Open to all conference registrants.

Welcome Reception

Sunday, December 17, 6:15 pm, Marquis Salons 6-10

Sponsored by American University’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History, and Jewish Studies Program

Welcome to Washington D.C.! Please join us for an opening reception in honor of outgoing AJS President Pamela S. Nadell for all of her hard work and service to the organization. Open to all conference registrants.

Dimona Twist: Film

Sunday, December 17, 7:30 pm, University of DC Room

2016, 70 minutes, Israel, documentary, Hebrew with English subtitles

Director: Michal Aviad

Introduction by Dalit Katz (Wesleyan University). Open to all conference registrants.

The film is a combination of interviews with seven women who emigrated to Israel from different parts of the world in the 1950s and 1960s to Dimona in Israel, with segments from public and private archives.

Each woman recounts her unique struggle from childhood to adulthood with the pain of leaving her home (North Africa or Poland), acclimating to a developing town in the middle of the desert, and crafting new lives. Through their vibrant stories, the viewer encounters Israeli society’s internal conflicts and the challenges of that period.

Distributor: Go2Films

For sales and Public Performance Rights, contact Hadar Taylor Shechter

Plenary and Gala Banquet

Sunday, December 17, 7:15 pm, Marquis Salon 5

You are especially encouraged to join fellow AJS members for the Gala Banquet and Plenary Lecture on Sunday evening, December 17 at 7:15 PM. This year's Plenary Lecture will be delivered by Daniel Kurtzer, S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and former United States Ambassador to Israel and to Egypt. Gala banquet by prepaid reservation only. The deadline to reserve the meal has passed. Plenary open to all.

Program of Shorts: Films

Sunday, December 17, 9:00 pm, University of DC Room

Introduction by Catherine Portuges. Open to all conference registrants.

El Hara

2016, 16 minutes, Tunisia/France, documentary, French  with English subtitles

Directors and Writers: Mo Scarpelli and Margaux Fitoussi

The film explores Albert Memmi’s recollections of growing up in the Tunis Jewish neighborhood of El Hara his ambivalent response to it as a Jew and a colonized Tunisian. The film is laced with Memmi’s eloquent interviews and powerful prose.

Distributor: Rake Films


2016, 12 minutes, Israel, Hebrew/Arabic with English subtitles

Director: Hadar Reichman

Aziz lives in the Arabic neighborhood of Lod. On Saturday, he receives a surprise visit from Jewish neighbors asking him to act as a “Shabbos Goy’, helping them move their blocked car. The situation becomes complicated when they arrive at the parking lot.

Distributor: Hadar Reichman, +972 508854881

Ana Min Al Yahud (I Am One of the Jews)

2017, 18 minutes, Israel and Morocco, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles

Directors: Aharon Shem Tov and Nir Hachlili.

The film is based upon a short story by Almog Behar, one of Israel’s most original contemporary writers. A young teacher, about to become a father, finds himself possessed by his dead grandfather, forcing him to choose between his Iraqi Arabic Jewish family identity and continuing his life as an Israeli, ignoring the past.

Distributor and Producer: Yifat Prestelnik films ltd, Israel. +972-3-5663882


2016, 15 minutes, Israel, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles

Writer and director: Ori Smoly

At the abandoned Lido restaurant by the Dead Sea, a man is making musical sounds. The place starts to awake and a story is told. Lido was a refuge, a place to rest. Lido survived the political complexity of the land but died together with the sea.

Production: The Sam Spiegel Film & TV School, Jerusalem, Israel

Contact: Cara Saposnick, Director of International Relations and Distribution

World Distribution: Cinephil - Distribution & Co Productions, 18 Levontin Street, Tel Aviv 65112, Israel

Tel: +972 3 566 4129 Fax: +972 3 560 1436; email:


2016, 35 minutes, Russia, Russian with English subtitles

Director: Konstantin Fam

This short film, based on a novel by the Czech writer, Ludvik Ashkenazy, tells the story of the Holocaust in Russia through the eyes of a German Shepherd dog named Brutus. In accordance with the Nuremberg laws, Brutus was separated from his beloved Jewish owner and retrained to be a concentration camp beast killer.

Distributor: Konstantin Fam

Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Reception

Sunday, December 17, 9:30 pm, Capitol Room

Honoring the 2017 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award recipients, sponsored by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. Open to all conference registrants.

Graduate Student Reception

Sunday, December 17, 9:30 pm, Mint Room

AJS graduate students are invited to this networking reception.

Queer, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Reception

Sunday, December 17, 9:30 pm, Treasury Room

Sponsored by the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Melton Center for  Jewish Studies at the Ohio State University, the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA, and Yale University's Program in  Judaic Studies

All are welcome.


Women's Caucus Breakfast

Monday, December 18, 7:15 am, Archives Room

Join the AJS Women's Caucus to hear about current issues, trends, and recent work. The caucus supports women in the profession and advances the study of gender. People of all gender identities and sexual orientations are welcome as members. By prepaid reservation only. The deadline to reserve the meal has passed.

Walking Tour of Jewish Downtown Washington

Monday, December 18, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, meet in lobby

1.5 hours, 1 mile of walking

On this tour you will see four historic synagogues and several government buildings that help tell the story of Washington’s early Jewish community. Learn how the first Jewish Washingtonians lived, worked, and prayed in the neighborhood that today is Chinatown.

Start: Washington Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC

End: Lillian & Albert Small Jewish Museum, 701 Third Street, NW, Washington, DC

Tickets must be purchased in advance. Sold out.

Jewish Studies and Digital Humanities Workshop

Monday, December 18, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, outside expo hall

Join AJS members for an informal and interactive presentation of research projects, research tools, teaching tools, and other born-digital projects. Open to all conference registrants.

Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

Sponsored by Purdue University Press

Monday, December 18, 10:00 am – 10:30 am, Marquis Salons 6–10

Open to all conference registrants.

Building an Online Presence for your Scholarship with AJSCommons: Workshop

Monday December 18, 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm, Union Station Room

Open to all conference registrants.

Sephardi–Mizrahi Caucus Lunch

Monday, December 18, 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm, Scarlet Oak Room

Jane Mushabac's brief talk in praise of folly and fiction will include excerpts from her 2016 novel about a Jewish peddler in the fast-deteriorating Ottoman Empire and New York. Lunch from 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm by prepaid reservation only. The deadline to reserve the meal has passed. Talk is open to all.

Princeton University Press and University of California Press Reception

Monday, December 18, 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm, Archives Room

Princeton University Press and University of California Press host a reception to celebrate the publication of new books. Open to all.

Women's Caucus Board Meeting

Monday, December 18, 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm, Silver Linden Room

The AJS Women's Caucus supports women in the profession and advances the study of gender. The board meeting is open to all, and the caucus welcomes people of all gender identities and sexual orientations as members. Bring your own lunch; coffee provided.

Center for Jewish History Info Session

Monday, December 18, 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm, Marquis Salon 12

Bring your lunch to an open information session about the Center for Jewish History and its constituent organizations (Yeshiva University Museum, American Jewish Historical Society, YIVO, Leo Baeck Institute, and the American Sephardi Federation) to learn about their resources and collections.

AJS Honors Its Authors Exhibit Hall Coffee Break

Monday, December 18, 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Marquis Salons 6–10

Sponsored by Jewish Book Council Sami Rohr Prize

Join us in celebrating AJS members who have published books in 2017 at booth 108. Open to all conference registrants.

Division Meeting: Social Scienes

Monday, December 18, 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Farragut North Room

Open to all conference registrants.

Division Meeting: Modern Jewish History in the Americas

Monday, December 18, 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Eastern Market Room

Open to all conference registrants.

Division Meeting: Jewish Arts and Film

Monday, December 18, 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Mount Vernon Room

Open to all conference registrants.

Jewish Theological Seminary Reception

Monday, December 18, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Capitol Room

JTS's Office of Alumni Affairs welcomes all alumni, faculty, and conference guests to the JTS reception. Open to all.

School of Jewish Theology, University of Potsdam, Germany Reception

Monday, December 18, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Treasury Room

The School of Jewish Theology at University of Potsdam, the first Jewish divinity school in German university history, welcomes all conference guests. Learn about our unique program and its opportunities for faculty and students. Open to all.

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

Monday, December 18, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Mint Room

The Katz Center hosts a reception to honor the Jewish Quarterly Review and remember Elliott Horowitz z"l (1953–2017). Open to all.

The Last Laugh: Movie Screening and Roundtable Discussion with Filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein

Monday, December 18, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm (film screening); 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm (panel), University of DC Room

The Last Laugh (2017, 88 minutes, United States, documentary, English)

Director: Ferne Pearlstein

Roundtable moderator: Menachem Feuer

Roundtable discussants: Monica Osborn, Jarrod Tanny, Ferne Pearlstein

The Last Laugh, a feature documentary, explores the question of whether the topic of the Holocaust should be off-limits for comedy while addressing the implications of other controversial subjects such as 9/11, Aids, and racism in a society based on freedom of speech. The film interweaves interviews with 93-year-old Auschwitz survivor, Renee Firestone, alongside those with influential comedians and thinkers from Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Gilbert Gottfried to authors Etgar Keret, Shalom Auslander, and Abraham Foxman. Included are archival materials from The Producers and Curb Your Enthusiasm, to comics such as Louis CK, Joan Rivers, and Chris Rock as well as newly discovered footage from Jerry Lewis’ never-released film Holocaust comedy The Day the Clown Cried, and rare footage of cabarets inside concentration camps, offering fresh insights into Holocaust representation. Open to all.

Distributor contact: Mat Levy (Passion River Films, Mat.Levy@PassionRiver.com732-321-0711 x135)

Trivia Night

Monday, December 18, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm, Hotel Bar, to be announced via mobile app

Join host Josh Lambert for our second annual AJS pub trivia competition, where your knowledge of Jewish history and culture will be tested. Meet new people! Have a drink! Win fantastic prizes! Open to all.

American Jewish Archives/American Jewish Historical Society Reception

Monday, December 18, 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Capitol Room

Joint reception hosted by the American Jewish Archives and the American Jewish Historical Society. Open to all.



Tuesday, December 19, 7:00 am – 7:45 am, Marquis Salon 5

Complimentary teacher-led yoga session for conference participants. Bring a towel or mat. Open to all. Space is limited.

Publishing Your Book: The Dos and Don’ts of Publishing and Marketing Your Work: Workshop

Tuesday, December 19, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm, Eastern Market Room

Indiana University Press Editorial Director Dee Mortensen offers her expertise on the best ways to present your work to publishers and to subsequently market your book once it is in print. Open to all.


Professional Development Workshop

Just added for 2017!

Wednesday, December 20, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Thanks to generous funding, we are now able to extend the Annual Conference an extra day, adding an exciting day-long professional development workshop for members on a first-come, first-served basis. This workshop, taking place on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 from 9 AM – 3 PM at the Marriott Marquis in Washington DC, will feature expert academic and post-academic career consultants. Karen Kelsky, founder of The Professor Is In, and Kellee Weinhold, a productivity and communications consultant, will offer sessions on the art of public speaking, tips for academic book publishing, and writing productivity. This workshop is open to all AJS members. A registration fee of $25 will cover the cost of all sessions. Lunch will be provided. This workshop will sell out, so please register early! Log into MyAJS and select the Professional Development Workshop from the online store.

Contact Amy Weiss at with questions.