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      Reenacting Exodus and the Civil War: Passover and All Other Nights by Dara Horn

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          Abstract

          This article discusses how Dara Horn recuperates the integral roles played by Jewish Americans in the Civil War by using reenactment as a structuring concept in her novel All Other Nights ( 2009). Given that the Passover seder entails a kind of historical reenactment of the ancient Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, Horn casts the antebellum period itself not only in terms of competing interpretations of the Book of Exodus, but also as reenactments of key moments in Jewish history from antiquity through the mid-nineteenth century. Just as the seder is meant to strengthen Jewish communal bonds and inspire Jews to apply Exodus to their present context, the protagonist’s various personal reenactments, from childhood memories to various religious rituals, show him how learning about Jewish history and religion might motivate civic engagement in the United States. All Other Nights consequently poses a problem: how might Jewish Americans both prioritize communal ties while also putting Judaic principles into practice on behalf of others? Ultimately, I suggest the novel argues for Jewish solidarity with African American liberation struggles while also shedding light on the specific complexities of Jews’ experiences on each side of the Mason Dixon line. All Other Nights emphasizes the enduring importance of viewing Jewish Americans as a distinct ethno-religious group whose very Yiddishkeit existed generations before, and yet has also been shaped by, a nation riven over chattel slavery.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race

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            The Cambridge Companion to Jewish American Literature

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              All Other Nights

               D Horn (2009)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                06 November 2017
                : 3
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, US
                Article
                10.16995/olh.148
                Copyright: © 2017 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                Self URI (journal-page): https://olh.openlibhums.org/
                Categories
                New voices in jewish-american literature

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