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Tomer Cherki wins the Jill Stacey Harris undergraduate essay prize

May 4, 2022

The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies is pleased to award this year’s Jill Stacey Harris Prize in Jewish Studies to Tomer Cherki (WCAS ‘23) for his graphic novel Bobetyziye. The graphic novel, which Cherki wrote and then illustrated with some help from his sister Yuval Cherki, was a final project for Jewish Studies 279, “Jewish Graphic Narratives of the Holocaust,” taught by Dana Mihăilescu, Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor in 2021-22. The selection committee felt that Cherki’s graphic novel, though not a traditional research paper, demonstrated a deep and nuanced understanding of both post-Holocaust Jewish life and the genre of graphic narrative. Mihăilescu notes that “Bobetzivye (about Tomer’s great-great grandmother) beautifully integrates some of the new styles of graphic composition discussed in our class, just as it offers a relaxed, but also deferential cross-generational outlook upon an ever more remote and difficult family past and collective Jewish existence, more broadly, similarly to the contemporary graphic artists whose works we have explored during our class meetings. His work is an extraordinarily perceptive family account – at times surprising and sad, at other times wry and funny – that perfectly encompasses the potential of the graphic narrative medium to compellingly transmit difficult histories, both close and distant in time.” 

The Jill Stacey Harris Prize in Jewish Studies has been awarded annually since 1991 for the best undergraduate essay in the field of Jewish Studies. Student papers are nominated by the faculty in Jewish Studies and an independent committee evaluates and judges the nominated submissions.

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