What’s your ideal AJS conference?

Zachary Braiterman

Syracuse University

I’ve been going to the AJS conference just about every year for the past twenty years. I keep coming back for the small venue and intimate scale. If you go for long enough, you get to know everyone. Year in and out, you run into her, him, or them in the lobby, on a panel, at the hotel bar, or wandering around the book exhibit. The proximity makes for a sense of community-citizenship and close bonds of scholarly-human fellowship, which I think is special to a forum like the AJS conference with its parochial character, and which makes the conference precious. What would be an ideal conference? One where I get to see my friends, meet colleagues, make new friends, and hear something new. Not the same old lines of analysis that I’ve heard over and over, but something, anything, that I’ve never heard before, at least not at the AJS conference, some kind of intellectual connection that might force me to rethink the study of the Jews and Judaism, the human condition, in some new light, from a skewed perspective and larger frame.