Jewish home ground. Here and now.

Now for the  5th time already 14 towns together with the regional Jewish federation are putting on events to mark the “Rhein-Ruhr Festival of Jewish Culture”. From 28.03.-14.04.2019 a schedule of events will also be held once again in Mönchengladbach. Under the motto “Jewish home ground – Here and Now” nine of the city’s independent event organizers are arranging 14 events ranging from video installations to readings and from theatre/dance performances and films to intercultural encounter projects – showing that Jewish life is flourishing here and now!

The New York artist Karl Nussbaum is coming to Mönchengladbach once again for the festival. He is exhibiting two film installations at Schloss Rheydt Museum: “Reunited” is a personal Kaddish (prayer of mourning) in the form of a film dedicated to his family who were murdered in the holocaust – and it will be projected onto a Torah (book of biblical texts) that was rediscovered some years ago. “Phantasmagoria 1945” uses a magic lantern to illuminate a ghost story which Joseph Goebbels (who was born in Rheydt) puts together from historical film archive material and “narrates” to his six children.

At the town library in Rheydt the well-known author, Sabine Bode, will give a reading from her novel “Das Mädchen im Strom” (The River Girl). This examines the lives of a whole generation of young women under Nazi rule. In Mönchengladbach Theatre Adriana Altaras performs excerpts from her tragic-comic book “Die jüdische Souffleuse” (The Jewish Theatre Prompter). The theatre will also stage “The Diary of Anne Frank”.

Film fans also won’t miss out thanks to two evening performances: the film “90 Minuten – bei Abpfiff Frieden” (90 Minutes and Peace at the Final Whistle) which is being shown at the BIS cultural centre deals with a football match between Israel and Palestine. The idea here is that sport should achieve what politics has never managed to do: ending the conflict in the Middle East. The film “Die Schmerzen des Essad Bey” (The Griefs of Essad Bey) is being shown at Haus Zoar – and it examines the boundaries between life, writing and death at a time of war and revolution.

An important part of the Festival of Jewish Culture are scheduled sessions where visitors can learn about day-to-day Jewish culture and get involved in it themselves. These events include an “Introductory Hebrew course” and a “Kosher cookery” workshop as well as guided tours of the synagogue in Albertusstraße or a bus tour to see the city’s present and former Jewish cemeteries which are not otherwise open to the public.

Printed versions of the full programme are available at the event locations and other cultural sites as well as at the city’s public buildings, and also online here. The municipal Cultural Office (Kulturbüro) is the coordination point for handling queries, and it can be contacted by phone: 02161-25 53612 or email: kulturbuero@moenchengladbach.de.

Photo: Nussbaum