The Whole Truth: a Continuing Discussion

There are people who visit the special exhibition “The Whole Truth” not once or twice but a few dozen times: museum guides, those of us who accompany visitors through the exhibition. This time, though, our job isn’t to introduce the exhibits and their deeper meaning but instead to elicit commentary from this very real and tangible general public – and to moderate any discussion that follows. After all, the questions on which the exhibition is based also came from visitors. The museum reflects them in a great number of objects that the curators sought out.

Five pillars with the inscriptions: "business savy?", "fond of animals?", "influential?", "intelligent?", "beautiful?"

Barometer for the question “Are Jews particularly …?” in the exhibition “The Whole Truth”
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Linus Lintner

The exhibits are very various and consistently surprising; they strike a wide range of cadences as well. Most visitors are astounded and speechless at the chutzpah of some curatorial arrangements. But as soon as a group begins to move through the exhibition and to engage with its guide, the speechlessness transforms into eloquence.  continue reading


Question of the Month: “Are there gay Jews?”

Answer: “Date me and find out!”

Post-it on the wall in the exhibition

Question in the exhibition “The Whole Truth”: “Are there gay Jews?” Answer: “Date me and find out!”
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Anina Falasca

Our special exhibition “The Whole Truth… everything you always wanted to know about Jews” is based on 30 questions posed to the Jewish Museum Berlin or its staff over the past few years. In the exhibition, visitors have their own opportunity to ask questions or to leave comments on post-it notes. We answer some of these questions here in our blog. To address the subject of homosexuality and Judaism, we spoke to a gay Jew and had the following exchange:  continue reading


Atheism and a Critique of Religion in a Children’s Book

During the week of October 21 to 27, 2013 the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, in cooperation with Kulturkind e.V., will host readings, workshops, and an open day for the public with the theme “Multifaceted: a book week on diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Employees of various departments have been vigorously reading, discussing, and preparing a selection of books for the occasion. Some of these books will be introduced here over the course of the next few months.
Multifaceted books for children and young adults

In order to be able to recommend books, we had to choose a focus and select appropriate books. It was clear from the start that finding good books about migration and coexistence was important to us. And we also considered the meaning of religion as a topic. Interestingly, everyone in our reading group agreed that we should include books with Islamic themes as well as Jewish ones. At the beginning, we hesitated as to whether to add books about Christianity, but ultimately decided to select narrative children’s and young adult books that represent all three religions. And we hope to be able to recommend a number of them.

It was in this context that I came across the book, Wo bitte geht’s zu Gott?, fragte das kleine Ferkel (Which is the Way to God, Please? Little Piglet Asked) by Michael Schmidt-Salomon with pictures by Helge Nyncke.  continue reading