Our exhibition entitled The whole truth… everything you always wanted to know about Jews ended more than a year ago. Besides the animated discussions and empty display cases, there are thousands of pink post-it notes left over. Visitors stuck their questions, commentary, and impressions on a concrete wall after they went through the exhibition and left the museum.
A kind of analog “facebook” arose out of these contributions, above and beyond the contents of the exhibition itself. Visitors commented on each others’ notes and raised new questions: on the history of Jews in Germany, on the conflict in the Middle East, on the relationship between Christianity and Judaism, and – again and again – on the subject of circumcision. At this point, the Jewish Museum Berlin had already decided to dedicate not just another blog post to the contentious topic (as part of the series “Question of the month”), but an entire new exhibition.
We recall: in May of 2012 a district court in Cologne handed down a controversial ruling, declaring the ritual circumcision of boys by a doctor to be an infliction of bodily harm according to the criminal code. The court’s decision unleashed a broad public debate: what is religious freedom? Who determines what a child’s wellbeing is? How much disagreement can a secular society tolerate? Who is the “we” and who is the “you”?
In our new exhibition Snip it! Stances on ritual circumcision we take this as our starting point, examining the question of what this ritual means from the perspective of the three monotheistic religions. To do this we are using the classic resources of a cultural-historical exhibition: painting, sculpture, and photographs, together with everyday objects and those associated with this ritual, as well as a whole series of film clips.
In preparation, we also took another look at the post-it notes with questions about circumcision. Starting from 23. October 2014, you can visit the exhibition rooms and learn why circumcision has played such a central role in Jewish tradition. The question of why Prince Charles is circumcised remains, however, unanswered.
Martina Lüdicke, Special Exhibitions
Martina Lüdicke (2014), After the Exhibition is Before the Exhibition. “Snip it!” as Follow-up to the Exhibition “The Whole Truth”.
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Behind the Scenes: Entries on the Exhibition "The Whole Truth" (7)
Entries on the Exhibition "The Whole Truth"
What obstacles had to be overcome to open the exhibition The Whole Truth (2013), how it felt as a Jew to sit in a glass case in the exhibition, how visitors reacted, what further things developed out of the exhibition...
Trials of a Truth Seeker
Michal Friedlander on the countdown before the opening of the exhibition The Whole Truth
Ask the Rabbi
Martina Lüdicke about the shooting of the film installation in the exhibition The Whole Truth
In the Showcase
Olga Mannheimer about her experiences in the exhibition The Whole Truth
From Wagner to the Weather
Signe Rossbach about her two hours as a living exhibition object in the show The Whole Truth
Conversion and Controversy
Naomi Lubrich on the new interest in this topic and on religious loyalty
The Whole Truth: a Continuing Discussion
Guide Marc Wrasse about group discussions in the exhibition
After the Exhibition is Before the Exhibition
Martina Lüdicke on the decision to dedicate a separate exhibition to questions of circumcision
Behind the Scenes: Entries on the Exhibition “Snip it! Stances on Circumcision” (9)
Entries on the Exhibition “Snip it! Stances on Circumcision”
Interviews and stories by our employees, which were published as part of the exhibition Snip it! Stances on Circumcision, you can now read here on our website.
After the Exhibition is Before the Exhibition
Martina Lüdicke on the decision to dedicate a separate exhibition to questions of circumcision raised in the exhibition The Whole Truth
On Belonging and Family Debates
A conversation about a circumcision that didn’t happen
“I didn’t want to ‘get lost’”
Alice Lanzke talked with Rabbi Goldberg about the complaint that he was liable for “dangerous personal injury” due to the circumcisions he performed.
“It was only later that I had my doubts”
Mirjam Wenzel talked with Naomi about her thoughts on ritual circumcision, then and now.
Shlomit Tulgan, who knows David from childhood, tells us the story of his circumcision.
On the Hamster Wheel of Argumentation
Andy Simanowitz, guide in the exhibition Snip it!, reports on stubborn questions and spirals of argumentation.
“Part of something greater”
Alice Lanzke spoke with Amitay and Meital from Israel about the circumcision of their son.
A Circumcision to Keep the (Family) Peace
Alice Lanzke spoke with a Muslim mother about the question: should her four-year-old son be circumcised?
“The best solution would be that the baby is a girl”
Jörg Waßmer prepared the inventory of Fritz Wachsner’s estate and got some insights into an internal Jewish debate about circumcision.