We are pleased to announce the winners of the Wasserman Prize for the outstanding article in American Jewish History for 2016.
This year's Wasserman Prize has been awarded to Britt P. Tevis for her article "'The Hebrews are Appearing in Court in Great Numbers': Toward a Reassessment of Early Twentieth-Century American Jewish Immigration History." Tevis's article discusses Jewish immigrants who were determined "likely to become a public charge," the officials who worked to exclude them from the United States, and the Jewish lawyers who took up their cases. She reminds us that immigration, even before the restrictive 1924 quota laws passed, was no simple feat and that, contrary to many historical accounts, debarment and deportation were very real threats. The committee was impressed with Tevis's exhaustive research and compelling methodology, which deftly joins the lofty concerns of public policy and legal history with the granular lived experiences of immigrants themselves. Tevis shows that battles over excluded Jewish individuals directly influenced American immigration policy and created the field of immigration law. In the process, she contributes meaningfully to the urgent scholarly and civic task of reevaluating the history of immigration in the United States.
The committee also awarded an Honorable Mention to Sarah Imhoff for her article "Carlebach and the Unheard Stories," which questions how scholars should tell the story of Shlomo Carlebach. Imhoff asks that scholars consider the connections between Carlebach's utopian defiance of boundaries and his violation of personal boundaries. The committee was particularly struck by the article's timeliness. It contributes in compelling ways to discussions of methods and the double standard often applied to oral testimony, as well as to broader conversations about religion and sexual misconduct. Professor Imhoff is an Assistant Professor in the Borns Jewish Studies Program and Religious Studies Department at Indiana University.
Congratulations to these two outstanding scholars and our thanks to the colleagues who served on the committee to make the selections. [End Page 307]