Call for Papers for an International Research Conference Co-Sponsored by JDC and the Ben-Zvi Institute

The Ben-Zvi Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East


The Joint Distribution Committee


The Work of the Joint Distribution Committee and other International Jewish Organizations in Islamic Countries



Call for Papers for an International Research Conference Co-Sponsored by JDC and the Ben-Zvi Institute

Tuesday-Wednesday, 1-2 September 2020 [12-13 Elul



In recent decades, scholars have been paying increased attention to the study of Jews in Islamic countries, particularly to the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (also known as the JDC or the “Joint”) and other international Jewish organizations with these communities. JDC’s work in the Muslim world began in the 1940s following Hitler’s rise to power and the arrival on the shores of North Africa of Jewish refugees escaping Nazi Europe to whom it provided assistance via local refugee committees. In the postwar period, JDC became increasingly involved in helping local Jews by setting up an extensive assistance program, which focused on the needs of children in countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Iran.  New technologies, the digitization of archives and of historical press, and sophisticated search engines, have led to increased accessibility to resources on these topics and others.  The new research coming out of this revolution has changed the scope of scholarship, widened its horizons and deepened its understanding of Jewish history in the Arab-Muslim world and the specific role of the Joint and other organizations in these regions.

JDC and the Ben-Zvi Institute are co-sponsoring an international workshop in Jerusalem on September 1-2, 2020 to discuss the roles of the Joint and other international Jewish organizations in the Islamic world.  The conference's sessions will take stock of the current state of research and scholarship on these topics and explore directions for research. We welcome papers that explore, but are not limited to the following issues:

·         The role played by the JDC in the assistance to the region’s Jewish communities and its impact

·         Collaborations between the local Jewish communities and other Jewish organizations

·         The impact of colonialism and national movements on the work of JDC and other international Jewish organizations

·         The roles played by these organizations in the modernization of the Jewish communities

·         The impact of the establishment of the State of Israel on life in these communities

·         Comparative aspects of the work of Jewish and other organizations



Please submit proposals, including abstracts of 250 words and a speaker biography of no more than 100 words to Dr. Anat Kutner (, Director of the JDC Jerusalem Archives, by March 1, 2020. The conference will be conducted in English. Accommodations will be provided for participants from abroad and meals will be provided for participants.  Limited travel stipends may be available for those from abroad needing assistance.









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