Opening of the exhibition Sex: Jewish Positions at the JMB

Press Release

Press Release, Thu 16 May 2024

On 17 May 2024, the exhibition Sex: Jewish Positions will open at the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB). Through objects drawn from two thousand years of history, the show presents Jewish debates about sexuality and questions that have been discussed within Judaism for many centuries. What is the role of sexuality in Jewish life and thinking? What positions are found in traditional texts and modern writings, what attitudes to LGBTQ+ people? How do the lives of Orthodox Jewish women and men differ from those of their liberal counterparts when it comes to sex? The JMB’s exhibition invites visitors to explore these questions – and more.

Kontakt

Dr. Margret Karsch
Press Officer
T +49 (0)30 259 93 419
presse@jmberlin.de

Address

Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

Hetty Berg, Director of the JMB, explains: “Sexuality is a universal theme – and we illuminate the crucial significance of sexuality in Judaism. We want to offer a diversity of possible reference points: for different generations and independently of individual life experiences and backgrounds.” But visitors to the exhibition will not find a unified picture of sexuality in Judaism, warns Hetty Berg: “The exhibition reveals the multiplicity of Jewish attitudes to sexuality. Through this approach, the JMB challenges widespread clichés about Jewish life context.”

Judaism rarely speaks with a single voice on any issue, and opinions on sexuality are no exception. Talmudic scholars and contemporary artists, medieval philosophers and modern sex therapists, mystical thinkers and TikTok influencers – all champion different views of sexuality, and all have their voices heard in this exhibition.

The exhibition’s curator, Miriam Goldmann, sets out the spectrum of themes: “Marriage and procreation play a central role, as does sexual desire and the possibility – from a present-day perspective – of controlling it. The exhibits question social norms, indicate sexual taboos, and suggest what sexuality can mean for each individual’s identity. We also illustrate the eroticism that is inherent to spirituality, using examples from ritual, art, and literature. The exhibition opens up a panorama of different Jewish attitudes and shows how present-day Jewish positions on sexuality relate to traditional debates.”

Exhibits from the JMB’s own collection and loans from public and private collections in Europe, Israel, and North America bring to life the heterogeneity of these standpoints. Visitors will see sculptures, rabbinic writings, films, photographs, TikTok videos, ritual objects, and poems. The artists exhibited include Judy Chicago, R. B. Kitaj, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Lee Lozano, Boris Lurie, Stéphane Mandelbaum, Benyamin Reich, and Yona Wallach.

Exhibition dates 17 May–6 October 2024
Location Jewish Museum Berlin, Old Building, Level 1
Admission 10 € (reduced rate 4 €)

The exhibition is presented in cooperation with the Jewish Museum Amsterdam. A catalog is published by Hirmer Verlag in a German and an English version.

For the latest information on the exhibition, visit:

www.jmberlin.de/en/sex

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