“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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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


Confident Women in Veils

The Italian Writer Elena Loewenthal Reflects on Strong Jewish Women in the Torah

The current exhibition Cherchez la Femme, which explores religious dress codes for women from women’s perspectives, remains on display until 27 August (more about the exhibition on our website). When I first found out the exhibition’s theme, I immediately thought of the novel Attese (2004) by the Italian author Elena Loewenthal. (The title means either “expectations” or “times of waiting.”) In four extended sections, the novel tells the stories of different Jewish female characters throughout the ages. But the novel’s real main character is a mysterious veil that follows the protagonists from Biblical times to modern-day Venice.

two white head coverings for women displayed in the exhibition

Veils in the exhibition Cherchez la femme; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Mirjam Bitter

We can read the veil as a metaphorical vessel of Jewish memory that women have guarded and passed on, a vessel that embodies recollection and forgetting, tradition and renewal. Indeed, the reasons each woman in the novel dons the veil are not only cultural (such as marking mourning) but personal: each of them reshapes it, sews in her own threads, or at least cultivates an idiosyncratic relationship with the garment she inherited.  continue reading