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


When a Certificate Was Not Only a Piece of Paper

– How Jewish Memory Objects Preserve Chinese History

One of the elegantly designed Chinese marriage certificates described later on in the text

Chinese marriage certificate for Irma Bielschowsky (1902–2000) and Albert Elias Less (1887–1952), 1944; Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Gert and Brigitte Stroetzel

I recently shared my view on several objects from Shanghai in the museum’s collection on this blog. Now, I want to draw your attention to a few marriage certificates that caught my eye not just because of their elegant design and well-preserved condition after more than 70 years, but also because I was amazed how Chinese cultural elements had entered and influenced the life of Jews who fled the Nazi rule, even though the Jews largely maintained their own cultural and educational activities in Shanghai with newspapers, Jewish schools, concerts, sport activities, theaters (e.g. Delila, Nathan der Weise, etc.), and parties (e.g. a not so sober celebration of Purim).  continue reading


A People- and Animal-Friendly Summer at the Museum

Friendly Smiles Start at the Coat Check

Red rubber bouncy animals that resemble horses on a gray shelf behind empty wheeled containers

Friendly coat-check dwellers; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Johannes Rinke

Our colleague Johannes Rinke in Visitor Services just sent us this funny snapshot taken in the Jewish Museum Berlin group coat check. When we asked, filled with curiosity, what the friendly creatures were doing there, we learned that these rubber animals are available for children to play with during the Cultural Summer events in the garden.

“For many years, here at the museum we only had one sorry example of this species, and it had to fritter away most of the year alone in the dark basement, until it could be enthusiastically grabbed at by hundreds of children’s hands at the Cultural Summer events,” explained Carolin Kiel in our Events department.  continue reading