MIFGASH II: Encounters between Languages with Mati Shemoelof
On the Visionary Power of Multilingual Poetry

Migration to a new country usually engenders several processes: the degradation of the migrant’s main language into a minority language, the need for constant translation, and also the entry into a new existence in which the migrant must redefine words, terms, and concepts whose meanings lie in the culture or language-game of the culture in which they are used. Migration is not only the experience of migrants. People born into a family with a migration background also experience migration in their transgenerational heritage. Even people without migration experience can gain insight into the unique mindset that emerges from the migration experience through direct contact. In Berlin, one third of the inhabitants have a migration background. 

The writing workshop will focus on a visionary concept of multilingual poetry writing. The writing technique presented here, which was developed by Mati Shemoelof, is not tied to any particular language, though the focus will be on Hebrew and German. By crossing language boundaries, the workshop participants will attempt to recreate and explore the particular mindset of people with migration experience. In this way, we would like to propose another step towards achieving tolerance and understanding between people and sustaining our flourishing cultural diversity. 

About the MIFGASHIM Series

With the MIFGASHIM series, the ID Festival 2022 offers a variety of enriching encounters: encounters between different languages and cultures, between different religions and, first and foremost, encounters between people. Visitors can look forward to meeting leading figures of the young Israeli community in Germany.

“Ich bin juden dichtar”/Mati Shemoelof  

Ish shraibe hebre’ish 

Ein Mann screibt Ivrit 

du fragst warum shraibe ish hebre’ish in Berlin 

walla, keine Ahnung, 

ish kann nish shraiben gut Inglis oder

naturlish kain gut Deutshn

und ich bin Fremder in Dir

und was du danke, wo ist dein herz, mit mein werte, und wo wohns Du nun zwischen diesen Worten, 

ish bin ain Lachmann, ish bin shlecht juden, immigrant von iraq, 

ish bin juden, und ish bin arabisch.

Warum kain viele hebre’isch in dein stadt,

aber so viele andre immigrant

ish wais,

ish wais,

und jets, jeden Tag ish frage, das immer fragen,

und du sagt, bitte, wir kann tansen, und nish vergessen, Aber wie soll ich tanzen,

wenn in meinem Bauch eine Torahrolle lodert,

die sich mir nicht verbrennt. 

Aus: „Bagdad | Haifa | Berlin” (Berlin: Aphorisma Verlag). 2019. Übersetzung: Dr. Jan Kühne.

© Cfir Harbi

Mati Shemoelof


Mati Shemoelof is a multi-award winning writer, poet, activist, author and curator from Israel. He is currently based in Berlin. His work includes fiction, poetry, plays, articles, short stories and more. His first publication in Germany was a bilingual edition of his poems “Baghdad | Haifa | Berlin” (2019). Shemoelof is also a founding member of “Poetic Hafla” – a group that has created literary, music and art performance events featuring a diverse collection of artists from all over the world. His first novel, “The Prize”, was published in Hebrew in 2021. That same year, he curated the four-day literature project “The Festival of the Middle East Union” with his group “Anu: Jews and Arabs writing in Berlin”. More info here.

MIFGASH I TicketsMIFGASH i-iii Ticket

Sun 5 June 14:30


Discussion & Writing Workshop


Radialsystem Studio C


MIFGASH II 8 | 5 €



2 hours 


German, Hebrew, English & other languages