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The University of Miami Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies celebrates the 2013 edition of 'The American Jewish Yearbook'

Book focuses on increase in New York's Jewish population, changes in Jewish education

University of Miami


IMAGE: This is the cover of the 2013 American Jewish Yearbook. view more

Credit: Springer Publishing Company

CORAL GABLES, FL (January 6, 2014) - 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 printing of the 2013 edition of The American Jewish Year Book: The 'Official' Record of the North American Jewish Communities.

The American Jewish Year Book (AJYB) - a very important and prestigious publication - was published annually from 1899-2008; after a four-year hiatus, publication was resumed in 2012. It has served as a major resource for information about the North American Jewish communities for Jewish leaders, universities, libraries and Jewish institutions. It 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.

Each year, the American Jewish Year Book publishes two major articles on two topics of significant interest to the North American Jewish communities. University of Miami professor and AJYB co-editor Ira Sheskin said that, this year, "Jonathan Woocher, a recognized international expert on Jewish education, presents a current analysis of some of the latest innovations in Jewish education. This 113-year old volume thus continues a long tradition of presenting the best in research on the Jewish community."

The AJYB documents the expansion of Jewish education's "ecosystem" to encompass new actors, approaches, and agenda-setters. Some key discussions in the research include the following:

  • Growing efforts to redesign supplementary education and replace the outdated "Hebrew school" model, coupled with growth in areas like Jewish camp and family education, and day schools seeking to hold their own in the face of serious economic pressures
  • The emergence of a vibrant innovation sector of new programs and organizations that are building connections for learners, especially young adults, between serious Jewish learning and areas of interest and concern like environmental sustainability, social justice, the arts, and spirituality
  • The rise of private foundations as perhaps the major force setting directions for the field and providing the investment capital propelling the reconfiguration of the Jewish educational ecosystem.

New research results published in the AJYB are particularly important as they represent more than 20% of American Jewry: those living in New York. In some ways, New York is like the rest of the country; in other ways it is quite different. Some major findings include the following:

  • After a four decade decrease in Jewish population and a decade of stability, the Jewish population of New York increased over the past decade.
  • Orthodox Jews and Russian Jews together comprise about 40% of all Jews in the area.
  • There is significant poverty in the New York Jewish community.

Dr. Arnie Dashefsky, also co-editor of the AJYB, said, "As editors, Ira Sheskin and I have sought to maintain the continuity of the essential content of the Year Book, as initially pioneered by its first editor, Cyrus Adler. We have included important articles on population statistics, including lengthy articles on New York Jewry, as well as the US and World Jewish populations, along with timely essays on national and Jewish communal affairs, and concluding with an extensive set of lists of various Jewish organizations and academic resources, among others."

"Having a current American Jewish Year Book on my shelf is like having a panel of experts on American Jewish life at the ready, prepared to give me thoughtful, accurate answers and observations on the key issues, trends and statistics that define our continental Jewish community today," said Jacob Solomon, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. "Well into its second century, the American Jewish Year Book continues to be an essential resource for serious leaders, practitioners, and students who seek to ground their work in solid research and up-to-date data."

The 2013 edition of the AJYB will be widely availableat the end of December 2013. Its publication will be celebrated with a special event at the UM Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at 7:30 pm on January 29. Editors of the AJYB and other special guests will discuss the research and data in the yearbook. A calendar item with the full agenda and details on how to attend the evening appears below.


Book Launch Calendar Item

WHAT: The American Jewish Year Book Annual Lecture: Presenting the Best in Research on the North American Jewish Community

WHEN: 7:30 pm, January 29, 2014

WHERE: Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami


Haim Shaked: The American Jewish Year Book

Ira Sheskin: Jewish Education: How Does Miami Compare to Other Jewish Communities?

Jonathan Woocher: Jewish Education in a New Century: An Ecosystem in Transition

Arnold Dashefsky: Summary and Questions

SPONSORS: Miller Center, Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies, UM School of Education and Human Development, Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Jack and Harriet Rosenfeld Foundation Program in Jewish Education, University of Miami.

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The University of Miami's mission is to educate and nurture students, to create knowledge, and to provide service to our community and beyond. Committed to excellence and proud of our diversity of our University family, we strive to develop future leaders of our nation and the world.

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