Press Invitation, 20 April 2016

Press Release, 20 April 2016

We herewith invite you cordially to the cultural program at the Jewish Museum Berlin in May 2016.

26 February – 31 July
Special Exhibition

No Compromises! The Art of Boris Lurie

The Jewish Museum Berlin is dedicating a major retrospective show to Boris Lurie and his radical artistic examination of the 20th century. Lurie is an artist who demanded political relevance from art and the art market. His much-discussed and controversial works accuse society of shirking coming to terms with its crimes against humanity by packing evidence of them between advertising and everyday banalities. His collages confront the viewer with the experience of persecution and prison camp in the Nazi era, provoking "horror and fascination" (Volkhard Knigge). For Lurie’s work reveals disgust toward a humanity that proved itself capable of exiling and murdering millions as well as revulsion against a self-satisfied art market more interested in financial profit than in artistic expression. His drawings, however, strike a different tone. In "War Series" of 1946, Lurie created an initial inventory of his own experience of persecution and camp imprisonment during the Nazi regime while his "Dancehall Series" of the 1950s and 60s depicts poetic images of his time.
Location: Old Building, first level
Opening Hours: Mon 10 am - 10 pm, Tue - Sun 10 am - 8 pm
Admission: with the museum ticket (8 euros, reduced 3 euros)

Katharina Schmidt-Narischkin
Senior Press Officer
+49 (0)30 259 93 419
+49 (0)30 259 93 400

Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

8 – 12 May
Jewish-Moroccan Film Week | Academy Programs

My Heart in the Maghreb

Morocco was once home to the largest Jewish community in any Arab country. In the mid-20th century more than 250,000 Jews resided there, but between the 1950s and 1970s the majority of them left for Israel, Europe, and North America. Today, about 2500 Jews are still living in Morocco, most of them in Casablanca. For the last twenty years there has been a growing interest in Moroccan Judaism. Young Muslim Moroccans are rediscovering the Jewish heritage in their country, and the descendants of Jewish Moroccan emigrants are retracing the histories of their parents and grandparents and exploring the traditions, narratives, and music of this long ignored culture. The film week "My heart in the Maghreb" presents a variety of perspectives on Moroccan Judaism, with feature and documentary films from France, Canada, Israel, and especially from Morocco itself, most of these films being shown in Germany for the first time. All the films will be shown in the original language with English subtitles, and following the screenings the film directors will be present to answer questions in English. The film week will be accompanied by an introductory historical talk and a closing panel on the culture of memory and Jewish life in Morocco today (both in English). The week will be opened with a concert by the Jewish singer Neta Elkayam, who discovered her own roots in traditional Arab melodies and carries on this Moroccan Jewish cultural heritage with her own original songs. The film week marks the beginning of a new thematic focus entitled "Jews in Islamic Countries" of the Jewish-Islamic Forum of the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy. A cooperation with the "Association des Amis du Musée du Judaïsme Marocain," Casablanca
Language: English (panels, discussions), the films are in the original version with English subtitles
Location: W. Michael Blumenthal Academy, Hall (except for the concert)
Admission: free (Except for the concert: 10 euros, reduced rate 7 euros)


8 May, 3 pm

Introductory Talk with Daniel J. Schroeter, Professor of Jewish History, University of Minnesota
Jews among Muslims: The Transformation of the Jewish Communities of Morocco in the Modern Era
Jews have lived in the area referred to today as Morocco at least since Roman times – that is, since before the arrival of Arabs and Islam. This talk will give a historical overview of the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Morocco. The focus of the talk will be the diverse transformation processes which the Jewish communities went through in modern times, having been impacted by European influences, colonialism, Arab nationalism, Zionism, as well as mass emigration in the second half of the 20th century.

8 May, 4.30 pm

Film | Q & A with director Kamal Hachkar after the screening
Tinghir-Jerusalem. Echoes from the Mellah
"Tinghir-Jérusalem. Les échos du Mellah" | Director: Kamal Hachkar | Documentary, France 2012, 87 minutes | French, Tamazight, Arabic and Hebrew with English subtitles
Filmmaker Kamal Hachkar was born in the Moroccan town Tinghir and grew up in France. Not until later in life did he discover that his place of birth was home to a large Jewish community until the 1960s. In order to trace the forgotten history of Jews in Tinghir, Hachkar travelled to Morocco and Israel. Interviews with historians, with the people involved at the time and with their descendants bring the shared past of Tinghir’s Jews and Muslims to life as people who were connected by a common language and identity as Imazighen (Berbers).

8 May, 7 pm

Neta Elkayam: Howa Jani
The Israeli singer Neta Elkayam comes from a Moroccan-Jewish family. Named after one of her songs, her musical project "Howa Jani" combines elements of traditional Arab and North African music with classical Andalusian sounds and further contributes with new compositions to the culture of Moroccan Jewry. Sung in Arabic, Neta Elkayam's songs build bridges between Moroccan Jews and Muslims, between North Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Location: Glass Courtyard
Admission: 10 euros, reduced rate 7 euros

9 May, 6 pm

Film | After the screening of "White Walls" and "Come Mother", filmmaker Meital Abekassis and artist and historian Yigal Nizri will be present for a discussion on the Moroccan community in Israel
White Walls
»Kirot Levanim« | Director: Meital Abekassis | Feature film, Israel 2005, 53 minutes | Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
It is two weeks before the young Israeli photographer Shachar presents her first solo exhibition. The death of her grandmother motivates her to reconnect to her family and their North-African background. Between family and career, roots and estrangement, tradition and modernity, she discovers her identity as a Moroccan-Israeli woman.

9 May, 7 pm

Film | After the screening of "White Walls" and "Come Mother", filmmaker Meital Abekassis and artist and historian Yigal Nizri will be present for a discussion on the Moroccan community in Israel
Come Mother
»Azhi Ayima« | Director: Sami Shalom Chetrit | Documentary, Israel 2009, 79 minutes | Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Director Sami Shalom Chetrit takes his mother on a trip through Israel in order to find her old classmates from primary school in the Moroccan village Gurama. Their memories bring back the Morocco of their childhood, but also the difficulties of starting a new life in Israel. A heartwarming portrait of the first generation of Moroccan women in Israel.

10 May, 4 pm

Film| Q & A with director Mohammed Ismaïl after the screening
Goodbye Mothers
"Adieu mères" | Director: Mohamed Ismaïl | Feature film, Morocco 2007, 115 minutes | Arabic and French with English subtitles
Casablanca 1960. The Jewish community is suffering under the economic crisis and sees itself increasingly confronted with attacks. The film shows several families that must decide if they will stay in Morocco or give in to Zionists envoys’ appeals to emigrate to the young state of Israel. This drama is based on the historic event of the tragic sinking of the ship Egoz in the year 1961, drowning 44 Jewish emigrants on their way from Morocco to Israel.

10 May, 6.30 pm

Film| Q & A with director Younes Laghrari after the screening
Moroccan Jews. Destinies Undone
"Marocains Juifs. Des destins contrariés" | Director: Younes Laghrari | Documentary, Morocco 2014, 59 minutes | English, French and Arabic with English subtitles
Although both Jews and Muslims from Morocco emphasize that the relationship between them had been very good, most Jews left Morocco after its independence in 1956. The Moroccan filmmaker Younes Laghrari is at first unable to find a satisfying answer to the question of what led to this mass emigration. Was it the religious yearning for Jerusalem, the economic crisis, or the promises of Zionist envoys? What were the roles of the conflict in the Middle East, Arab nationalism, and Moroccan politics toward Israel? The director decides to ask historians, witnesses and emigrants.

10 May, 8 pm

Film| Q & A with director Hassan Benjelloun after the screening
Where are you going, Moshe?
"Où vas-tu, Moshé?" | Director: Hassan Benjelloun | Feature film, Morocco 2007, 90 minutes | Arabic with English subtitles
Mustapha runs a bar in a small Moroccan town. The local authorities want to close down his bar, because for religious reasons they oppose the serving of alcohol. However, as long as there are still Non-Muslims in the city, the bar must be allowed to remain open. As the city’s Jews emigrate to Israel, Mustapha and his friends struggle to keep at least one Jew in their city. A funny comedy about the emigration of Jews from Morocco and the reaction of their Muslim neighbors.

11 May, 5 pm

Film| Q & A with director Driss Mrini after the screening
Director: Driss Mrini | Feature film, Morocco 2015, 94 minutes | French and Arabic with English subtitles
Aïda, a Jewish musicologist in Paris, is terminally ill and returns to Morocco, the country where she was born, to explore her roots. There she not only rediscovers her childhood memories, but also her will to live, because her Moroccan homeland reveals a big surprise for her. Morocco submitted this drama film to the Academy Awards for an Oscar in the category "Best Foreign Language Film".

11 May, 7.15 pm

Film| Q & A with director Jérôme Cohen Olivar after the screening
The Midnight Orchestra
"L’orchestre de minuit" | Director: Jérôme Cohen Olivar | Feature film, Morocco 2015, 114 minutes | French and Arabic with English subtitles
Michael, the son of a formerly famous Jewish musician, returns after many years to his homeland Morocco, in order to meet with his father. When his father unexpectedly passes away, the son sees it as his duty to revive his father’s past orchestra so that they may play at his funeral. This comedy tells the story of a search for identity and one’s personal and cultural heritage.

12 May, 5 pm

Film| Q & A with Izza Génini after the screening
Oulad Moumen
"Retrouver Oulad Moumen" | Director: Izza Génini | Documentary, France 1994, 48 minutes | French with English subtitles
In 1910 the Jewish-Moroccan family Edery settled in the Moroccan village of Oulad Moumen. Izza Génini’s film documents the history of her family in the 20th century, a history characterized by upward mobility and emigration. The family, which emigrated first within Morocco and then to Europe and North America, became dispersed throughout the world. The children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren return for a family reunion to Oulad Moumen and take this opportunity to explore their Moroccan roots. A personal and yet universal family history, which was one of the first films to address the history of Moroccan Jews.

12 May, 6.30 pm

Film| Q & A with director Kathy Wazana after the screening
They were Promised the Sea. Arab Jews between Homeland and Promised Land
"Pour une Nouvelle Séville. Juifs Arabes entre terre ancestrale et Terre Promise" | Director: Kathy Wazana | Documentary, Canada 2013, 72 minutes | French, English, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles
Filmmaker Kathy Wazana left her place of birth Casablanca in the 1960s at the age of ten. Like many Jews at the time, her parents believed that they were no longer safe in Morocco. Kathy Wazana took off for a cinematic journey through Morocco, Israel, and New York to meet other activists like her, who are torn between different identities, between a homeland and a promised land. In the end, Shira Ohayon from the Andalusian Orchestra Jerusalem accompanies her on a trip to Morocco, where they are greeted with a "welcome home".

12 May, 8.30 pm

Closing Panel
Cultures of Memory and Moroccan Judaism today
The film week will close with a panel, discussing central questions provoked by the films: How do Moroccan Jews who live outside of Morocco today remember the time in Morocco? How do Moroccan Muslims remember their past Jewish neighbors and friends? Have there been changes in the culture of memory between the first, second, and third generations? How is the mass emigration of Jews from Morocco in the 1950s and 1970s perceived? And what is the situation of Jews who still live in Morocco today?
Panelists: Mohamed Elmedlaoui (Université Mohammed V – Souissi, Rabat), Iris Hefets (psychotherapist and author, Berlin), Jean Lévy (Association des Amis du Musée du Judaïsme Marocain Casablanca /Berlin), Emanuela Trevisan Semi (Università Ca‘ Foscari, Venice) Chair: Sophie Wagenhofer (historian)

19 May
Reading with the Author (German language)

Helga Krohn: Bruno Asch

Bruno Asch was a prominent local politician in Frankfurt and Berlin, well respected as a "financial genius" in the difficult years after the First World War and the economic crisis, a socialist and a consciously non-religious Jew, born of humanity and spirit. The Nazis dismissed him as treasurer in Berlin in 1933. He fled to Amsterdam, where he took his own life after the Nazi invasion in 1940. Helga Krohn has retraced his eventful life on the basis of letters, diary entries, and photos.
Location: Old Building, ground level, Auditorium
Time: 7 pm
Admission: free

30 May
Program accompanying the special exhibition "No Compromises! The Art of Boris Lurie" (German language)

The Holocaust and the Problem of Visual Representation | Talk by Peter Weibel

In the aftermath of World War II, artists saw the world filled with states of affairs and experiences of loss in such a way that made it seem impossible to reach people through conventional art representation. Shaped by the years of the Holocaust, Boris Lurie followed an uncompromising aesthetic program in his collages and artistic statements in order for the key failings of the twentieth century to be visually experienced. Peter Weibel (ZKM Karlsruhe), artist and exhibition curator, will speak about Boris Lurie and visual representation of the Holocaust.
Location: Old Building, second level, Great Hall
Time: 7.30 pm
Admission: free

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