Our “Diversity in Schools” Program: the Whys, Wherefores, and Lessons Learned

Coulerful tablet with sketches

A “graphic recording” of the ways in which schools and museums can cooperate more closely on diversity issues © JMB, photo: Jule Roehr

We learned a lot in the course of our three-year “Vielfalt in Schulen” [ViS] program, which the Jewish Museum Berlin [JMB] carried out in cooperation with the Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendstiftung [DKJS, German Foundation for Children and Young People], with funding courtesy of the Stiftung Mercator [Mercator Foundation]. Journalist Alke Wierth of the national daily paper, tageszeitung, recently helped us weigh up the results.

 

Alke Wierth: Looking back on what you had in mind when launching the “ViS” program, can you recall at which point you first thought: “Things are not going the way we planned?”

Rosa Fava, project leader, JMB: It was right at the start, at one of the meetings with the participating schools, where we discussed their expectations of the program. A lot of the stuff talked about there made me wonder: What on earth has this to do with our concept?

For example?
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Handwriting Practice on Slate

Immediately upon entering our temporary exhibition “A Time for Everything,” visitors are met by letters of the Hebrew alphabet made from dough and suspended from the ceiling: an installation that complements the three medieval slate fragments showcased below, which attest to children’s efforts to learn to write in the Middle Ages.

Here, Michael Wiehen explains the significance of the slates, which were recently excavated at the Archaeological Zone of the Jewish Museum Cologne:


What Significance Do the High Holidays Have for You?

Employees of the Jewish Museum Berlin respond:

“I like Rosh ha-Shanah, and new year festivities in general. I celebrate them all: birthdays, the High Holidays, and December 31st.” Naomi Lubrich, Media

Painting: Through the entrance door to the synagoge, we see Jews meeting for services.

The postcard is the only copy of a painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim from 1873, which was destroyed in London in 1939. © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe
You will find more postcards from the past in our Online Showcase

“I usually use the time between Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur to figure out what’s not going so well in my life and what I want to change. I take some time to think about it and take stock.” Sarah Hiron, Education

“The High Holidays, like the Sabbath, are a chance to make time for my spiritual faith. For me they are special – holy – days. They encourage me to carry on traditions and become more aware. At the same though, they mean time off, and that means nightlife, having fun, and sleeping in.” Roland Schmidt, Host

“Although I live a secular life the rest of the year and don’t go to synagogue, Yom Kippur has a great spiritual significance for me. I fast, turn off music and disregard other forms of entertainment. Instead the day is defined by humility, contemplation, silence, and reflecting on nature. Since it’s not a joyful celebration with one central ritual, Yom Kippur is different every year, so I connect it with new and ever-changing personal experiences.” Roman Labunski, Education