Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War
In the midst of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, this exhibition offers a provocative and revealing perspective on the bloody conflict: The Jewish experience. The Civil War was a crucible for American Jews, laying the groundwork for their integration and Americanization on a large scale. It enabled the full participation of Jews in American life – militarily, politically, economically and socially – and set the stage for massive Jewish immigration decades later. In addition to telling this story, the exhibition also spotlights episodes that shook American history, including President Lincoln’s reversal of an order by General Ulysses S. Grant which expelled Jews “as a class” from the massive Tennessee Territory after accusations of disloyalty.
Passages through the Fire includes the largest and most comprehensive collection of materials relating to Jews and the Civil War assembled in the last 50 years. The core of the exhibition is the unmatched collection of Robert D. Marcus of Fairfax, VA, generally regarded as the world’s most significant collection of Civil War Judaica. The exhibition also showcases dozens of magnificent documents and artifacts from museums, libraries and private collections across the United States, and features three exclusively created short films that offer contemporary perspective from leading historians and scholars.