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"Snip It! Stances on Ritual Circumcision"

Invitation to the Press Conference on October 23

Press Release, Fri 10 Oct 2014

"Snip It!" (24 October 2014 to 1 March 2015) takes a careful look at the diversity of stances on the ritual circumcision of boys. Incisive in every sense of the term, the exhibition explores ritual circumcision as such, but also reflects a sense among many Jews and Muslims that they and their religious traditions are not welcome in Germany. Against this backdrop, the Jewish Museum Berlin examines the little-known religious, cultural, and historical contexts of a ritual that goes back thousands of years, addressing circumcision in Judaism and Islam and its reception in the Christian world.

Starting from the Jewish concept of the Abrahamic covenant, which is sealed with a bodily sign, "Snip it!" illuminates circumcision from the perspective of the three monotheistic religions: from its roots in the ancient Orient, via the circumcision of Christ, right up to elements of popular culture with US television series.


Press office
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Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation
Lindenstraße 9–14
10969 Berlin

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


Old Building, level 1, Education Room
Lindenstraße 9–14, 10969 Berlin

The Jewish Museum Berlin’s exhibition was prompted by a fierce controversy that arose in May 2012, when a regional court in Cologne declared the ritual circumcision of boys to be a "bodily injury." In the discussions that ensued, labeled the "circumcision debate," the right to the free practice of religion was confronted with the child’s right to physical integrity.

The exhibition does not enter into this debate, nor does it pursue it further. Instead, more than sixty objects and artworks from international collections provide insights into the context of the ritual. The exhibition does not shy away from documenting both Antisemitic and Islamophobic stances. It confronts visitors with the Western, "enlightened" view of Europeans onto societies that practice circumcision.

The exhibition begins with the large-scale installation "On the Knife’s Edge," featuring sculptures from different epochs and regions on the theme of the body and how it is shaped by culture. In the "Echo Chamber" at the end of the exhibition, film clips comment on this controversial topic—sometimes seriously, sometimes ironically. The clips include footage of the German Federal Parliament debate on the circumcision of male minors; documentaries; feature films; and contemporary TV series from Germany and the United States.

We are happy to offer you a preview of the exhibition, and cordially invite you to our press conference:

Press Conference 23 October 2014
Accreditation from 10.30 am
Start 11 am
Where Old Building, first level, Education Room

Please allow sufficient time for the security checks at the entrance.

Participants in the press conference:
Cilly Kugelmann, Program Director of the Jewish Museum Berlin
Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, guest curator
Martina Lüdicke, curator, Jewish Museum Berlin
Harley Swedler, creator of the specially commissioned artwork Personalausweis

Other experts will also be at the press conference to answer questions on ritual circumcision and its reception.

Exhibition dates 24 October 2014 to 1 March 2015
Where Old Building, first level
Admission With the museum ticket (8 euros, reduced 3 euros)

Accompanying program: once a month the museum invites you to the "Monday Movies."
Among other scheduled events, a study on the circumcision debate will be presented as part of the Jewish-Islamic Forum on December 4.

You can find further information on the exhibition at the website:

The catalog, Haut ab! Haltungen zur rituellen Beschneidung, is published by Wallstein Verlag (176 pages, 75 illustrations, 24.90 euros).

Wall AG

Media partners:
Yorck Kinogruppe
zitty BERLIN
taz.die tageszeitung

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