The Israeli Diaspora of Berlin 

In Cooperation with the Hebrew University Jerusalem

 April 30 – May 5, 2023 Katholische Akademie Berlin 

Photo: Frédéric Brenner

The Israeli Diaspora of Berlin

April 30 – May 5, 2023

Students from Jerusalem and Berlin explore in a joint seminar the remarkable diversity of the Jewish Diasporas in Berlin and ask about its relevance for debates in Israel today.
For one week, we will explore the city together to encounter the cultural, political, academic, and religious efficacy of this vibrant presence.


Dr. Stephan Steiner (Katholische Akademie)
Prof. Amir Engel (Hebrew University Jerusalem)
Dr. Milena Hasselmann (HU Berlin)

In cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem


April 30, 7 pmPublic Evening Lecture in english

Frédéric Brenner is an internationally acclaimed photographer, known for exploring questions of longing, belonging and exclusion for over four decades. His major opus, Diaspora, Homelands in Exile,is the result of a 25-year search in over 40 countries to create a visual record of the Jewish people at the end of the 20th century, a case study of the human condition. Initially intended to chronicle vanishing Jewish communities, the project evolved into a probing examination of the multiple, dissonant identities of a scattered people. 

Brenner initiated an international photographic project, This Place, in which he invited eleven other artists to join him in exploring Israel and the West Bank as place and metaphor.  His own contribution is entitled An Archeology of Fear and Desire.  

His most recent  photographic essay, Zerheilt: Healed to Pieces ( Hatje-Cantz 2021),  explores Berlin as a vast spectrum of expressions and performances of Jewishness. Via a series of fragmentary insights into this incubator of paradox and dissonance, he reflects on conflicting narratives of redemption and sheds light on an ever-so-present absence. Like a shattered mirror, these images offer a polyphonic, sometimes bizarre and disturbing reflection of and on a topography of displacement and estrangement, far beyond the story of Berlin or of Jews.

Professor of Apocalypse:
The Many Lives of Jacob Taubes

May 3, 7 pmBook Presentation in english

A descendant of entire generations of eminent Jewish scholars from Eastern Europe and a rabbi himself, Jacob Taubes (1923-1987) was an eminent figure of Jewish life in postwar Germany. His path led him from his native Vienna via Zurich to Israel, from there to New York and finally to West-Berlin.

Taubes was an intellectual impresario whose life was marked by the conflicts between Judaism and Christianity, but also by the theories of modernity, especially Critical Theory. Thus unfolds the narrative of the many lives of this professor of apocalypse, an advocate of utopia whose friendships and enmities open up an entire panorama of postwar intellectual life and reconnected German debates with European, American, and Israeli circles.


Sunday, April 30
 Public Evening Lecture  Frédéric Brenner “Diaspora in Photography”

Monday, May 1
 Seminar  Micha Brumlik “The Coming Out of the Jewish Community in the Old Federal Republic: the Frankfurt Fassbinder Affair”
Tour of Jewish Berlin
 Lecture   Amnon Raz-KrakotzkinSafed: Jewish Exile in Falastin?

Tuesday, May 2
 Seminar  Elad Lapidot “Are Israelis in Berlin a New Jewish Diaspora?”
Diaspora Vertreibung Museum
Free Evening

Wednesday, May 3
Matti Shmuelof & Abdull Kader
Jewish-Muslim Conversations in Berlin 
 Lecture  Jerry Z. Muller “Professor of Apocalypse: The Many Lives of Jacob Taubes”
20:30Festive Dinner

Thursday, May 4
 Workshop  Maxim Biller
Free afternoon
Concert at Barenboim-Said Akademie

Friday, May 5
Amir Engel, Milena Hasselmann and Stephan Steiner Closing Remarks
Kabbalat Shabat – Fraenkelufer Synagogue


Ari Averbuckh

Ari Averbuckh – My name is Ari. I’m a 27 year old student of German literature and Romance studies, currently residing in Jerusalem. I am interested in learning more German literature while also learning about its cultural interaction within the german speaking world as well as with other cultures. 

Jochen Beckschulte

My name is Jochen Beckschulte an I study protestant theology at Humboldt-University/Berlin. In my studies I concentrate on learning about Jewish-Christian relationship resp. dialog predominantly, but also about antiracist, postcolonial, critical of sexism and gender-positive theology. Beginning from July, I will spend one year studying Jewish theology in Jerusalem at Hebrew University to get in touch with the people and modern Jewish life in Israel.

Amir Engel

Amir Engel teaches at the German department at the Hebrew University. He studied philosophy, literature, and culture studies at the Hebrew University and completed his PhD. in the German Studies department at Stanford University. He also taught and conducted research at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. His works are in the field of German Jewish literature and intellectual history.

Deborah Epstein

Deborah Epstein is a PhD student and a research assistent (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) for Jewish Studies at the University of Leipzig. In her dissertation projects she examines the question whether Susan Taubes’ philosophy of religion can be regarded in terms of an existentialist atheism. Her research focuses on Modern Jewish Thought with an emphasis on how secularistic and atheistic thought is introduced and construed within it as well as the Ethics of Alterity and Political Theology.

Amir Friedman

My name is Amir Friedman.  I am 30 years old. I grew up in a small kibbutz and for the past few years I have been living in Jerusalem and Berlin, studying German language and literature at the Hebrew University.  I am mainly interested in World War II and the German language.

Makaria Fuhrhans

Makaria Fuhrhans is a graduate student in the field of Islamic Studies at FU Berlin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Studies of the Near and Middle East. Her field of interest includes historical, political, cultural and religious relations between Israel and the Islamicate World.

Zohar Gendelman

Zohar Gendelman – My name is Zohar Gandelman. I come from Gat, a small Kibbutz in Israel. I studie History and German literature in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. My family originally came from Germany, and I find German culture fascinating!

Yosef Gidanian

Yosef (Yossi) Gidanian – I was born in Iran, 71 years ago! and immigrated to Israel when I was 19 years old. I studied Mathematics, x`Statistics and Demography. Now I am retired. I am also interested in Germanistics. I am a peace activist too. I take part in this Seminar because the Identity problems of Immigrants are Topics I am busy with.

Asaf Neville-Leon

Asaf Neville-Leon – is in third year of my Bachelor degree in Mathematics and German Literature. Originally from Jerusalem, living currently in Jaffa.

Yuval Schieber

My name is Yuval Schieber and I am a third year student at the single-major program for excellency at the generative linguistics department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I am passionate about formal semantics and generative grammar and right now my work is focused on the distribution and semantics of Exceptives in regard to quantifiers in Hebrew as well as the way Hebrew time phrases cast light on verb classes. Out of love for the German language I have been learning for years and admiration towards the German I am coming to Berlin to better understand the German culture and its relationship with the Israeli one.

Tamar Segal

I am Tamar Segal, studying Psychology and German language and literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I am interested in the connections between my two fields of study, such as the psychological processes involved in studying a new language and more.

#intellectualdiaspora is an initiative by the Katholische Akademie in Berlin e.V.

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