8 February 2014

Location: Kunsthaus


Echt jüdisch, irgendwie jüdisch, anders jüdisch: Diskussion um jüdische Selbstverständnisse jenseits von Definitionen

At the beginning of the event, Liron Dinovitz and Martina Lebert present excerpts of their Web performance The night when Faust went kosher, shown on the night of February 3 to 4 at Kunsthaus Dresden (it can still be viewed in the archive at www.kunsthausdresden.de/faustwentkosher). A Jewish turtle and a contemporary Faust test themselves. Faust is on a mission, trying to answer the most difficult of all questions: What is Judaism? It has one night to study 3,000 years of history and culture. The Jewish turtle is skeptical. It is not interested. It knows the answer. It is convinced that only a real Jew can know what it means to be a Jew.

Afterwards, the writer Vladimir Vertlib (Vienna) and the fine artist Claire Waffel (Berlin) discuss Jewish self-understanding beyond traditional definitions. Both address unclear, seemingly contradictory senses of belonging and self-images in their works; their biographies are connected by different approaches to Judaism. Moderation: Lea Wohl von Haselberg.

Jewish is someone who is the child of a Jewish mother or who has converted. That is the simple definition of Jewish religious law. From the perspective of non-Jewish, German society, Jews often appear foreign or different. It is obvious that clear definitions and attributions from the outside often do not correspond with the self-understanding of people who grasp themselves as Jewish due to their descent or religious convictions. And such ambiguous affiliations and self-conceptions are by far not seldom: In Germany, around 50% of the Jews live with a non-Jewish partner. Not only, but mainly when there are children in these relationships, ‘mixed’ identities arise that question unambiguous affiliations as well as conversions, for example, that do not lead to a new, ‘unambiguous’ religious affiliation, but one that is simultaneously shaped by another cultural or possibly religious socialization.