The Association for Jewish Studies: A Brief History (PDF)
by Kristen Loveland
Back issues of AJS Perspectives, from 1972-1995, are available on the Berman Jewish Policy Archive.
More recent issues of AJS Perspectives, from 1999-present, are also available on the Berman Jewish Policy Archive.
Copies of past conference programs, dating back to 1973, are now available on the Berman Jewish Policy Archive.
The Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was founded in 1969 by a small group of scholars seeking a forum for exploring methodological and pedagogical issues in the new field of Jewish
Studies. Since its founding, the AJS has grown into the largest learned society and professional
organization representing Jewish Studies scholars worldwide. As a constituent organization of
the American Council of Learned Societies, the Association for Jewish Studies represents the
field in the larger arena of the academic study of the humanities and social sciences in North
America. The organization's primary mission is to promote, facilitate, and improve teaching and
research in Jewish Studies at colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning. Its
more than 1800 members are university faculty, graduate students, independent scholars, and
museum and related professionals who represent the breadth of Jewish Studies scholarship. The
organization's institutional members represent leading North American programs and departments in the field.
The AJS's major programs and projects include an annual scholarly conference, featuring more
than 150 sessions; a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, AJS Review, published by Cambridge
University Press; a biannual magazine, AJS Perspectives, that explores methodological and pedagogical issues; Positions in Jewish Studies, the most comprehensive listing of Jewish Studies job
opportunities; Resources in Jewish Studies, an online guide to Jewish Studies programs, grant opportunities, professional development resources, electronic research tools, and doctoral theses;
the Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards, which recognize outstanding research in the ﬁeld; the Legacy
Heritage Jewish Studies Project, in cooperation with the Legacy Heritage Fund, in support of
innovative public programming; and the new Berman Foundation Dissertation Fellowships.
Membership in the association is open to individuals whose full-time vocation is teaching, research, or related endeavors in academic Jewish Studies; to other individuals whose intellectual
concerns are related to the purposes of the association; and to graduate students concentrating
in an area of Jewish Studies. Institutional membership is open to Jewish Studies programs and
departments, foundations, and other institutions whose work supports the mission of the AJS.