From diary to travelogue: personal texts reveal a lot about a writer’s identity, especially when we read between the lines. But what actually is Jewish identity? Well, there’s more than one way to answer that question. This exhibition of four centuries of personal documents introduces a varied selection of Dutch Jews with all kinds of identities. Is their Jewish identity out there for all to see, or is it private? Does this change over time? And how do we view the documents from a modern perspective?
Reflections on historical documents
This exhibition features diaries, letters, travelogues and columns. Jewish and non-Jewish people in today’s world of media, politics and culture react to these historical documents in video interviews. What has struck a chord with them? Do they recognise themselves in these statements? And can they say something about their own identity? Kefah Allush, Khadija Arib, Gijs Groenteman, Arnon Grunberg, Judith Koelemeijer, Ronit Palache, Nina Polak and Robert Vuijsje respond to these questions in the videos.
Voices from our own time
These days, opportunities for personal expression are constantly expanding, and no less in the Dutch Jewish world. Alongside traditional historical documents, the show also features modern forms of communication. Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs writes about social and religious issues in his online diary. Theatre-maker Anouk Dorfmann tells about her decision to lead an Orthodox Jewish life. And journalist Natascha van Weezel adopts an invariably personal perspective when writing about her connection with Israel, antisemitism, and the continuing impact of the Second World War.
While we learn about the different ways identity can be experienced, lived and communicated in the show, how do you view your own identity? What determines it most? Add your thoughts on the subject at the end of the exhibition in a collective 'personal' document.