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AJS Perspectives

Call for Submissions

The Conversion Issue

Editors: Laura Limonic & Federica Schoeman
Art Editor: Douglas Rosenberg
Roundtable Editor: Jason Schulman
"Teaching with Film and Media" Editor: Olga Gershenson

Deadline for pitches: May 5, 2024

The editors of AJS Perspectives invite scholars, researchers, artists and practitioners to submit proposals for essays exploring the topic of converting into or out of Judaism. This issue seeks to examine the multifaceted dimensions of embracing a new religious identity from historical, cultural, religious, and sociological perspectives. Contributors are invited to interpret the idea of “conversion” as broadly as they wish. We also welcome personal essays.

Background: Conversion has been a subject of scholarly inquiry and communal debate for centuries. From biblical times to contemporary contexts, conversions have been influenced by diverse factors, from sincere faith to intermarriage, or the need to overcome social barriers. Infamously, Jews were also often forced to convert. Under various historical circumstances, social pressures or family requirements, Jews may have also freely chosen conversion (Tevye’s daughter Chava, from Sholem Alejchem’s classic story, comes to mind, or the historical figures of Herschel Marx or Abraham Mendelssohn). To some, assimilation is as dangerous as, or even a form of, conversion–a way to weaken the community’s identity (for instance, think of the character of Jakie Rabinowitz in The Jazz Singer, and the father’s reaction to the son’s choice). The history of conversions must also include those who join Judaism. Are these represented in our culture, books, films, or intellectual/academic discourses? And if so, how? We seek to address questions of choice and process and acceptance across the legal, religious and cultural realms of conversion.

Proposal Guidelines: We welcome proposals for articles that engage with the theme of Jewish conversions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to:

  •  Historical perspectives on Jewish conversion practices and attitudes.

  •  Expressions of Jewish identity and belonging among converts.

  •  Transitions between different Jewish denominations.

  •  Sociological analyses of conversion experiences and community dynamics.

  •  Legal and ethical considerations surrounding conversion.

  •  Books, films and other representations of conversions (becoming Jewish or leaving Judaism) and the family or communal dynamics surrounding these decisions.

We invite pitches from academics, independent scholars, and academically unaffiliated writers. Photographs and accompanying illustrations are highly welcome. Interested contributors should submit their pitches no later than May 5. These must include the author’s name (and co-authors’ names, if applicable), affiliation (if applicable), title of the essay, and a fully fleshed out description of the piece. The magazine aspires to publish non-academic articles that are engaging, entertaining, well-written and accessible to a broad and diverse audience.

We aim to promote a diversity of voices including career stage, geographical location, gender, religion, race, sexuality, and ability.

Completed essays will be approximately 1,000 words.

Teaching with Film and Media Submissions

We invite 2–3 sentence pitches for the “Teaching with Film and Media” section, edited by Olga Gershenson. Final submissions will consist of a short essay about a film and a brief discussion of its pedagogical potential in Jewish Studies courses. Each essay will be 250-300 words (including director, year, country of production, and distributor) plus a representative image.

Roundtable Submissions

We invite submissions for the Roundtable format in AJS Perspectives. Roundtables feature a group of scholars exploring a topic in a conversational manner. Like essays, roundtables can explore the theme from creative and scholarly perspectives, as well as reflections on the theme in pedagogy and the profession. We particularly welcome roundtables formed for past or upcoming AJS Conferences. Roundtables should consist of 3–5 participants and should be no longer than 3,000 words in total.

Art Submissions

We invite artists to address the topic through relevant practices that may include, (but are not limited to) photography, printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, performative documentation or other reproducible media.

Art submissions should be the highest quality digital representation in your particular medium. Please submit files with appropriate description and any additional information which may be helpful to the editors.

We aim to promote a diversity of voices including career stage, socio-economic situation, gender, religion, race, sexuality, and ability. As such, you are invited to include relevant aspects of whatever subjectivity or positionality may inform your writing.

Submission Guidelines:
Please submit via Google Form here.
The deadline to submit pitches has passed

Publication Timeline:
- Deadline for Pitches: May 5, 2024
- Editor Decisions: by late May 2024
- Completed Essays Due – June 30, 2024
- Publication of AJS Perspectives Issue: December 2024

Contact the editors at