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2019 Membership Changes

Feb 21, 2019

Dear AJS Members,

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, we are busy making some exciting changes to the organization. One such change concerns the AJS membership year. Currently, the AJS membership year runs from September 1 through August 31. Starting January 1, 2020, we will be changing our membership year to a calendar year: January 1 to December 31.

Why are we making this change?

As many of you know, to submit a proposal to the annual AJS conference, you must be a member of the organization in the year that the conference is happening. This requirement will not be changing - and we'll be opening the 2019 Call for Submissions in early March.

What has been confusing to many people, though, was having to purchase a membership in March or April at the time of proposal submissions, when the membership year didn’t begin until September 1. This required members to pay six months in advance for membership, creating financial difficulties for some. It was also challenging from an administrative standpoint. Starting in 2020, you will purchase membership for the year 2020 and that membership will make you an active member for that entire calendar year, able to both submit a conference proposal and purchase conference registration at the member rate. We hope that this simplified system will make things easier for everyone and ease financial pressures.

What does this mean for me now?

While things will be rather straightforward starting January 1, 2020, we have to get through the transition year in 2019. If you are currently a member of the AJS, your membership is good now through August 31, 2019. If you are a current member and would like to submit a proposal for this year’s conference or receive the member conference rate, you will need to purchase a special one-time-only four-month membership to the AJS that will extend your membership through the end of 2019. The four-month membership pricing is equivalent to one-third (four months) of what the 2018-19 memberships costs and will be formally available to purchase when the Call For Papers officially launches in early March, just as in years past (view the transitional membership rates here). At the end of 2019 (or anytime in 2020), you will be able to renew your new 12-month 2020 membership as we fully transition into this new system.

Why is the AJS charging for a four-month membership extension?

You might wonder why we don’t simply extend everyone’s membership another four months for free. The short answer is that the organization isn’t in a financial position to do so. We understand that this four-month membership may seem a little confusing but 1) the cost to members is not any greater than it’s been in the past and 2) this transition model will enable us to maintain income for the organization so that we can provide the services you expect from us. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility through this process!

What if I’m not a current member?

If you are not a current member, but you expect to submit a conference proposal and/or register for the conference, for this year only, you will need to purchase a 4-month (September-December) membership when you submit your proposal or register for the conference. If you need access to AJS membership benefits now or if you are applying to an AJS program such as the Schnitzer Book Awards that requires you to be a current AJS member, you can still purchase a 2018-19 membership.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions and thank you for working with us through this transition. We believe that ultimately this new system, when fully in effect in 2020, will be much easier for all members.

Sincerely,

warren-hoffman-2018-smallWarren Hoffman,
Executive Director

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As the largest professional organization in this interdisciplinary field, the AJS has supported research, teaching, and scholarship in Jewish Studies since it was founded in 1969. Our publications, annual meetings, and other initiatives ensure that the AJS leads the field, maintains professional standards, and supports our scholars and students in their work. Celebrate our accomplishments of our first fifty years and ensure excellence for the next half-century.