Quite Best Practice

On 8 November 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court issued a delayed press release on a decision from 10 October 2017: the civil status law will have to allow a third gender by the end of 2018.

The media reacts with increased coverage on people who identify as intersexual or queer. For those who are queer, it’s difficult to find a place in a heteronormative world that only knows female or male, but nothing in between.

Tom Chai Sosnik’s story shows how queer people can find their place in society, and how not only they but everyone can benefit from it. Tom celebrated his coming out as transgender in spring 2015 with remarkable aplomb – in a ceremony performed by Rabbi Tsipi Gabai at a Jewish school in California, supported by his family.

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For Love of the Catalogs

A conversation with art historian, rabbi, and literature collector Edward van Voolen, drs.

For three and a half years now, the art historian and rabbi Edward van Voolen has supported the DFG project. With his help, our library has developed into a research library for Jewish art, through generous gifts from his private collection. It now includes over 500 publications in the fields of Jewish art and material culture.

Edward van Voolen; photo: private

For 35 years, Mr. van Voolen was a curator at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. He is now a rabbi in Germany. Since 2003, he has taught at the Abraham Geiger College at the University of Potsdam, publishing regularly on topics related to Jewish religion, art, and history.

Lea Weik asked him a few questions about his passion for collecting, and about his considerable donation.

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A Childhood in Flatow

The first episode in our blog series: “Memories from the Life of Walter Frankenstein”

Walter Frankenstein in a baby carriage at the age of 7 ½ months, Flatow, February 1925; Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Leonie and Walter Frankenstein

When I look at the picture of the infant in his baby carriage, it’s difficult for me to believe that it’s the same person who sat across from me just a few weeks ago in Stockholm at the age of nearly ninety-three years. It’s even harder for me to imagine the eventful life that lay between these two moments, which was shaped by a variety of sudden and in some cases tragic developments, as well as bold new starts.

I’m referring to the life of Walter Frankenstein, who donated more than 1,100 photographs to the Jewish Museum Berlin. Photos that depict his entire life from the earliest days of his childhood into old age. The picture of the baby carriage is the oldest photo among them. It shows Walter in February 1925 at the age of 7-1/2 months on a sidewalk in his hometown of Flatow (today known as Złotów), where he was born on June 30, 1924. His father, Max Frankenstein, owned a country shop and an inn there, which he had inherited from the parents of his first wife, Emma Frankenstein. After Emma died of sepsis in 1917, he married Walter’s mother, Martha Frankenstein née Fein.

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