Jewish Life Today
The Rafael Roth Learning Center presents Jewish life in Germany, past and present. In "Faces," Jews speak about their lives today and their attitudes towards religion and society, home and family, which differ as greatly as their lifestyles, their backgrounds and their ages.
Each series treats a specific theme. The first series, "What does kosher mean to you?" takes the Jewish dietary laws as a point of departure, from which to talk about rituals and traditions, family and friends, discrimination and exclusion. The interviewees discuss the liberty involved in abstinence, the allure of forbidden foods, as well as organic products and vegetarianism.
Members of one Berlin-based family speak about celebrating Shabbat and about the difficulties they face, weekly, in finding kosher meat. We explain why Jewish custom separates milk and meat, and how to prepare gefilte fish. Having to rediscover Jewish traditions after 1989 is a subject for Jews from the former GDR and Eastern Europe. Others, by contrast, find themselves estranged by these traditions.
One question reappears as an underlying concern throughout: How can Jews in a non-Jewish environment live according to their tradition, not to mention develop their religious-cultural identity? Hillel pointed out: "The rules are like a suggestion… They are a frame for us to play with."
The interviews document the diversity of Jewish life today. They suit the interactive and non-linear Korsakow-system developed by the Berlin-based artist and multi-media filmmaker Florian Thalhofer. A first selection of interviews were presented as a part of the exhibition "kosher & co" in autumn 2009.
Not all of those interviewed agreed to show their films online. We respect their request for privacy. As a result, we chose to show “What does kosher mean to you” in the Rafael Roth Learning Center only. Come and visit us!