Skip to main content
Detail from an oil painting: portrait of Moses Mendelssohn in half profile, the eyes are directed at the viewer, the left eye is highlighted by a red frame

“We dreamed of nothing but Enlightenment”

Moses Mendelssohn – Exhibition

Immigrant, Enlightenment philosopher, and self-made intellectual: in his time, Moses Mendelssohn was already a European celebrity and he remains a central figure in German Judaism to this day.

The exhibition tells of Mendelssohn’s life in Berlin and shows him as a figure who integrated polarizing forces in the midst of historical upheaval and awakening.

14 Apr to 11 Sep 2022

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The Old Building is marked in green

Where

Old Building, level 1
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

With his Christian and Jewish friends, Moses Mendelssohn discussed philosophical and political questions. As an author he challenged his audience to think critically. As an observant Jew, he linked tradition with Enlightenment ideas, and championed secular education and civil equality for his “Jewish nation.” His translation of the Torah made religious knowledge accessible to all.

The exhibition presents the era of the Enlightenment as a laboratory for radical change, in which human rights, freedom of opinion, and the diversity of individual ways of life were articulated and demanded. With his arguments for the emancipation of Jews, rights for minorities, and the separation of religion and the state, Mendelssohn opened paths into modernity—and provoked questions about Jewish identity that persist to this day.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Federal President of Germany, spoke at the opening festivities.

Oil painting: portrait of Moses Mendelssohn depicted in half profile in a painted oval frame, eyes are directed to the viewers.

Johann Christoph Frisch, Portrait of Moses Mendelssohn, Berlin 1783; Jewish Museum Berlin, accession 2013/355/0, photo: Roman März. Further information on this painting can be found in our online collections (in German).

Accomanying Program

Moderated by Frederek Musall and with a rotating cast of panelists, the Mendelssohn Discourses take Moses Mendelssohn’s writings as a point of departure for discussions of contemporary issues and debates. Each of the three discussion events is devoted to a thematic area: Enlightenment: Fake News, Sentimentality, Reason; Power: Tradition, State, Religion; Media Revolution: The Public Sphere, Celebrity, and the Proliferation of Imagery.

An exhibition of the Jewish Museum Berlin in cooperation with the Mendelssohn Society, Berlin.

Events Pro­gram by the Mendels­sohn-Gesell­schaft

In addi­tion to the Jewish Mu­seum Berlin's pro­grams, the Mendels­sohn-Gesell­schaft is orga­nizing events accom­panying the exhi­bition. More infor­mation and regis­tration here

With the support of

LOTTO-Stiftung Berlin (Logo)

Exhibition Information at a Glance

  • When

    14 Apr to 11 Sep 2022

  • Entry fee

    8 €, reduced rate 3 €, children and young people under the age of 18 can enter free of charge. You can find more information on our price list.
    Ticket shop

  • Where

    Old Building, level 1
    Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
    See Location on Map

Share, Newsletter, Feedback

Events accompanying the exhibition: “We dreamed of nothing but Enlightenment” – Moses Mendelssohn (10)