HUC-JIR to Co-Sponsor Academic Conference on American Jewish History

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Conference organized by David Kaufman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Contemporary American Jewish Studies 

The eighth Biennial Scholars Conference on American Jewish History, the premier scholarly meeting of the academic field, will be held for the first time on the West Coast on Sunday, June 1-Tuesday, June 3, 2008. This conference, bringing together leading scholars, graduate students, and other students of the subject for two days of deliberation, is organized by Dr. David Kaufman, Associate Professor of Contemporary American Jewish Studies at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. 

The first day's proceedings, on Sunday June 1, will take place at the University of Southern California's Charlotte S. and Davre R. Davidson Continuing Education Conference Center and the following days' programs will take place at HUC-JIR. On Monday, June 2, the conference will present a film showing and panel discussion of "Making Trouble," a documentary on Jewish women in comedy, produced by the Jewish Women's Archive, at a public event at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, sponsored by USC Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. Lectures and roundtable discussions along with bus tours of significant Jewish historical buildings will take place throughout the conference. 

In addition to providing opportunities for scholars in the field to present their latest work, the conference will examine the overarching question of how American Jewish History relates to its two parent fields, American History and Modern Jewish History. Leading scholars in these broader disciplines, including luminaries such as Professor David A. Hollinger of University of California, Berkeley and Dr. David N. Myers of University of California, Los Angeles, will participate. 

Presentations and panel discussions to include:

  • American Jews in the Progressive Era
  • Challenges to Jewish Liberalism
  • Jewish and Non-Jewish Intellectuals in America
  • American Jews and Israel

Presenters include faculty and staff from Ben-Gurion University, Brandeis University, Claremont Graduate University, Columbia University, Emory University, Franklin and Marshall University, New York University, Temple University, Yale University. 

The conference is co-sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society and the Casden Institute of USC. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.