From the Executive Director

Warren Hoffman

The AJS (Now Available in 8-Track and Stereophonic Sound!)

Stuffed in my sister’s attic are boxes of VHS tapes of Broadway shows and audio cassettes of demo albums that I’ve collected over the years. As a theater and cast album collector, I can’t seem to part with these materials, many of which have never been commercially released or digitized. What can I say? I’m an old soul who is sitting on some 2,000 paper Playbills I’ve collected from all the shows I’ve seen over the years (don’t worry, I’m not a hoarder!), and I still buy CDs because I like the program booklets. Yet despite this devotion to the old, to material objects, and to outdated media formats, I have not become a Luddite, especially as far as the AJS is concerned.

While you won’t see me whipping out the latest iPhone, I am fascinated by technology and the ways that it can connect us and, at times, make our lives easier. (I barely remember how I got work done before the invention of email. Did we use carrier pigeons or two tin cans and a string? It all seems a blur now.)

Here at the AJS there are a number of new technological changes we’ve been implementing over the last few months:

  • In the past year we launched a fully redesigned website that not only looks more contemporary, it makes finding information about the organization easier and more streamlined.
  • This spring we are launching a brand-new interface on MyAJS that’s more user-friendly and Facebook-like, and will also enable you to connect with your fellow AJS members in new and exciting ways. (Keep your eyes out for the Groups function.)
  • At the conference this past December, over 330 people used our new app to navigate the event. We’ll be bringing the app back next year with even more functionality.

Last fall, I was invited to Hamburg, Germany, as part of a team, to learn about a number of projects and initiatives in the world of Jewish Digital Humanities. From new scholarly projects online to databases of previously unavailable archival materials, this consortium of projects and institutions, including the AJS, will be working to create a shared database of Jewish Digital Humanities projects across the world in the coming months.

This spring we launched a new partnership with Clio, an educational website and mobile application that guides the public to thousands of historical and cultural sites throughout the United States. A team of sixteen AJS members have already signed up to start contributing content. If you’d like to participate, please contact me at

All this isn’t to say that we’re ditching paper. As you hold this issue of Perspectives in your hands (or read it online), you’ll see that in addition to the fact that this is our second issue in full color, we have a new cover design that features the AJS’s new logo and branding, which will permeate all of our publications and collateral. We hope you like this new look, which will help further professionalize the organization as we approach our fiftieth anniversary.

Have an idea for a new technology for the AJS to employ? Send me a note!

However you decide to engage with the AJS, from snail mail to tweeting, we look forwarding to hearing from you.

In the meantime, I’m going to read a book. I love my Kindle, but at the end of the day, I prefer a good hardback.

Warren Hoffman
Association for Jewish Studies