“Ask the Rabbi”

Are we allowed to drive a car to synagogue services on Shabbat? If my father is Jewish and my mother is Christian, what am I? Can an uncircumcised man be Jewish?

Collage of portraits of seven rabbis

Seven rabbis (left to right): Joshua Spinner, Irith Shillor, Daniel Katz, Julien-Chaim Soussan, Jonah Sievers, Avichai Apel, Gábor Lengyl
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photos: Thomas Valentin Harb

The new special exhibition, “The Whole Truth… everything you always wanted to know about Jews,” deals with common as well as uncommon questions about Judaism. We put some of these questions to seven rabbis and filmed their responses. All of them serve in Germany and represent a wide spectrum of religious belief: orthodox, liberal, conservative, progressive.

Inspired by research done on a number of Internet forums with names like “Ask the Rabbi,” “Askmoses,” and “Dear Rabbi,” in which rabbis from all over the world answer questions on how to handle religious law in everyday life, we organized the shooting of this film at a studio in Berlin-Wedding: with kosher catering, a chair, two cameras, and our seven interview partners.

A chair, a camera and spotlights

Set for shooting the film
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photos: Thomas Valentin Harb

There was much laughter along with answers also to questions that we hadn’t asked. We learned for instance that many rabbis use facebook to connect with and advise their congregants. And that one can go a long way, when hosting guests who eat kosher, with a simple unpeeled banana and a glass of tea.

The film-installation “Ask the Rabbi” will be shown in its own room as part of the special exhibition. You can see it starting tomorrow, 22 March 2013, at the Jewish Museum Berlin.


Martina Lüdicke, Curator of the Exhibition “The Whole Truth”

Comment by Alice Cohen on 1. April 2013 at 18:50

The Whole truth is that the concept for this exhibit is not only wrongheaded but disgusting. Why don’t you have the museum goers measure the Jew’s nose or feel if he has horns. I can’t believe that a Jewish museum would do something like this, especially in Germany.

Comment by Alice Cohen on 1. April 2013 at 18:51

Moderation? You must be kidding. As a Jew I find this reprehensible.

Comment by Mirjam Bitter on 2. April 2013 at 11:44

Unfortunately we receive many so called ‘comments’ completely off-topic, comments that are definitely spam and only want to sell something. That’s why we need to moderate this blog.

Comment by Mirjam Bitter on 4. April 2013 at 11:48

There is a difference if you only read about the exhibition or if you visit it. See the article by Jamie Kirchick about his experiences in the exhibition.

Comment by Ben Zalman on 14. April 2013 at 18:44

WoW! I’d like to see this film. Sometimes Jews do things to hurt themselves! The anti-Semites love it.

Comment by VMM on 10. September 2013 at 00:01

Dear Wonderful Rabbi’s,

1) Since we know that G-d KNOWS EVERYTHING … then I don’t understand what there was for Him know according to this scripture:

Genesis 22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the young man, neither do thou any thing unto him: “FOR NOW I KNOWN that thou fearest G-d, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine ben yachid from Me.

2) Exactly what does it mean .. when it is stated during Rosh Hashana blessing .. that the individual receives sustenance, etc …


Can you explain?? Thank you & Shalom.

Comment by VMM on 20. January 2014 at 21:42

1) Do you believe that Supernatural Miracles … in its truest
• still happen today, whether on a personal level,
• … and if so, would it happen .. because God has endowed an earthly individual
• (such as there were .. in the bible days of the Tanach, ..prophets)
• .. with the “Gift of Miracles, or –of Healing?”
• … or could an individual .. praying and petitioning to God ..have a personal encounter
• .. for example .. an Angel of the Lord to show up and give a message to them personally.. that can be life-changing.
Does similar incidents still happen today ..in the 21st Century?

2).. There has been times that I have listened to the Rabbi give a profound message, comment, or sermon … So what does it mean ..when I feel “sheer goosebumps” cascade across my face, head, or arm for a brief moment …either “during or immediately following” the time they speak …whatever the subject, topic, etc.???
So, what would that “feeling” mean to someone who hears various messages from the Rabbi
• ..is that “feeling” a confirmation?
• ..or is that “feeling” trying to speak to that individual, personally, l to do whatever was mentioned?
• ..or that it applies to that person’s present situation
o ..either as an answer to a dilemma?
• ..or a Word from the Lord to the individual who had that “feeling?”
• ..or to move that individual to “action,” etc?

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