JMB Journal 18:

The world began with light. And light plays a prominent role in Judaism: it symbolizes the distinction between the sacred and the profane, between knowledge and error. The lighting of a flame is an elementary component of many Jewish rituals.

Light is also the element of two installations that you can currently experience at Jewish Museum Berlin: Both the work res·o·nant by Mischa Kuball in the axes of the Libeskind Building and the walk-in installation Ganzfeld “Aural” by internationally renowned light artist James Turrell. It is no coincidence that we have dedicated our new JMB Journal to the topic of light.

Read about the light in the history of creation, in religion and science, in art and architecture; find out how Jewish rituals can be challenging when it comes to purchasing candles - or when one isn’t allowed to ignite light at all.

In this issue, for our photo series Night Shift, we have portrayed those people who work when it gets dark: the guards and the police who protect the museum at night. In addition, we present the large-scale project Object Days, in which Jews from all over Germany tell their migration stories with the help of souvenirs they have brought with them.

With texts by Peter Schäfer, Michal Friedlander, Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, Thomas de Padova, Hans Wilderotter, Julia Voss, Detlev Weitz, Urs Schreiner and Lenka Reinerová and with photos by Stephan Pramme.

You can order this publication by contacting

JMB Publications

Discover three image series on the theme of light

Night Shift

They are the first people that any visitors to the Jewish Museum Berlin encounter: the security guards and the police who protect the building and the people inside. But even after all the visitors have long since the premises, the offices empty and the lights have turned off, they are still there. Night at the museum.

At the Silversmith’s Workshop

Lamps for ritual use were and still are often wrought very ornately. In 2003, the Jewish Museum Berlin commissioned a silversmith in Hanau to make a Hanukkah menorah using a design from over a century ago.

The Lamp in Focus

The search term “lamp” produces over 300 results in our online collection, from Hanukkah candlesticks and advertising stamps from the firm Lüsterhaus Weinschenk & Co. to light fittings from about 1910.

There is a lithography from the nineteenth century, lots of lamps and – the odd one out – the Claire Lampel collection.Claire Lampel collection. More than anything else, though, you can find photographs in which the lamp is not only a source of light but a silent observer – presumably not something intended by the photographer. Oh the stories these lamps could tell!

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