One Golem to Go, Please!

Golem sculptures made from recycling material

Golems made in our Golem Atelier; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Svenja Kutscher

Hebrew newspapers and colorful cloth remnants are lying on the floor. On the table there are wires, chains, old electrical equipment, cooking pots, used eyeglasses cases, and buttons, just to name a few of the household items spread around. Everything that would otherwise be thrown away gains a whole new meaning at the Golem Atelier.

Aside from everyday objects there are also a lot of natural materials, such as chestnuts, straw, dried leaves, and pine cones, whose scent reminds me of walks in the woods.  continue reading


Between everyday life in prison and Jewish mediation work

“on.tour” in prison

In the foreground various Jewish objects, in the background inmates sitting in a circle on exhibition cubes

Guides discussing exhibition cubes and hands-on material with inmates; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Svea Pietschmann

I had hardly returned from the summer holidays this year when I went straight to “jail!” But don’t worry, my criminal record still has zero entries. Rather, my visit to prison occurred in the context of our so-called “Prison Week.” This was where our mobile education initiative, “on.tour – The JMB tours schools,” visited the juvenile detention centers at Plötzensee and Neustrelitz. These two days gave me the opportunity to gain insight into the young prisoners’ everyday lives. The experiences I had there were incredibly interesting and corrected some ideas I had previously had about correctional facilities.

Cold – grey – dreary: when you think of jail, it’s not the most inviting pictures that come to mind. I was all the more astonished then, when I walked into the juvenile detention center at Neustrelitz.  continue reading

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Challah and Comfortable Shoes: A Year of Civil Service at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Janik Petersdorff in front of the W.M. Blumenthal Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin

Going to work; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Anne Richter

Finally finished with school and no idea what next? Perhaps a year abroad or right to university? Or a traineeship? I was asking myself these questions when I graduated high school. Given my interest in Berlin’s museums and cultural and social work, it made sense to gain experience in these fields during a year of civil service. The Jewish Museum Berlin wasn’t actually my first choice; I applied for and was invited to an interview at the Archäologisches Zentrum (Berlin State Archeology Center), which matched my particular interest in ancient Egyptian history. I was therefore extremely disappointed when I was declined. Additional offers were slow to materialize.  continue reading