Eva Menasse’s Novel Quasikristalle:

The Blog’s Editorial Staff in Discussion (Part II)

Three editors around a table

Meeting of the website editors
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Michael Butschkau

Naomi Lubrich: We recently talked together about Eva Menasse’s novel Quasicrystals but we haven’t decided which of us will write a review of the book for our blog. Personally I would be interested in doing it, and I have something to say not only about the Jewish theme but also about Menasse’s image of women, that I found to be unrealistically and ideationally drawn. Xane is a downright caricature of a “high-powered woman”: a caring mother and stepmother of three children with, to some extent, behavioral problems. And at the same time she’s a leading film artist and influential intellectual. On top of all this she has a harmonious, uncomplicated marriage, and she even gets involved with a number of other men…  continue reading


Quasicrystals

A Talk about Jewish Questions, the Lives of Women, and Expectations of Literature

Book cover QuasikristalleThis blog is edited by three women, all of whom are between their mid-30s and 40. They all studied literature, and try to reconcile to one another their commitment to their profession, their interests, and their private lives. At the center of the latest novel by Eva Menasse, Quasikristalle (2013, ‘Quasicrystals’), is Xane Molin, an at first younger, and then progressively older woman trying to square her career with her wish to be there for her children and to live a good life. In each chapter Quasicrystals takes a different look at her life – and we take different looks at the novel in our discussion here.

Mirjam Bitter: Since in German substantives referring to persons are not gender-neutral, I re-named our blog’s literature series from the masculine “junge jüdische Autoren”, in more gender-neutral German, to “junge jüdische Autorinnen und Autoren,” that is, “young Jewish women and men authors.” In doing that, it occurred to me that, so far, we have only talked about male authors. What do you think about introducing a woman next?

Mirjam Wenzel: I’m reading Quasicrystals at the moment, by Eva Menasse, and I’m curious what you all think about the book.  continue reading


Question of the Month:
“What role do gender themes play?”

“What’s the story with women rabbis? (And prayer at the Western Wall?)”

Post-it note: "What role do gender themes play? What’s the story with women rabbis? (And prayer at the Western Wall?)"

The question of the month in the special exhibition “The Whole Truth”
© 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.

The question about the roles of men and women in Judaism is interesting because traditional notions about these roles have changed dramatically over the course of the last century. As in every religion, there are also many opinions about this issue among Jews. These correspond with the tendencies of orthodox, conservative, or liberal currents in Judaism, which – while they grapple with the same questions – come to quite different conclusions.  continue reading