Blood flows through all our veins. It is the vital life-giving fluid that we have in common. It carries oxygen around our bodies, nourishes and protects us, and helps us function. It is the substance that symbolizes our shared humanity. It is both life and death, sacred and profane, pure and impure. Blood has always been a powerful symbol through which we understand who we are. Still, in the age of DNA, whilst we know that our blood does not contain the essence of who we are, the metaphor of blood has not lost its power. Family is still interchangeable with “blood”; our lineage is still our “bloodline”.
The exhibition presents a cultural history of Jews and blood, from the Bible to the present day. It asks a central question: how have Jews defined themselves through blood, and how have others defined them by blood?
The original exhibition Blood: Uniting and Dividing was created by the Jewish Museum London in cooperation with the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism – Brikbeck, University of London. The curator of the original Jewish Museum London exhibition is Joanne Rosenthal; the author of the concept of the exhibition is Abigail Morris, the director of the Jewish Museum London.
At the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków the exhibition is presented with additional items and information which contribute a local, Galician context to the main narrative.