The presentation of cultural and religious diversity in the Gardens of the World will be expanded by an essential element from spring 2021. Beginning in fall 2019, a Jewish Garden will be created on an area of approximately 2,000 square meters with a visual relationship to the neighboring Christian Garden. It will complement the existing themed gardens and, as a landscape-architectural-artistic contribution, complete the representation of the great world religions and world views, especially the monotheistic religions. Superficial symbolism or religious inscriptions are deliberately avoided in the design of the Jewish Garden.
Useful and ornamental plants that are part of Jewish life are explored through accompanying research and cultivated in the garden. These include fruit trees, figs, almonds, magnolias, chestnuts and elms. The selected plants are known from novellas, poems, short stories, essays and letters by Jewish authors and authors close to Judaism. Two sculptural pavilions offer an opportunity to rest and can be used as places of exchange. Information events on Jewish culture are planned as part of an educational concept. Festivals of the Jewish annual calendar can also be celebrated here.
Laying of the foundation stone for the Jewish Garden
On October 24, 2019, the foundation stone was laid in a festive ceremony. After speeches by, among others, Senator Regine Günther, Parliamentary State Secretary and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter and Ilan Kiesling, representative of the Jewish Community of Berlin, the speakers* filled a capsule with personally selected contemporary documents, which was sunk into the foundation stone. The prayer spoken by Rabbi Prof. Dr. Nachama underscored the solemn setting.
Laying of the Foundation Stone on 24th October 2019
The Jewish Garden is built in a processual manner. First, the basic structure of the garden is created, consisting of pathways and plazas, sculptures and woody plants. After the opening of the garden, further planting and design will be carried out as part of planting campaigns with the Environmental Education Center. These plantings will complement the assortment and show further aspects of the Jewish understanding of nature. A multifaceted mediation concept accompanies the actions.
The creation of the garden began with the construction of the path network, in which plaza areas and fields of various sizes and shapes were embedded. The path network divides the garden, but it also symbolizes the Jewish Diaspora (dispersion across the world):
At the end of 2020, the space-creating woody plants, including fruit trees, such as apple, pear, almond and cherry, were planted. At the same time, the sculptural pavilions by artist Manfred Pernice were created and completed on site. Planting of shrubs, perennials, annuals, and bulbous and climbing plants will follow in spring 2021. The opening of the Jewish Garden will take place in 2021.
The initiator for the establishment of the Jewish Garden was the Allianz Environmental Foundation, which had already supported the Oriental Garden (2005) and the Christian Garden (2011) in the Gardens of the World.
In 2018, the State of Berlin, represented by the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection and Grün Berlin GmbH, in cooperation with the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing, announced the 'Artistic Landscape Planning Design Competition Jewish Garden in the Gardens of the World, Berlin Marzahn-Hellersdorf'. The jury met on October 31, 2018, chaired by Dresden landscape architect Till Rehwaldt, and awarded first prize to the work of the team atelier le balto landscape architects and the artists Manfred Pernice and Wilfried Kuehn. The competition is documented on the site of the Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing.
On the recommendation of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, various representatives of the Jewish Cultural Circle were invited to an expert panel for consultation in the run-up to the competition. This committee accompanied the development of the task as well as the entire course of the competition and was also represented in the competition jury.
The competition and its realization are supported by the State of Berlin, the Allianz Environmental Foundation, the Axel Springer Foundation and the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt. Grün Berlin GmbH is responsible for the implementation.