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Rethinking the Jewish Week Dresden

Opportunities and risks of a change process

The Jewish Week has been taking place in Dresden for almost 30 years. It is the largest Jewish cultural festival in the state capital and has established itself over the years as an integral part of Dresden's autumn. The festival is organised by the supporting association Jüdische Musik- und Theaterwoche Dresden e.V.

In 2024, the association Jüdische Musik- und Theaterwoche Dresden e.V. is at a turning point. While it has been able to develop successfully in terms of content in recent years, structural problems have become apparent in recent years. Since 2012, the association has changed the festival management five times, due to the comparatively low fee that the association can pay for this freelance work, which requires extensive competences from the festival management. Finding and training a new festival director again and again is not affordable for the voluntary board in the long term. This situation threatens the very existence of the Jewish Week Dresden. We have therefore decided to put the festival to the test this year in an accompanied change process with the aim of repositioning it in terms of content and organisation. As an important part of this process, we are also organising a symposium to which both foreign and German experts from various Jewish cultural institutions will come to Dresden to report on their experiences. We hope that this will provide impetus for the reorientation of our festival in terms of content and organisation.

The symposium "Jewish, now! The importance of Jewish culture for a democratic society" is also aimed at a specialist audience: There has been a growing interest in the presence of Jewish life and culture in recent years. In 2020-23, dialogue rounds on Jewish topics were held in Dresden and Saxony, initiated by the Office for Culture and Monument Protection of the State Capital Dresden. Based on the proposal to establish a Jewish Saxon Museum, ideas for the establishment of a Jewish cultural and meeting centre in Dresden and other places of remembrance in the city were also discussed. Our association was able to play an active role in these discussions: The association sees itself as a mediator of Jewish content using the means of art and has made a name for itself over the last ten years as a platform for lively Jewish culture.

Against this backdrop, the association also welcomes the plans of the Saxon Ministry of Science, Culture and Tourism to organise a Jewish theme year in 2026.


Our association is open to the growing interest in Jewish topics and would like to use the opportunity of a symposium not only to further develop its own profile and reinvent itself in the process, but also to open up the discussion to a specialist audience. Together, fundamental questions about the role and significance of Jewish culture in the public sphere and the forms of its presentation can be discussed.

The following questions and topics will be addressed and discussed at the symposium:

  • What is the significance of Judaism and Jewish culture today in Dresden, Saxony and Europe? What contribution can Jewish cultural events make to an open society/promoting democracy?

  • Building sustainable structures for the presentation of Jewish cultural events and political will - learning from the experiences of established institutions

  • Forms of presentation of Jewish culture: Which formats can be used to create sustainable access to the topic of Judaism? Or what significance does positive experience have in art?

Logo of the Jüdische Musik- und Theaterwoche Dresden e.V.

Guided by these questions, the Jüdische Musik- und Theaterwoche Dresden e.V. would like to rethink its own structures and goals. The expertise gathered at the symposium can also make an important contribution to the discourse surrounding the planned Jewish Culture and Meeting Centre as well as the Saxon theme year 2026 "Jewish Culture". The experts in Saxony who are developing the programme for the 2026 theme year can be provided with additional knowledge and be given an understanding of the narrative from a Jewish perspective. In terms of the symposium's content, we have almost exclusively invited Jewish speakers, as it is our central concern to place Jewish narratives at the centre. Far too often, people only talk about Jews. They become a projection surface without their own narratives being taken into account. The symposium "Jewish, Now" offers Jewish experts a stage to present their own narratives and is intended to facilitate a constructive exchange with visitors.

We are looking forward to exciting discussions and a fruitful exchange. Let's work together to find a new path for our festival and inspiring ideas for the Jewish-Saxon theme year "Tacheles". We invite all interested parties to register by 8 April. Information can be found in the infobox.


Conference: Jewish, now! Significance of Jewish Culture for a Democratic Society

Date: April 15&16 2024

Registration before: April 9 2024

Venue: Kulturrathaus, Königstr. 15

Fee: 80€ (participation & catering)

Earlybirds 65€

Event organiser: Jüdische Musik- und Theaterwoche e.V.

Target Audience: Specialist audience from Judaism & culture as well as interested laypeople

For critical minds: The experience of the Jewish Music and Theatre Week in recent years shows that the expertise of many actors in the cultural sector on Jewish topics varies greatly in terms of depth and motivation. The planned symposium offers a good opportunity to become aware of gaps, to close them and to turn one's own motivation into an opportunity through self-questioning.


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