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On 23 August 2020, the Jewish Museum Berlin is opening its new core exhibition. Until then the museum will be closed for renovations.

“Ask the Rabbi”

About the Shooting of the Film Installation in the Exhibition “The Whole Truth”

Martina Lüdicke

Are we allowed to drive a car to synagogue services on Shabbat? If my father is Jewish and my mother is Christian, what am I? Can an uncircumcised man be Jewish?

The exhibition, The Whole Truth… everything you always wanted to know about Jews, deals with common as well as uncommon questions about Judaism. We put some of these questions to seven rabbis and filmed their responses. All of them serve in Germany and represent a wide spectrum of religious belief: orthodox, liberal, conservative, progressive.

Inspired by research done on a number of Internet forums with names like “Ask the Rabbi,” “Askmoses,” and “Dear Rabbi,” in which rabbis from all over the world answer questions on how to handle religious law in everyday life, we organized the shooting of this film at a studio in Berlin-Wedding: with kosher catering, a chair, two cameras, and our seven interview partners.

Collage of portraits of seven rabbis

Seven rabbis (left to right): Joshua Spinner, Irith Shillor, Daniel Katz, Julien-Chaim Soussan, Jonah Sievers, Avichai Apel, Gábor Lengyl; Jewish Museum Berlin, photos: Thomas Valentin Harb

There was much laughter along with answers also to questions that we hadn’t asked. We learned for instance that many rabbis use facebook to connect with and advise their congregants. And that one can go a long way, when hosting guests who eat kosher, with a simple unpeeled banana and a glass of tea.

The film-installation Ask the Rabbi will be shown in its own room as part of the exhibition. You can see it starting tomorrow, 22 March 2013, at the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Martina Lüdicke, Curator of the Exhibition “The Whole Truth”

A chair, a camera and spotlights

Set for shooting the film; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Thomas Valentin Harb