Side by Side - Syrian-Jewish (Hi)Stories

The online exhibition “Side by Side –­­­ Syrian-Jewish (Hi)stories” shows pictures by the Syrian documentary photographer Rania Kataf about the past and present of Jewish life in Damascus. The exhibition is complemented by an interview with Maurice Chammah and informations regarding Syria’s history.

The photos show Damascus in the year 2020 and make it clear that Jewish life there is disappearing. Although there is still a small Jewish community and a functioning synagogue, which was being renovated at the time the photos were taken, the few Jews still living in Damascus are almost all of advanced age. What remains are memories and architectural traces, most of which are only recognizable at second glance.
The exhibition also addresses the multiple – often fluid – identities that move between Arabic, Jewish and Syriac and tackles the supposed contradiction that arises between Jewish and Arabic. The video interview with the US-American journalist Maurice Chammah offers a very personal approach here. Based on the story of his Syrian-Jewish father, Maurice Chammah examines his own Jewish-Arab identity.

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