Graphic with garlands and balloons.

Happy Birthday, Academy Programs!

Celebration of the Academy’s 5th Birthday (video recording available, in German)

The Academy’s programs have extended the museum’s offering since 2013. With the Jewish-Islamic Forum and the focus on Migration and Diversity we have created a platform for debates on religious diversity, participation, and coexistence in a plural society at the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy. We celebrated our 5th anniversary together with our audience.

recording available

Map with all buildings that belong to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The W. M. Blumenthal Academy is marked in green


W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
Klaus Mangold Auditorium
Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin
(Opposite the Museum)

Alongside topical sociopolitical discussions with exciting guests on themes such as the relationship between religion and feminism and contemporary Jewish identities, we presented a colorful birthday program: social satire with comedian Fatih Çevikkollu, a concert by the Berlin Oriental Group, and freshly prepared Hanukkah specialties and Arabic street food throughout the day. And the cookie baking and shadow theater playing on the children’s program brought a Chrismukkah mood to mingle with the happy birthday mood.


11 am

Welcoming remarks; introducing the Academy programs

11 am to 6 pm Children’s Program

Getting in the Christmukkah Spirit!

Hanukkah fun and games for visitors of all ages. From baking cookies to performing with shadow puppets, there’s something for everyone:

"Giklech farbrengen" (age 4 and younger)
Here, the youngest kids can enjoy a "giklech farbrengen" (Yiddish for happy get-together). At little kid’s tables and in a pillow corner, they can draw Hanukkah pictures, create drawings of their own, and play with colorful fabrics and other toys.

Hanukkah Shadow Puppetry Workshop (ages 5 to 12)
Using the colorful Turkish "karagöz" technique of shadow puppetry, children can craft figures from the Hanukkah story or from their own imagination then bring their artistry to life on a real karagöz shadow puppet stage.

Christmukkah Bakery (ages 5 to 12)
For Hanukkah, kids make dreidels, candles, and stars of David. Christmas is a time to bake cookies. We combine the two and make Christmukkah cookies using cookie cutters with Jewish shapes. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, they’re bound to be tasty!

Hanukkah Shlemazel Game (ages 6 to 12)
In an exciting Hanukkah game, our figurines use their heads and take their chances to travel through the Judean Desert to Jerusalem, where they use a small bottle of oil to reconsecrate the Temple. But careful! The oil must be kosher.

11.15 am Film and Discussion

The Black Panthers (in Israel) speak

with Sami Shalom Chetrit (director), Iris Hefets (writer and psychoanalyst)
Moderated by: Achim Rohde (historian and Middle East expert)

The Black Panthers are best known as part of the US Civil Rights Movement. This 2003 film portrays another group by the same name in Israel. In the 1970s, Mizrahis – Jews with North African or Middle Eastern heritage – fought discrimination within Israeli society. The screening will be followed by a discussion about the circumstances of Mizrahis in Israel today.

Three children play with a colorful Hanukkah candelabra.

Children playing with wooden Hanukkah lights; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Nadja Rentzsch

12.45 pm Panel Discussion

Young, Emancipated, Religious: Feminism in Judaism and Islam

with Anastassia Pletoukhina (social scientist) and Amani Abuzahra (University College of Teacher Education of Christian Churches Vienna/Krems); moderated by Hafssa El-Bouhamouchi (Academy Programs)

Feminism has many layers. This is evident not only from the history of worldwide women’s movements, but also from the existence of religious feminists who claim the term: women who draw on their religion’s scriptures as they part ways with traditional structures in their communities. As activists, they disprove preconceptions that religious people are somehow repressed or retrograde and show how religion can be practiced with deliberate liberation.

1.45 pm Lunch Break

Food sold à la carte

Cultural diversity can be edible. Get in the Christmukkah spirit with freshly made Hanukkah treats or try out Arab street food, delectable desserts, and warming soups by REFUEAT.

Portrait photos of two women.

Amani Abuzahra and Anastassia Pletoukhina; photos: DarSalma and Jewish Museum Berlin/Stephan Pramme

Two men smile into the camera, a table with food in front of them.

REFUEAT, photo: Jonas Wresch

2.30 pm Discussion and Performance

Archive of Life: Memory in a Society Shaped by Migration

with Léontine Meijer-van Mensch (Program Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin), Yasemin Shooman (Head of Academy Programs), and the participants of the workshop Future Memories: Memory Culture(s) in a Society Shaped by Migration

Who tells history and who silences it? Who is visible and who is hidden? Historical archives house more than just objects from the past to be viewed through glass from a safe distance. This will be very apparent from a performance and a discussion that address the lively, innovative, and sensory cultures of memory in our migration-shaped society.

3 pm


3.30 pm Comedy


With cabaret artist Fatih Çevikkollu

A right turn? Islamification? Hysteria? In his sixth one-man show “FatihMorgana,” the prizewinning comedian Fatih Çevikkollu explores the absurd world of fake news. The famous “star student of integration” in the space between cultures will guide us through the essences and appearances of German society punctuated by his hilarious wordplay. Fatih Çevikkollu, born in 1972, is a trained actor. Back in 2006, his first show “Fatihland” received the jury’s choice award in the Prix Pantheon, the prestigious cabaret competition.

A man grabs his head and grins.

Fatih Çevikkollu, photo: Stefan Mager

4 pm Panel Discussion

Jewish Fathers – Jewish Children?

with Ruth Zeifert (writer), Konstantin Pal (rabbi), and Lea Wohl von Haselberg (film and media scholar); moderated by Alina Gromova (Academy Programs)

“Paternal Jews” are a taboo subject, especially in Germany. On the one hand, Jewish law (Halakha) holds that only children of Jewish mothers are truly Jewish. On the other hand, the subject is avoided so as not to draw a distinction between maternal and paternal Jews. Their contested place in Jewish communities often leads to a sense of exclusion. The panel discussion presents the arguments in this debate and illustrates the consequences for those affected.

5 pm

Ceremonial lighting of the first Hanukkah candles

5.30 pm Panel Discussion

A Pre-Fascist Era?

with Naika Foroutan (Director of BIM, the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research), Mirjam Zadoff (Director of the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism), and Gideon Botsch (Head of the Emil Julius Gumbel Research Center for Antisemitism und Right-Wing Extremism at the Moses Mendelssohn Center, Potsdam); moderated by Yasemin Shooman (Director of Academy Programs)

Given the sharp turn towards the far right in Europe and the United States, some scholars and politicians such as the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright are warning about the potential rise of a new fascism. Are such grim forecasts expressions of misguided alarmism? Or do right-wing populism and extremism actually pose another fundamental threat to our democracy?

6.30 Uhr Reception and Drinks

5 Years – 5 Friends – 5 Gifts

Every good birthday party ought to have gifts. So some of our friends with whom we’ve closely collaborated in the last five years will serenade us for our birthday. Including silly birthday surprises and tasty cake!

8 pm Concert

Berlin Oriental Group

Arabic-Oriental Fusion

Fusing various musical traditions from Israel, Russia, Turkey, and elsewhere, the Berlin Oriental Group perfectly captures the spirit of the Berlin party. The virtuoso violinist, trained at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, started the five-player band in summer 2015. Ever since, it’s been firing up international audiences and filling dance floors.

Konstanin Pal, Ruth Zeifert, and Lea Wohl von Haselberg

Konstantin Pal, Ruth Zeifert, and Lea Wohl von Haselberg, photos: private

A band sits on a stage.

Berlin Oriental Group, photo: Anton Tal

Where, when, what?

  • When2 Dec 2018
  • Where W. M. Blumenthal Academy,
    Klaus Mangold Auditorium
    Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn-Platz 1, 10969 Berlin (Opposite the Museum)
    See location on map

Video Recordings: Watch Past Museum Events (74)

Academy Programs: Past Events for You to Listen To and Watch 2011–2019 (40)

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