The Israel Today series brings together the Tidewater community to engage with and learn about Israel's history, people, and culture through dynamic conversations.




The Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, & Community Partners'

12th Annual Israel Today Series




On Assignment with Lahav Harkov

Lahav Harkov | First Thursdays, 12:00pm | Online
November 3, December 1, January 5, February 2, March 2

Bold. Intrepid. Journalist. Diplomatic Correspondent.

Gil Hoffman: Behind the Headlines


Sunday, February 12 at 4:00pm @ Temple Israel7255 Granby Street Norfolk

Watching the news and reading the paper is only one part of the equation; to be properly informed of current events, one must know where to go to get unbiased reporting of the facts.  Moreover, an impartial account of current affairs is essential for any society to function effectively. Gil Hoffman, executive director of, is just the man to give you the primer on where and how to detect falsehoods about Israel in the media and go beyond the headlines.  


Gil Hoffman, the executive director of, previously served as the chief political correspondent and analyst for the Jerusalem Post for over twenty years. His responsibilities included reporting on and analyzing the Knesset, Israeli and Palestinian leaders across the political spectrum. He continues to serve as an expert and analyst on international news networks, including CNN, Al Jazeera, and more. 


As a veteran journalist and magna cum laude graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Hoffman intimately understands the Israeli and U.S. news cycles and perspectives, and the importance of how to accurate reporting.  Sign up today to learn and celebrate Israel at 75 with Gil Hoffman.


This program is FREE and open to all community members – Registration is required. 

The Four Corners of the World: A Celebration of Natural Wonders

Roie Galitz | Thursday, March 23, 7:30


Have you dreamt of traveling to Antarctica? Or have you wondered what it takes to travel the world and encounter the most exotic animals in their own habitat?  If so, you're in luck!  One of today's most prolific wildlife photographers, Roie Galitz, will join us to share his experiences in some of the most remote parts of the world. 


As a lifelong nature lover, Roie travels the globe documenting animals in their natural surroundings in some of the most extreme locations and climates.  The images Roie Galitz produces have garnered international awards, and have been featured in publications including National Geographic, the Smithsonian, and many more.  The 2017 BBC documentary Snow Bears features video footage captured by Galitz and his collogues as they followed polar bears in their quest to survive. 


In his travels as a photographer and environmental diplomat, Galitz has witnessed nature's distress and the impact of human activity throughout the globe.  Galitz's partnerships with brands such as Nikon and Dell have helped in his attempt to bridge the gap between the impact of industry and the natural world.  


Galitz has captivated international audiences at the United Nations, TED talks, and many places in between!


Join us for this event that will excite community members of all ages! This program is FREE and open to the community - Registration is required.

Celebrate Israel @ 75 with PhotoHouse

The world-renowned PhotoHouse is one of Israel’s most valuable and monumental private archives of historical photographs. Founded in 1936, it has been owned and operated by the same family for three generations. 


Rudi Weissenstein captured millions of photos of pre-state Israel into the beginning decades of her early statehood. His grandson, Ben Peter, currently oversees the collection, which is the largest private photo archive in Israel, comprised of approximately one million negatives. 


The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is thrilled to be bringing the PhotoHouse to Hampton Roads to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence. 


Selections from the PhotoHouse Archive, Curated by Ben Peter 


Each month leading up to the community celebration of Israel @ 75 on Sunday, April 30, we will feature a rotating collection of photographs from PhotoHouse’s archive in the Simon Family JCC’s Copeland Cardo. 

A campus-wide exhibit of Rudi Weissenstein’s photos, curated by Ben Peter, will be on exhibit at the JCC’s Leon Family Gallery in celebration of Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day, April through June, 2023. 


Life in Stills Film Screening 


Cinema Café Kemps River 
1220 Fordham Drive, Virginia Beach 


At the age of 96, Miriam Weissenstein never imagined that she would be facing a new chapter in her life. When “The Photo House” - her late husband’s life’s work - was destined for demolition, she knew she needed help. A special relationship is forged between Miriam and her grandson, Ben, as they join forces to save the shop and its nearly one million negatives that document Israel’s defining moments.  


Join us at Cinema Café Kemps River for this heart-wrenching, humorous, and touching journey that defies the gap between generations. A conversation with Ben Peter will follow the screening. 



Presented by The Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Simon Family JCC, & Community Partners’ 12th Annual Israel Today Series, in partnership with the Virginia Festival of Jewish Film. 


Dir. Tamar Tal-Ana • 58 minutes • Israel • Hebrew, English

Experience Israel without leaving Tidewater  


SUNDAY, APRIL 30 · 12:00-4:00 PM 


There will be something for everyone at United Jewish Federation of Tidewater's and Simon Family JCC's annual celebration of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. 


Visit Ben Peter on the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, and spend the day experiencing some of the exciting tastes, smells, attractions, and sites that make Israel the country she is today.


FREE and FUN for all ages and faiths. Learn more HERE

12th Annual Israel Today in partnership with:


Beth Sholom Village, Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, Inc., Strelitz International Academy, Tidewater Jewish Foundation, YAD UJFT, Jewish Women 757, Holocaust Commission UJFT, Jewish News, Tidewater BBYO, Bnai Israel Congregation, Congregation Beth Chaverim, Congregation Beth El, Chabad of Tidewater, Kempsville Conservative Synagogue: Kehillat Bet Hamidrash, Ohef Sholom Temple, Temple Emanuel, Temple Israel in Norfolk, ODU Hillel, The Institute for Jewish Studies & Interfaith Understanding, Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at VWU, Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.






Contact Elka Mednick, Assistant Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of the UJFT, at or (757) 965-6112.





Previous Israel Today Events





  • Conflict in Context: The Changing Map of Israel and the Middle East - October 2022

  • Shony Rivnay "Unfolding Nature: Dancing through Waves" In the Leon Family Gallery

  • Chefs Gili Ben Shahar and Ohad Kvity: Meat Carneval • May 2022 • Chefs Gili Ben Shahar and Ohad Kvity, culinary renegades from Tel Aviv, join our celebration of Israel at 74.

  • Yael Perlov • February 2022 Award-Winning Filmmaker. Editor. Professor. As part of the Alma & Howard Laderberg 29th Annual Virginia Festival of Jewish Film .

  • Dafna Kaffeman • November 2021 • Flame-working Glass Artist. Lecturer. International Award Winner. In partnership with the Chrysler Museum of Art's Perry Glass Studio.

  • Yishai Sarid • November 2021 • Arbitrator. Award-Winning Author. Attorney. As part of the Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival.

  • Noa Tishby • October 2021 • Rapid Responder. Truth Spreader. Troll Fighter. Natural Raconteur. Spirited Modern Explainer. As part of the Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival.