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. 







Malkah’s Notebook : A Journey into the Mystical Aleph-Bet
Mira Z. Amiras & Josh Baum

Mira Z. Amiras was raised on her mother’s accounts of the Inquisition and Holocaust, and her father’s tales of the Hebrew aleph-bet letters and their role in the creation of the universe. She has taught Jewish mysticism, magic, and folklore along with many other topics in Jewish and Islamic Studies and the anthropology of religion.

In Josh Baum’s work as an artist and Torah scribe, he explores the Hebrew letters as sacred signs, as well as objects of profound beauty. 


Malkah is a child when her father tries teaching her to read Torah. As Malkah studies, she embarks on a lifelong journey in search of her beginnings—into Jewish mystical texts, far-off places, archaeological digs, ancient gods, and ultimately into the nature of existence itself. With highly evocative illustrations, Malkah’s Notebook is a love letter to the Hebrew alphabet that unlocks life’s greatest mysteries.


On exhibit November – December 2022.


In partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of idewater and UJFT's Konikoff Center for Learning

Register for the Konikoff Center for Learning Workshop

Monday, December 12 @ 12:00PM

A hands-on workshop that will take you on a mystical journey through the letters of your name, when spelled in Hebrew.






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

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.


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.


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







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





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








Unfolding Nature: Dancing Through Waves
Shony Rivnay

Shony Rivnay (b. 1952) is an interdisciplinary Israeli-American artist based in Tel Aviv, Israel. He works in various media including painting, sculpture, video, installation, and performance.

Rising Tides, Rising Tensions: Renée Calway

with dedicated contributions from the community, especially Kelly Jackson, Michael Corcoran and Destini Harrel

The sea level continues to rise. Social and economic tensions have always existed; now both are becoming more apparent. This piece confronts the rising tensions our community is seeing through a scope of truth which reveals socio-economic inequalities that lead to disparity in the neighborhoods most affected by flooding. 


Rising Tides/Rising Tensions is a traveling educational exhibit meant to spark conversation in the community and is currently touring Hampton Roads. To find out where the exhibit is currently being displayed, or to bring the exhibit to your school, business, or house of worship, please contact Renée directly:


Read Press Release

A Feast For the Eyes: Netanel Israel

Netanel Israel is an Israeli photographer who partnered with chefs Gili Ben Shahar and Ohad Kvity, the masterminds behind Tel Aviv’s Meat Carneval. The chefs and Netanel visited Tidewater in 2022 during the community celebrations for Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day.


The photographs previously on display in the Leon Family Gallery were part of a collection of photos featured in Ben Shahar and Kvity’s cookbook, "The Book of Meat," currently available only in Hebrew. For more information about Netanel, visit, or email

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. 



Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik’s You Did What to My Comics?!?


Isaac is a Jewish artist living in Southern California. His cut and reassembled paper is made of clean lines and patterns, sinuous shapes and sharp edges, large fields of color balanced with small intimate spaces.


Through his art, Isaac explores the stories and traditions of the Jewish people, filtered through the twin lenses of the traditional art form of papercutting and contemporary pop culture narratives. Blending ancient stories and the glossy-meets-gritty world of comics in seamless graphic compositions, Brynjegard-Bialik’s work is emblematic of the 21st century’s mash-up culture.

Isaac and his wife, Rabbi Shawna Brynjegard-Bialik, presented “Paper Midrash” sermons and workshops as a part of the Milton “Mickey” Kramer Scholar-in-Residence fund of the Congregation Beth El Foundation’s Tidewater Together Series.

Rae Stern's In Fugue: Hypomnemata


Handmade paper works, illuminated with both natural and artificial light. Five selected pieces hang from the atrium ceiling, hovering above the public forum and visible upon entry to the building.


Stern's work focuses on the elusive and ephemeral nature of memory as both a personal and universal phenomenon. The photographs that inspired this group of works on paper were chosen by Stern out of the images she collected for her immersive installation Outside Time.


Download a media release about the exhibit.

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




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