Protagonists

Jalda Rebling

Jalda Rebling was born in Amsterdam in 1951. She and her parents, the musicians Lin Jaldati and Eberhard Rebling, relocated to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) just one year later. She grew up in the East Berlin suburb of Eichwalde with her parents and her sister Kathinka.

After finishing drama school (Ernst-Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts) in Berlin, Jalda worked as an actress and voice actress. Since her parents first brought her onto their stage in the late 1970s, she has become a specialist in European Jewish music from the Middle Ages to the present. In GDR times, Jalda went on international concert tours with her family and other musicians, and initiated the Yiddish Culture Days (an UNESCO-project) in East Berlin shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She continued to organize the event for several years.

In the early 1990s, Jalda, a mother of three sons, fell in love with Anna Adam. They had previously met briefly during their work in the cultural field, and now they became a couple and raised Jalda’s youngest son together. It was also together that they set out to overcome the traumas passed on to them by their mothers, both survivors of Auschwitz. As they began to pull each other out of depression, they started their common quest for a positive and joyful relationship to being Jewish. Jalda and Anna also work closely professionally and have done many projects together.

In 2003 Jalda began studying to become a cantor at the ALEPH Cantorial Program in the United States. Ordained in 2007, she became one of the few female cantors in Germany. That same year, she and Anna established “Ohel Hachidusch Tent for Renewal, the first Jewish Renewal Community in Germany. Ohel Hachidusch is a constantly growing, egalitarian, grass-roots community that, in addition to practicing Minyan and celebrating Jewish holidays, also cultivates organic vegetables in the Garden of World Religions in Gatow.

As cantor, Jalda teaches and conducts workshops, services and Jewish life-cycle events in Germany, Scandinavia, Israel, the USA, and Great Britain. She initiated the T´fillah Leaders European Retreat, a coaching seminar for lay leaders conducted by the European Academy for Jewish Liturgy (EAJL) in London. She has also been a member of the Limmud team since the first Limmud festival.

Recently, Jalda has devoted herself enthusiastically to her Psalm Project. In collaboration with the MAria Jonas and the choir “Ars Choralis”, she playfully and experimentally studies the Jewish and Christian handling of psalms, identifying both connections and differences and moving along boundaries that have never before been crossed. But this is just one of the many projects that Jalda Rebling is busy with

Anna Adam

Anna Adam was born in 1963 in Siegen and studied fine arts and pedagogy in Dsseldorf and Hannover. After graduation she worked as a stage designer, a curator, an illustrator of children books, and, last but not least, as a versatile and sometimes provocative artist.

The first years of her artistic work were devoted mainly to painting portraits. She paints only from memory, and always without a model. Other characteristics of her work are the use of self-made paint and her preference for unusual painting surfaces. Over time, she has gradually turned toward creating sculptures and multi-dimensional artworks.

After many years of producing somber and sinister art, “just as society expected of me,” Anna realized that this would not make her happy. She decided to try satire and noticed: “When I’m doing it right, I can ignite people’s fantasies, and they react much more strongly than if I dump a pile of corpses at their feet.” She also found it more fun.

She didn’t receive only positive feedback for her exhibition “Feinkost-Adam” (Delicatessen Adam), a satirical project directed at non-Jewish society addressing the status quo in German society. For her the project is an artistic response to constantly recurring, often absurd misconceptions and stereotypes of Jews persistent within non-Jewish majority culture.

Another satirical project is the “Happy Hippie Jew Bus”, which is equipped with all kinds of odd items, such as the “Cuddle Torah”, a Buddha wearing a kippah and a Star of David, and a Star of David cherry stone cushion. The bus is meant as a social sculpture that encourages discussion while avoiding dismay and concern of any kind.

When she is not touring Germany with the “Happy Hippie Jew Bus”, Anna illustrates children’s books with great enthusiasm, as this work allows her “to be a child again.” Anna is also engaged in several other projects, some of which involve working with street kids and teaching Jewish religion and tradition at primary schools in Berlin.

In the late 1980s, while working as a cultural manager in Hannover, Anna’s attention was drawn to Jalda Rebling. Many years earlier, at the age of 18, she had already seen Jalda and her mother Lin Jaldati in concert on television and had looked on her with admiring eyes. In the early 1990s they became personally acquainted and some time later they were a couple. Anna moved into Jalda and her sons’ family home and has been mother number two to the youngest son of the family.

Now that the youngest son has gone out into the world, Anna and Jalda live together in the apartment they renovated themselves. They continue to seek a balance between the many projects they still want to realize on the one hand and a little more private life on the other.