Neither King David nor Cilly Kugelmann can solve this problem

On the difficulties the organizers of the “Welcome to Jerusalem” exhibition encountered doing justice to the ideal of justice

The colour photo shows the façade of the Jewish Museum Berlin with a traffic sign with the inscription "Welcome to Jerusalem" in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

The much-discussed sign outside the museum, Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jule Roehr

In the Islamic tradition and in the Koran itself, the biblical story of David and Uriah is told in a metaphorical form that differs from the version in the Bible (Koran: Sura 38/21–25): two brothers come to King David and ask him to settle a dispute between them. One of them describes the situation. He tells David that his brother has 99 ewes, but he himself only has one. Now his brother was pressuring him to give him his only ewe. Directly after this brief depiction, David passes his judgment: the one brother’s desire to add the one ewe to his 99 was an injustice to the other brother. The judgment could have been the end of the story, had David not suddenly realized that his decision was unjust. He regretted it deeply. Many Muslim commentators have discussed the sudden turn in the story. One explanation for why the judgment is unjust despite the clarity of the situation is that David made his decision after hearing only one side. In this interpretation, the moral of the story is that in conflicts or disputes, both sides must be allowed to present their perspectives and arguments.  continue reading


Why the Jewish Museum Berlin has every reason to finally open a children’s museum in 2019

A little story about a revolutionary kind of museum

Scetch of the ark

In the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy construction is currently underway on a Noah’s Ark-themed children’s museum; Jewish Museum Berlin, Olson Kundig Architecture and Exhibit Design, Seattle/WA, USA

 

“Do not touch!”—These three words are irrevocably associated with traditional museums. They denote an institutional balancing act. On the one hand, the historical objects and works of art that are gathered in museums are supposed to be made accessible to the public. On the other hand, the objects must be protected from the damage that might be done by overenthusiastic visitors. Despite what museologist Fiona Candlin describes as “low-key unauthorized touch”—stroking statues when unobserved, secretly tracing hieroglyphics with an index finger—a visit to a museum remains a mostly visual experience.  continue reading


“We’re no longer guests, we belong.”

An interview with Elena Bashkirova

The color photograph shows Elena Bashkirova in a black blazer and a violet patterned scarf. In the background is the Jerusalem exhibition.

Elena Bashkirova; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jule Roehr

On 21 April 2018, the Glass Courtyard of the Jewish Museum Berlin will be opened for the seventh annual chamber music festival intonations, featuring Händel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.” Echoing our exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem, this year’s program features pieces that highlight the sanctity of Jerusalem. Elena Bashkirova, artistic director of the festival, took a tour of the exhibition then spoke with us about the “holy city,” the founding of intonations in Berlin, and the music that will be presented in the festival in the coming days:  continue reading