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




Luminous: An Artist’s Story as a Guide to Radical Creativity

Linda Dayan Frimer


Linda Dayan Frimer’s Luminous is a complex and intriguing work that mixes memoir, spiritualism, and meditations on art and color with reflections on Judaism and her own family’s roots through generations going back to Romania.


Frimer uses acrylics, oils, and watercolors, and collages photographs into mixed-media canvases. Some of her paintings are representational, others abstract, while others explore mystic images and juxtapositions.


Luminous also provides words of advice to aspiring artists and spiritual seekers, inviting the reader to join in, to tear a piece of paper and examine it, to paint a brushstroke, to put two marks of different colors side by side, urging the reader to join her on her artistic journey.


Creating a Clearing

Forest Lagoon

Light in the Forest

Sunflower Garden

An internationally recognized artist, Frimer’s work addresses questions of culture, memory, trauma, and reverence for nature. The recipient of numerous awards, Frimer’s artworks have represented various environmental organizations through fundraising and can be found adorning many institutions. Frimer is co-founder and facilitator of the Gesher Holocaust Project and co-author of In Honour of Our Grandmothers: Imprints of Cultural Survival, a collaboration between two Jewish and two First Nations artists and poets.

Luminous: An Artist’s Story as a Guide to Radical Creativity

Artist talk with Linda Dayan Frimer

Wednesday, March 27, 2024 • 12:00 PM EDT

Watch Online

Join artist Linda Dayan Frimer for a conversation about the artwork featured in her book, Luminous: An Artist's Story as a Guide to Radical Creativity. Selections from the book will be on exhibit in the Leon Family Gallery, March through April, 2024.



Karen and Avraham Ashkenazi
Susan P. Barr
Wendy Jo and Ronald Brodsky
Stephanie Calliott and Don London
Armond and Rose Caplan Foundation
Billye Roy and Jeff Chernitzer
Susan and Andrew Cohen
Lynn and Sadie Sher Cohen
Ann and Robert Copeland
Cheryl Dronzek
Barbara Dudley
Susan and Jim Eilberg
Lois and Barry Einhorn
Mona and Jeffrey Flax
Alan and Esther Fleder Foundation
Anne and Lawrence Fleder
Fox Pest Control
Shari Friedman and Andrew King
Alicia and Robert Friedman
Jeri Jo Halprin
Susan Alper and Steven Harwood
Connie Jacobson

Jaffe Family Fund
Carol and Joel Jason
Betsy and Ed Karotkin
Jodi and Jay Klebanoff
Teresa Knecht and Marc Lindgren
Anne and Edward Kramer
Celia Krichman Charitable Trust
Sierra and Steven Lautman
Edward Legum
Robert Lehman
Caren and Mrs. Stephen Leon
David Leon
Sandra Porter Leon and Miles Leon
Betty Ann and Scott Levin
Joan London
Robin and Matthew Mancoll
Laura and Jerry Miller
Marcia and Burton Moss
Stacie and Marc Moss
Andrew Nusbaum

Raul Palenzuela
Poole Brooke Plumlee PC
Mrs. Elinore Porter
Lisa and Howard Roesen
Sharon and Gene Ross
Sara Jo and Joel Rubin
Shikma and Danny Rubin
Deborah and Peter Segaloff
Laure and Richard Saunders
Beth Scharlop and Roger Schultz
Miriam Seeherman
Patricia and Herman Shelanski
Lynn Schoenbaum
Leslie and Lawrence Siegel
Edward Soltz
Lawrence Steingold
Renee and John Strelitz
Tidewater Jewish Foundation
Jody and Alan Wagner
Amy and Frank Zelenka









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






The Meaning Within the Letters: A Framework for Connection

Paper Cuts by Nancy Schwartz-Katz

A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Nancy found Judaica to be the perfect medium for her to intertwine her artistic talent, love of learning, people, storytelling, and her Jewish heritage. Schwartz-Katz’s papercuts are an intricate play on the balancing of negative and positive space to emphasize concepts while telling stories of individuals, organizations, and history. Her art is in the collections of synagogues, hospitals, foundations, and hundreds of homes. She also exhibits nationally. Nancy lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, with her family, her sweet dog, and grand-cat.




Crossroads & Connections: Collections of the National Library of Israel

This celebration of cultural treasures spanning nearly 1,000 years aims to inspire personal reflection on Israel and its history furing the State of Israel's 75th anniversary year. The selected items speak to the diversity of connections to the region and represent the land of Israel as a crossroads and center for exploration and connectivity.


This land - a destination, a homeland, an inspiration - has given rise to art, music, poetry, and writings that bind the stories of great civilizations past and present. The images featured in this exhibition reflect a variety of traditions, languages, and motifs, and offer a glimpse of the cultural and religous creativity and multiplicity of huan stories that have traversed the land and State of Israel.


The images in this exhibition were selected from 101 Treasures from the National Library of Israel, a new book bublished by NLI in honor of the openeing of the new Library building in 2023.

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.

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.