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




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 


Simon Family JCC
5000 Corporate Woods 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 PhotoHouse — 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 the Simon Family JCC 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 Joel Bond, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of the UJFT, at or (757)965-6129.





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.