2024 Biennial Scholars Conference

Images of the empire state building

This year’s AJHS Biennial Scholars Conference to be held in New York City May 12-14th. Returning to the Center for Jewish History for the first time since 2016 after the Covid-19 pandemic shifted 2020’s conference fully online, this year’s conference seeks to reconsider New York City as a central locus of Jewish life in the United States and around the world. We hope to interrogate the specific amalgam of “Jewish” and “New York” in varied ways, such as its inner diversities, its boundaries and limits, and its relationship with populations beyond its borders. By revisiting “Jewish New York,” we will also discuss how ‘center’ and ‘periphery’ operate in multiple areas of American Jewish history.

2024 Biennial Conference Chair: Hasia Diner
Conference Committee Members: Allan Amanik, Hadas Binyamini

Thank you to our sponsors!
Marc and Marci Dollinger
The Knapp Family Foundation
Stuart and Suzanne Grant Center for the American Jewish Experience at Tulane University
Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University
New York University Press
University of Michigan
The Donut Pub

Highlights of the conference include:

Sunday, May 12th
On Sunday morning conference participants have the option of attending one of two New York City excursions, a tour of Eldridge Street Synagogue (accessibility friendly) or a Jewish Upper West Side Walking Tour. More details in the registration section below.

Later that day our keynote speaker event will be a lively discussion between writers Lara Vapnyar and Gary Shteyngart. Both authors were born in the former Soviet Union and moved to New York as children, and they will explore topics such as the role of New York in Jewish life, how public education was formative, the impact of the city on creative life. Following the discussion a reception with drinks and nosh will be served.

Monday, May 13th
After a day of panels and sessions conference participants will be invited to attend a cocktail reception sponsored by Tulane University from 5:00-6:30pm featuring the music of Isle of Klezbos and tours of the AJHS stacks along with other partner collections at the Center for Jewish History. Followed by an awards dinner sponsored by The Knapp Family Foundation where the Lee Max Friedman Award will be presented to Eli Lederhendler for distinguished service to the field of American Jewish History.

Tuesday, May 14th
Following lunch, conference attendees will have the option of attending two offsite excursions: A tour of modern American sculptor Chaim Gross’ house and studio located in the West Village, or a guided tour of Jewish Material Culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Hotel Information:

AJHS has placed holds on rooms at several hotels in the Union Square area. Please reach out to the following and ask them about their “AJHS Biennial Scholars Conference May 2024 reserve block.”  Rates are only available until April 12th.

The Evelyn- 7 East 27th Street, $319 a night, Click here to book your room online. 


Early Bird:
Early Bird pricing ends April 12th at 11:59pm Eastern.
Early Bird- 3 Day Conference Ticket, Full Time Faculty: $210
Early Bird- 3 Day Conference Ticket, Adjunct/Postdoc/Retiree: $110

General Admission:
Full Price- 3 Day Conference Ticket, Full Time Faculty: $260
Full Price- 3 Day Conference Ticket, Adjunct/Postdoc/Retiree: $160
Single Day Ticket, Sunday: $55
Single Day Ticket, Monday: $65
Single Day Ticket, Tuesday: $45
+1 for Monday Dinner, guests of conference speakers: $60

Undergraduate/ Graduate Student Tickets:
Graduate students are required to purchase an Academic Council Membership prior to attendance. Undergrads are exempt. All students will be asked to show current ID at check-in.
3 Day Conference Ticket, Student: $30
Single Day Ticket, Student: $10

Excursion Opportunities, Sunday Morning May 12th:
RSVP on the biennial registration form for your choice of either:
Eldridge Street Synagogue Tour- Explore the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue for a 45-60 minute tour from 10:00am- 11:00am. Wheelchair accessible and options to sit throughout. Tickets: $10.
The Jewish Upper West Side Walking Tour- Learn about multiple world-renowned synagogues, explore the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, discuss how this community continues to shape the identity of American Jews today, from 9:00am-11:30am. Tickets: $35.

As a reminder all attendees (except undergrads) are required to be up to date with their Academic Council fees. To become a member or renew please visit our Academic Council page and scroll to the bottom.

Call For Papers

Revisiting Jewish New York: Centers and Peripheries
The Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society invites submissions from now until January 31st.

In light of the recent flowering of scholarship in the field of American Jewish history which has emphasized life outside of New York, this conference seeks to reconsider New York City as a central locus of Jewish life in the United States and around the world. The program committee hopes not so much to recenter New York and reestablish its primacy, but to interrogate the specific amalgam of ‘New York’ and ‘Jewish’, its inner diversity, its boundaries and limits, and its relationship with Jewish populations beyond its borders. We wish to explore what ‘Jewish New York’ means and has meant to Jews, non-Jews, the rest of the United States, and even globally as well as its endurance as a historical category. By revisiting “Jewish New York,” we will also discuss how ‘center’ and ‘periphery’ operate in multiple areas of American Jewish history. After all, in no other city in the United States had so many Jews established roots, and as such in no other place did their presence impact public institutions so profoundly.

We encourage a range of papers on the diverse spectrum of Jewish New York in terms of origins, ideology, class, language, and gender. We are particularly interested in public institutions and such crucial elements of civic life as courts, police, public education, and more. We hope to examine as well the notion of ‘the city’ and what this means when it houses the nation’s largest Jewish population. Similarly, while Jews have lived in every city and region and made their presence felt in all of them, the phrase, “New York Jew” conveys a range of ideas and images that have pervaded popular culture that we can take to be unique.

Although we particularly welcome submissions connected to the theme, the Scholars Conference Committee will gladly consider proposals exploring any aspect of American Jewish history and culture. The Committee encourages the submission of complete panels and nontraditional types of panels, including seminars, roundtables, and lightning sessions. It will also consider individual paper submissions. In all cases, the Committee urges contributors to approach the conference as an opportunity to share ideas through interactive conversation and accessible presentations. International scholars, graduate students, and scholars with limited financial resources are all encouraged to apply. Once acceptance decisions are made, a limited number of travel grants will be made available.