Who we are and what we do

Who we are and what we do

The Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies (SJAS) is a scholarly organization devoted to the study of the history and culture of Arabic speaking Jews in the Middle Ages.


With the Arab conquests of the seventh century, Jewish life was transformed. At the end of the eighth century at the latest, Jews began using Arabic for all their practical and literary needs with the exception of liturgy. Jewish spiritual activity thus came into close interaction with Arab and Islamic culture at large. Judaeo-Arabic culture was unique in the medieval context, with no parallel anywhere in Christian Europe

SJAS History

The founding conference of the Society was held in Chicago in 1984. At the time the Society had only a handful of members. In twenty-five years, it has grown to include more than one hundred members on four continents. We have held fourteen biennial conferences and published seven volumes of conference proceedings. Our members have also published hundreds of articles and books whose ideas and research had their first public airing at the Society’s meetings.

Ben-Zvi Institute

The Society’s seat is at the Ben-Zvi Institute, which is academically part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Institute is also home to several research projects focused on Judaeo-Arabic literature and documents, including preparing critical editions of Judaeo-Arabic texts, publishing detailed catalogues of the Judaeo-Arabic series of the Firkovitch Collections, and cataloguing Genizah texts for the Friedberg Genizah Project.

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Yad Ben-Zvi

14 Ibn Gabirol , POB 7660,

 Jerusalem 9107601, Israel


Tel. 972-2-5398888

Fax: 972-2-5638310


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