Chag Sameach!

Simhat Torah

Woodcut showing a bearded man who holds up a Torah scroll and dances with it

Jakob Steinhardt, Thora Tänzer (Torah Dancer), ca. 1934; Jewish Museum Berlin, purchased with funds provided by Stiftung DKLB, photo: Jens Ziehe.
You can find more information on our holdings related to Simhat Torah in our online collections (in German).

What is it and how is it celebrated?

Over the course of the year, the Torah is read from beginning to end in the synagogue, from the first through the fifth Book of Moses. On Simhat Torah, literally “Rejoicing with the Torah,”  continue reading

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Shana Tova u’Metuka!

What makes Rosh ha-Shanah special

The Jewish year 5778 begins today—and with it a very special time for the Jewish community worldwide. Rosh ha-Shanah is the beginning of the High Holy Days, the Yamim Noraim (literally “Days of Awe”) as they’re known in Hebrew.
I asked around my friend group a bit to find out what Rosh ha-Shanah means to them personally:  continue reading


A Kind of Family Gathering – Bitter Herbs and Their Relatives in the Diaspora Garden

Yellow plate with foods made of clay and the inscriptions: “Pessah” in the center and all around the edge “Chazeret”, “Beitzah”, “Zeroa”, “Maror”, “Charoset”, and “Karpas”

Shlomit Tulgan made this Seder plate from clay for our children’s exhibition on Passover; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Jens Ziehe.

It’s Seder and the family is getting together. Some are traveling from farther away, others are flourishing right here. At the table are escarole, lettuce, parsley, kohlrabi, Belgian endive, and dandelion. But what about horseradish and red radish? They’re both late this year.

The story of the plants and their fruits that have particular meaning on the Seder plate at Passover could be told in various similar ways. They all grow in the Diaspora Garden, which you can visit inside the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy at the Jewish Museum.  continue reading