The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is proud to offer the community access to collections that feature a variety of mediums in our Leon Family Gallery, located on the second floor landing at the Simon Family JCC. 



Each exhibit we present throughout the year represents Israeli and/or Jewish artists, spotlighting talent from within our Tidewater community, or from around the globe.


All exhibits are free and open to the public. Upcoming exhibits and meet-the-artist events are announced in our twice-monthly newsletter. Click here to sign up for that correspondence. 


Gallery Hours
Monday – Thursday | 9 am – 8:00 pm
Friday | 9 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday  | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm







Laya Crust
Illuminations: Exploring Haftarah Through Art


The Haftarah is a Bible reading that follows the Torah reading each Shabbat and every major Jewish holiday and fast day (82 total). 


The Haftarah is traditionally written by a scribe on scrolls of animal parchment. Beth David Synagogue in Toronto commissioned a Haftarah scroll in 2013 and later commissioned Laya Crust to create a painting for each haftarah of the year.


Crust painted these illustrations directly onto the scroll in gouache paint, and has now reproduced them in her book, Illuminations: An Exploration of Haftarah Through Art and History.


Laya Crust is an internationally recognized artist and soferet (Torah scribe). Foremost a painter, Laya creates handmade artist books, ceremonial objects, and architectural installations. She has also writ­ten and illustrated several books. Laya’s work is in collections throughout the world. She teaches, leads work­shops, and gives lectures on art and Jewish text. She lives with her husband in Toronto.





Contact Hunter Thomas, Director of Arts + Ideas, at or (757) 965-6137.





Marilyn and Michel Ashe
Karen and Avraham Ashkenazi
Susan P. Barr
Wendy Jo and Ronald Brodsky
Stephanie Calliott and Don London
Armond and Rose Caplan Foundation
Marsha Chenman
Billye Roy and Jeff Chernitzer
Susan and Andrew H. Cohen
Shari Friedman and Andrew King
Cheryl Dronzek
Leora and Nathan Drory
Barbara Dudley
Susan and Jim Eilberg
Lois and Barry Einhorn
Mona and Jeffrey Flax
Anne and Lawrence Fleder
Alan and Esther Fleder Foundation
Fox Pest Control
Alicia and Robert Friedman
Bootsie Goldmeier
Jeri Jo and William Halprin
Marcia Hofheimer

Ellen Hundley
Jaffe Family Fund
Connie Jacobson
Carol and Joel Jason
Betsy and Ed Karotkin
Brenda and Larry Klar
Jodi and Jay Klebanoff
Anne and Edward Kramer
Celia Krichman Charitable Trust
Sierra and Steven Lautman
Ruth and Edward Legum
Robert Lehman
Caren and Stephen Leon
David Leon
Sandra Porter Leon and Miles Leon
Fern and Larry Leibowitz
Betty Ann and Scott Levin
Karen and Richard Lombart
Robin and Matthew Mancoll
Marcia and Burt Moss
Stacie and Marc Moss
Andrew Nusbaum
Poole, Brooke, Plumlee, PC

Elinore Porter
Lisa and Howard Roesen
Sharon and Gene Ross
Shikma and Danny Rubin
Sara Jo and Joel Rubin
Laure and Richard Saunders
Beth Scharlop and Roger Schultz
Lynn Schoenbaum
Miriam Seeherman
Patty and Herman Shelanski
Sandy and Norman Sher
Leslie and Larry Siegel
Helen Sissel
Edward Soltz
Lawrence Steingold
Renee and John Strelitz
Tidewater Jewish Foundation
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Jody and Alan Wagner
Wilks, Alper, Harwood & McIntyre, PC
Amy and Frank Zelenka
Jennifer and Rabbi Israel Zoberman


A Tale of Two Histories


150 Years of Jewish History in Tidewater and Israel 

Presented as a partnership between United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and the Portsmouth Jewish Museum and Cultural Center


Help us continue to build upon the intertwining narratives of Jewish history in Tidewater 
alongside transformative events in the land of Israel. 

  • Have you lived in Israel? Did you make a trip as a child? 
  • Were your grandparents one of the first members of your congregation? 
  • Do you volunteer in your synagogue’s archive? 


Submit scanned photos to Hunter Thomas, Director of Arts + Ideas, at Printed copies are also accepted and can be shared by mailing them or dropping them off, with 
attention to Hunter Thomas, to the Simon Family JCC. 


Submissions will be accepted throughout the run of the exhibit through August 2023.

Photos will not be returned. If you need help making a copy, please let us know.



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.


In 1936, Rudi Weissenstein arrived from Europe at Jaffa Port in Israel with nothing more than a press photographer's certificate and a set of cameras. Weissenstein saw the need to archive the monumental events happening in his new homeland. He traveled throughout the country, documenting the birth and growth of a nation. His photographs have been published worldwide and have received numerous accolades.


In 1940, alongside his wife, Miriam, Weissenstein founded the PhotoHouse - now the largest privately owned photography archive in the State of Israel, containing over one-million negatives. The couple's grandson, Ben Peter, continues to manage the PhotoHouse and its entire archive, keeping his grandparents' legacy alive.


In celebration of Yom Ha'atzmaut, this Sandler Family Campus-wide exhibit of PhotoHouse photographs, specially curated by Ben Peter, will be on display in the Leon Family Gallery and Copeland Cardo through June.


Proceeds from art sales will benefit Arts + Ideas programming at the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Please visit the Simon Family JCC front desk to purchase. All photographs were printed on fine art premium photo paper and framed in-store at the PhotoHouse in frames made of natural wood veneer. To learn more about the PhotoHouse or to purchase other prints, visit


PhotoHouse: Israel @ 75
Rudi Weissenstein, Curated by Ben Peter




Generous support for this exhibit provided by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

The Four Corners of the World: A Celebration of World Wildlife

from renowned photographer, environmental diplomat, entrepreneur and explorer, Roie Galitz.


Roie travels to the world's most extreme habitats and documents animals as never seen before. Acutely aware of nature's distress as human activity increases its influence, Galitz has become a Greenpeace Ambassador, performed 3 TED talks, and is a keynote speaker in many events worldwide. As an entrepreneur, Roie has founded several companies with the love for photography, creation and our amazing world at heart. He serves in executive boards and advisory boards on sustainability and pressing environmental issues.


As a wildlife photographer, Roie pushes his limits, both creatively and physically. He travels all over the world, to the most extreme, just to return with the most epic images he can. His images have won over a hundred international awards and were published in countless magazines including the Smithsonian, National Geographic and alike. Joint and solo exhibitions were held in museums and galleries in 5 continents and his fine art prints are sold in limited series. His Videography has also reached amazing peaks, including participating in 2 films in the BBC, short videos in National Geographic and other TV channels. The BBC film "Snow Bears" film has won the GDT award for excellence in photography.


Generous support for this exhibit provided by the Embassy of Israel.