„It’s okay to have fun being Jewish“ Jalda points out at the beginning of the film adding, „But that’s really oversimplifying it because getting there was quite tough.“
The artists Jalda Rebling and Anna Adam live together in Berlin. They are Jews of the “first generation” after the Shoah. “For us, remembering is DNA,” says Jalda, laconically summarizing the heritage of unspoken but nevertheless ever-present family memories. Along with knowing their parents’ histories, growing up as Jews in East and West Germany has made Anna and Jalda very aware of social developments. Experiencing and being a part of the birth of a democracy deeply influenced their lives and their sense of being Jewish. Their acute sense of political consciousness and their need to be politically active arose in this area between family and society.
When Jalda and Anna met in the 1990s, they both felt they were at a bottom point in their lives. Together the couple started a long and strenuous search for a joyful approach towards being Jewish.
The film “Jalda and Anna – First generation after” begins by showing where the two women are today. It recounts how they created their very own way of living a Jewish life – neither according to the conventions expected by the Jewish community nor aligned with today’s image of Jews prevalent in German society.
Jalda is one of the few female Jewish cantors in Germany, and together with Anna she founded a small egalitarian Jewish congregation in Berlin. This is where she has created a space for herself and others that is free of hierarchy, and where she develops new rituals and traditions that reflect her view of Judaism.
Anna, meanwhile, undermines the predominant, politically correct culture of commemoration with her art projects. One of them is the Happie Hippe Jew Bus, in which she travels around (rural) Germany and invites people to participate in satirical as well as serious debates about Judaism. „The past should be a springboard, not a couch!“ she states. She uses provocative objects, such as cherry pit heating pads shaped like the Star of David and temporary tattoos to question the conventional ways in which the Holocaust is commemorated by current and previous generations. Both Jalda and Anna constantly cross artistic, religious and political borders through their work.
For two years, filmmakers Katinka Zeuner and Ben Laser accompagnied Jalda and Anna’s lives, following them from Berlin to rural Germany and all the way to Israel.
„Jalda and Anna – First Generation After“ is a portrait of two women who today live self-consciuos, proud and Jewish in Germany and who keep creating their own space in society, in a humourous yet determined way.
Germany 2012, 75 min
German with English Subtitles and German with Spanish subtitles