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The Whole Truth

... everything you always wanted to know about Jews

An exhibition of the Jewish Museum Berlin in cooperation with the Jewish Museum Hohenems

Trailer for the exhibition

A Rabbi is asked why Jews always answer a question with another question. "Why not?" he replies. The response throws the question back to the asker, provoking him or her to rethink the matter independently. At the same time, refusing to answer the question expresses the belief that there are no right or wrong answers, but a large number of valid responses.

With the exhibition "The Whole Truth," the Jewish Museum Berlin confronts various questions about Judaism and being Jewish: the FAQs, the difficult questions, the funny questions, the clever questions, and the questions that really have no answer.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz during the cleaning of the Western Wall

"What happens to the notes in the Wailing Wall?" - Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz during the cleaning of the Western Wall
© Western Wall Heritage Foundation

Some of them make the questioner uneasy, some are politically incorrect, while others betray something about the person who asks them.

How does someone become a Jew? What am I, if my mother is Christian and my father is Jewish? What is the Jewish take on Jesus and Mohammed? Are the Jews a Chosen People?

With an even-handed and witty touch, we present questions through extraordinary objects and installations taken from religious practice, everyday life and contemporary art.

"How do you recognize a Jew?"
"Ask the Rabbi"
"Jews in a showcase"


22 March 2013 - 1 September 2013


Old Building, first level


with the museum ticket (7 euros, reduced rate 3,50 euros)

Throughout the exhibition, literary and documentary voices speak about Jewish identity today. Visitors will not receive simple or 'right' answers, but will hear a multitude of opinions varying according to the speakers. The exhibition presents 180 objects which offer insight into Jewish thinking and inner-Jewish questions of identity, in particular those that develop in a non-Jewish environment.

"The Whole Truth" picks up on controversial social debates, asks counter questions and sensitizes the viewers to stereotypical images and patterns of thought. And, every once in a while, a question will be answered. For instance, on our blog Blogerim, or here:

Events Accompanying the Exhibition

Accompanying the exhibition, the museum offers a film series on the theme, an evening with three rabbis answering questions, as well as guided tours through the exhibition and a workshop for students and young adults.

30 May 2013, 7.30 pm
How can a Jew go to Heaven? One question, many answers
1 July 2013, 7.30 pm
From Exile in Paradise to Redemption in Hell
1 September 2013, 12 to 4 pm
Ask me, I’m not Jewish
Recommended Movies
Supporters & Media Partners
A forefinger pointing down from heaven

Information on the educational program for students and young adults accompanying the special exhibition "The Whole Truth"

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