What is the position of Sephardi Jews in Egyptian society?

Guidelines for final essay on Aciman’s Out of Egypt

Here are some pointers on how to approach the final essay. You are expected to write a 5-6 page essay based on Andre Aciman’s Out of Egypt.

As you read or re-read the book pay attention to the ways in which Aciman describes Sephardi society in Alexandria. You can use some of these questions to keep track of themes as you read:

What is the position of Sephardi Jews in Egyptian society? How is the relationship between the Acimans and Alexandria described? What elements of Sephardi culture does Aciman focus on? Does Sephardi culture come across as homogeneous in the book? How are the older and younger generations described, what are their relations like, and what does this tell us about Sephardi culture? What role do religion and European culture play within the family? How is the relationship between Jews, Muslims and Christians described? What is the impact of broader political events on the family (and by extent, on all Egyptian Jews)?

Of course, you do not have to answer all of these questions (or limit yourself to them) in the essay, but use them as a springboard as you elaborate on the material.

Make sure that you refer directly (either quoting or paraphrasing) to the material to back up your argument. In either case, please use parenthetical quotations throughout the essay.


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