Jerusalem for All the Senses

A tour for the blind and vision impaired through the exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Tactile model offering an overview of all rooms of the exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem

This tactile model gives an overview of all rooms of the exhibition and explains the way through the exhibition. This tactile model was created by Jonas Hauer like the other models shown in this blog post; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Birgit Maurer-Porat

A “museum for everyone,” that is, accessible—that’s what we want to be and to become. The path to this goal is long and sometimes difficult, and it’s not always easy to determine the right direction. New approaches have to be developed, tested, and sometimes rejected. In addition, a wide variety of factors can make access difficult or even impossible for an individual. Sometimes language represents a barrier, sometimes architecture, sometimes the way things are presented, sometimes the topic or perspective, just to name a few.

This makes feedback from our visitors all the more important to us. Their criticism helps us to improve our existing offerings and to make them more accessible. Their praise motivates us to continue on the right path, even against the resistance that we sometimes unfortunately encounter. For this reason, among others, we were very pleased to receive permission to republish the following piece by Gerald Pirner, who was able to open new perspectives for many onto the exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem

After the entry checkpoint comes the light well. It’s not just the seeing who experience light: an expanse opens acoustically, as if you were stepping out into the open, and yet remained in a closed space.  continue reading


“Whatever you want to see – you come to Jerusalem, and you can find it there.”

Comments from Visitors to our Jerusalem Exhibition

Postcard on which is written "Make hummus not war"

Visitors can leave a comment, greeting, or anything else that fits on a post card on a wall titled “Next year in Jerusalem” at the end of the exhibition; Jewish Museum Berlin.

I’m standing in the hallway at the end of the current exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem (learn more at our website), talking to visitors at random if they seem open to a brief conversation about the exhibition.

Was today your first visit to Jerusalem?

Elke (around 50 years old) from Berlin was in Jerusalem in 2000, and some of the things in the exhibition resonated for her. Norbert (69) from Bremen had never been there, but the exhibition made him want to see “this tremendous mish-mash of religions and peoples.”

To Marianna and Marta from Italy, who were just “in the city” for the first time, Jerusalem seemed above all else old, international, and rich in history. Lorenza (54) also from Italy, thought the video installations in the exhibition were particularly interesting because they show modern Jerusalem, which is nonetheless full of tradition. None of the three would wager a real trip to Jerusalem right now because of the political situation.

The Israelis Malka (58) and Shani (27) live near Tel Aviv but are very familiar with Jerusalem. Jonny (27) and Nora (24) even got married there.

Does the exhibition reflect the image of Jerusalem as you know it?

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How about more tolerance for ambiguity?

An interview with Mohamed Ibrahim and Shemi Shabat about their tandem guided tour Jerusalem in Dialogue

Since April 2018, we’ve offered a tandem guided tour called Jerusalem in Dialogue (more about the tour) through our current temporary exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem (more about the exhibition). On each tour, two guides with their own personal relationships to Jerusalem speak from different perspectives about the city and the exhibition, which runs until 30 April 2019.

The format of a tandem tour emerged from a museum-guide training session (more about the training) that we conducted together with the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW), a university of applied sciences. The German-Palestinian Mohamed Ibrahim and the Israeli Shemi Shabat contributed to its development and now oversee it together.

Portrait photo of two men in frontal view. They are smiling and wear suits, but no ties.

Mohamed Ibrahim and Shemi Shabat at the Flechtheim Prize ceremony of the Humanist Association of Germany (Humanistischen Verbands Deutschland) and the Humanist Foundation (Humanismus Stiftung); Humanistischer Verband Berlin-Brandenburg KdöR

 

Andy Simanowitz spoke to the two about the training, the concept of the tandem tour, and their relationship to Jerusalem.

Andy Simanowitz: To begin with, could you introduce yourselves and your work a bit?

Shemi Shabat: I’m Shemi. I was born and raised in Tel Aviv and I came to Berlin 11 years ago. At that time, a colleague asked me what I would think of developing workshops on the Palestine/Israel Middle-East conflict together with a Palestinian. At this point, we’ve been doing it for 10 years, going together to schools as a German-Palestinian and an Israeli to talk with students about the Middle East conflict. It’s now my second source of income; I’m also a consultant for the antidiscrimination network of the Turkish Federation in Berlin-Brandenburg.

Mohamed Ibrahim: I’m Mohamed, a German-Palestinian who has been living in Berlin for over 40 years. I was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon and I grew up in West Berlin. I studied politics here with a focus on international relations. My regional focus was the MENA region and the Middle-East conflict. My main occupation is development work at a federal implementing organization. As Shemi said, I’ve been doing these trainings with him for over 10 years.

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