Jerusalem for Cowards

Monday Movies: Film Screening with Discussion (audio recording of the discussion available)

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.

recording available

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

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.

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.”

Trailer, Hebrew with German subtitles

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.

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

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

Audio recording: Discussion with filmmakers Dalia Castel and Orit Nahmias following the screening; Jewish Museum Berlin 2018
Photo: Jerusalem for Cowards, film still (detail); Dalia Castel

Jerusalem for Cowards

With the support of Siemens AG

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.

Jerusalem for Cowards, film still; Dalia Castel

Where, when, what?

  • When19 Feb 2018
  • Where Old Building, level 2, Great Hall
    Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin
    See location on map

Audio Recordings: Listen to Past Museum Events (64)

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