CORAL GABLES, FL (February 5, 2013) – The University of Miami Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies and the George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences announce the return to print of The American Jewish Year Book:The 'Official' Record of the North American Jewish Communities.
After a four year hiatus, the newly released American Jewish Year Book (AJYB) contains important findings about the Jewish population in the United States. Despite concerns about the decline of the Jewish community's numbers, figures in the AJYB's chapter indicate that the numbers remain stable at approximately 6.5 million, according to Dr. Ira Sheskin, UM professor and co-editor of the AJYB. This is important in view of the continuing debate over which community, Israel or the United States – has the world's largest Jewish community. The other very important finding is the growth of the number of Jews, 500,000, who identify themselves as secular members of a community rather than as Jews by religion.
AJYB - a very important and prestigious publication - was published annually from 1899 to 2008. Its 108 volumes have served as a major resource for information about the North American Jewish communities for Jewish leaders, universities, libraries and Jewish institutions. For more than a century, AJYB was the premiere place for leading academics to publish long review chapters on topics of interest to the North American Jewish community. AJYB also documented the changing demography and institutional structure of the Jewish community. Publication stopped after the 2008 edition, due to changes in the industry and economy, but has started again with a 2012 edition, released in January, 2013.
"Academics, policy makers and professionals studying the Jewish Community in North America were all saddened by the passing of the American Jewish Year Book," said Dr. Haim Shaked, UM professor and director of the Miller Center. "So, we at the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies were delighted that we could help restart its publication. Internationally, this puts us in the top academic tier."
"The AJYB isn't just about lists of information," said Dr. Sheskin. "It's a historical record of the Jewish people in North America, and recording it in this way allows people to compare the data year after year, to see how Jewish life has changed – what college Judaic studies programs existed from one year to another, for example." In addition to the traditional hard-bound printed edition, the 600-page AJYB will be available in both a digital edition and a soft-cover edition.
On February 12, the Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies will host a special evening of events to celebrate the renewed publication of the AJYB. The evening includes a reception and special greetings from Dr. Thomas J. LeBlanc, UM's Executive Vice President and Provost, and Brian D. Siegal, American Jewish Committee (AJC) Director, Greater Miami and Broward Region.
Three contributors to the current AJYB volume on The Future of American Jewry will speak: Sheskin, who will present The Future of the Jewish Population of the United States, based on the chapter in the 2012 AJYB on the Jewish Population of the United States, 2012; University of Connecticut Professor Arnold Dashefsky, editor, who will speak about The Legacy of the American Jewish Year Book; and Trinity College Professor Barry Kosmin, author of the chapter in the 2012 AJYB entitled Jewish Life beyond the Synagogue: American Jewish Secularism.
A reception will be held on the Scharlin Patio prior to the briefing and is open to the public. Seating is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-284-6882.
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