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Jerusalem for Cowards

Monday Movies: Film Screening with Discussion (with Audio Recording of the Discussion)

Two women about to cover their hair with a headscarf. In the background you can see Jerusalem and the writing “Jerusalem for corwards”.

Film still; Dalia Castel

The documentary by the friends Dalia Castel and Orit Nahmias, in which they carefully approach their hometown Jerusalem, is tragicomical and deeply personal.

The filmmakers are among the estimated 25,000 Israelis who have moved to Berlin in recent years. They say when describing their reasons for leaving Jerusalem:

"When we were young and lived in Jerusalem, people tried to intimidate us. They said that in 20-30 years only orthodox Jews and Arabs will remain in the city. They counted on us to save the city, fight for its secular, modern character. They thought we would transform it into the cosmopolitan city it was meant to be.

Past event

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


Old Building, level 2, Great Hall
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

It didn't work. Instead, the intimidation became a self-fulfilling prophecy. We were so scared that there wouldn't be a place for us in the city that we left. We became a whole generation of young, secular Jerusalemites who left the city. A generation for whom nothing is sacred,who is not willing to fight for anything. A generation of cowards."

But their childhood city won’t let go of them. They return for the film, to renegotiate their relationship with their homeland – they visit places that they had turned their backs on and places they have loved. They join tourist groups, go to the football stadium, talk to street vendors and to Orthodox Jews. The tense relationship between secular and (ultra) religious Jewish forces intensifies when they revisit Dalia's parents home, which could hardly feel more alien – it is now a Yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish school.

In a Jerusalem residential neighborhood, a young man with payes looks into the camera with a curiously surprised expression.

Film still; Dalia Castel

Trailer (Hebrew with German subtitles)

The film was followed by a discussion with the filmmakers about what makes Jerusalem so unique – yesterday and today.

A group of people are standing in the Old City of Jerusalem looking at a dove in the sky. On the right side of the picture you can see the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock.

Film still; Dalia Castel

Audio recording: Discussion with filmmakers Dalia Castel and Orit Nahmias following the screening of Jerusalem for Cowards; 19 February 2018, Jewish Museum Berlin 2018

With the support of Siemens AG

Where, when, what?

  • Entry fee

    Free of charge

  • Tickets This event is fully booked. There may be some tickets available on the evening.

    Please noteA brief tour of the exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem will be held for Monday Movie visitors at 6 pm.
    Please gather at the Meeting Point in the Old Building; admission with the museum ticket.

    For journalists Phone: +49 (0)30 25 993 419

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Events Accompanying the Exhibition: Welcome to Jerusalem (17)

Audio Recordings: Listen to Past Museum Events (64)