“Between the Lines”

An Architectural Instawalk through the Jewish Museum Berlin

A group of people in the axes of the Libeskind-building

Instagrammers in the Libeskind Building; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Judith Westphal

Where might one best spend the hottest day of the year? If not on the water or in the woods, there are only a few reasonable options. For example, an air conditioned museum with lots of underground passages! Fitting then that as part of Architecture Day on Friday, June 24th 2016, we led a very special kind of museum tour: Equipped with smartphones and professional cameras, we took a group of Berliner Instagrammers through the labyrinth that is the Libeskind Building, with Tommaso as guide. Even we as staff were able to learn a thing or two.  continue reading

In Memory of Rafael Roth

Photo of Rafael Roth

Rafael Roth, 2003 © Jewish Museum Berlin, photograph: Bildschön

In late 1998, long before the Jewish Museum Berlin opened its doors, the Berlin entrepreneur Rafael Roth offered to support the museum financially. He was committed to W. Michael Blumenthal’s vision of a center dedicated to research on and education in the history of Jewish life in Germany.

Roth was enthusiastic about the idea of a modern media center that would enable visitors to explore Jewish history in an interactive format. His generous donation funded the architecture, the concept and the technical development of this center, located on the subterranean level of the Daniel Libeskind building. When the “Rafael Roth Learning Center“ was inaugurated together with the permanent exhibition on 9 September 2001, it fulfilled its initial purpose, namely to be “the most up-to-date, most impressive and most important center of its kind.” Twelve years later, the media-lounge and study rooms still attract a great number of museum visitors.

Rafael Roth died on 21 September. The Jewish Museum Berlin is highly indebted to him and remembers him in great fondness.

 Mirjam Wenzel and Henriette Kolb, Media

Beit: A House Project for Schoolchildren

A circle of timber houses in the form of the Hebrew letter Bet under a tree

Timber houses in the form of the Hebrew
letter Bet
© The Beit Project, photo: David Gauffin

Beit is the name of a European project thought up by David Stoleru, a Jewish architect from France. The name refers to the Hebrew word for house “Bajit” as well as to the letter “Bet” of the Hebrew alphabet. Stoleru has designed small timber houses that are somewhat reminiscent of the cozy beach basket chairs common on Germany’s Baltic coast. Seen from the side, they resemble the symbol ב for Bet, the first letter of the word beit. Several classes of eighth-graders set up such houses in the Heckmann Höfe in the Mitte district of Berlin, as a means to temporarily bring into the public sphere their nearby school, whose Hebrew name, Beit Sefer, literally means “House of the Book.” Here, for two days, they devoted themselves to the task of uncovering traces of the Jewish community in the local cultural and urban heritage.

It proved to be a strenuous two days’ work, during which the schoolchildren were almost constantly on the go and often had to push themselves to their limits.  continue reading