Centennial Project

Some years ago, a small number of American Jewish scholars, recognizing the great need of such co-operative work, banded together and founded the Academy for Jewish Research. While fully aware of the fact that it is a task requiring the co-operation of Jewish scholars all over the world, they felt that a start would have to be made in our country with the hope that future developments would make possible co-operation with the leading Jewish scholars abroad. So far we have kept too much within our own circle and have in general refrained from appearing in public. We feel now that in order to begin to carry out our plans we must appeal to the public and try to strengthen our organization by adding to it a large number of members and patrons who can appreciate the work in which it is engaged. It is our earnest hope that we may be able to do so, and that this evening will mark the beginning of fruitful activity in the history of our organization.

Alexander Marx
Opening AddressFirst Public Meeting of the AAJR
December 27, 1928


We are now looking back on 100 years of AAJR work and are proud to share the impact, insight, and evolution of our organization. As we gear up for our centennial in 2020, we invite you to explore our online archive and exhibits and reach out with your own reflections.

How has the AAJR made a difference in your life and scholarship?

  • AAJR Proceedings
    Between 1928 and 1997 the AAJR published 63 volumes of “Proceedings” that included scholarly papers in virtually every field of Jewish Studies. The entire collection is now available thanks to Jstor.
  • A History of AAJR
    On June 15, 1920, a small group of American scholars in Judaic studies met in New York City to found the American Academy for Jewish Research (AAJR).  At the time, the United States was not a dynamic center of Judaica research and the teaching of Jewish studies was not a part of the liberal arts curriculum in North American universities.  The majority of the founders and all of the initial officers held teaching positions at Jewish educational institutions, primarily the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Hebrew Union College.
  • Online Exhibit: AAJR Responds to Nazism 
    In response to the rise of the National Socialist Party in Germany, AAJR launched a plan to fund research fellowships for European Jewish scholars, providing their endangered colleagues a means to leave Europe. The program faced bureaucratic, political, and financial obstacles, but the legacy of the Refugee Research Fellowship Program demonstrates the tenacious commitment to the humanitarian plight of their fellow scholars that animated AAJR members from 1933 to 1945.
  • A Century of Change for AAJR
    Coming soon: Our members now represent the full breadth of research institutions across the United States. Even as our fundamental shape has changed, we remain engaged in research of Jewish life, history, culture and practice. How have these changes shaped our institution and how do we reflect changes across the academy at large?