We are pleased to announce that the American Jewish Historical Society committee tasked with selecting the best article in the 2017 volume of American Jewish History has chosen to award the Wasserman Prize to two articles:
Jonathan Sarna and Zev Eleff, "The Immigration Clause that Transformed Orthodox Judaism in the United States," 101, no. 3 (2017): 357-376.
Sarna and Eleff examine the implications of a provision in the 1921 Emergency Quota Act that allowed a number of professions, including clergy, to enter the United States under the quota. The American rabbinate, therefore, remained disproportionately "foreign born," long after Jews were forbidden entry, and the Orthodox rabbinate was the primary beneficiary of the exception. This clause, they argue, created an Orthodox Judaism that was far more vital than the era prior to WWI could have predicted. It brought learned leadership to Orthodox institutions of higher learning, created a more right wing Judaism whose leaders had little interest in cooperating with other American Jewish denominations, and expanded the numbers of Orthodox rabbis. They convincingly argue that a post WWII revival of Orthodox Judaism was attributed to this little-known clause.
Shari Rabin, "Let Us Endeavor to Count Them Up": The Nineteenth Century Origins of American Jewish Demography," 101, no. 4 (2017)...