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' thank everyone who helped make the 12th annual Israel Today series a success!





We look forward to bringing the Tidewater community together again to engage with and learn about Israel's history, people, and culture later this year when the 13th annual Israel Today series begins.


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Featured speakers from last season

Lahav Harkov

Joe Perlov

Roie Galitz

The Photohouse with curator and owner Ben Peter




Celebrating Israel @ 75 with PhotoHouse - May 2023

A campus-wide exhibit of Rudi Weissenstein’s photos, curated by Ben Peter, was exhibited at the JCC’s Leon Family Gallery in celebration of Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day.  Ben Peter joined us in person for our community celebration. Learn more about The PhotoHouse at their website

Curator Ben Peter with guests at the 2023 Israel Fest

Miriam Weissenstein Jumping in the Air | 1941.

Curator Ben Peter with Rabi & cigarette |1937.


The Four Corners of the World with Roie Galitz - March 2023

World-renowned wildlife photographer, Roie Galitz, visited campus to discuss his photographs of endangered animals in their natural habitat and and raise awareness of the threats they face today.  Learn more about Roie Galitz at


Galitz speaking at an Israel Today event

Samples of Roie Galitz's work

Roie Galitz speaking at the Simon Family JCC

Galitz discussing his work with Strelitz International Academy students

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, Director, Holocaust Commission at or (757)965-6112.





Previous Israel Today Events

  • Roie Galitz • The Four Corners of the World: A Celebration of Natural Wonders

  • On Assignment with Lahav Harkov

  • 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.