MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida

(Core Exhibit - Ongoing)

Image More than 500 photos and artifacts depict the Jewish experience in Florida since 1763, reflecting a thematic presentation of immigration, community development, discrimination, earning a living, acculturation and identity. Personal artifacts, films, photos, timeline and contemporary art attract a universal audience by telling the universal story of immigration as the example of the acculturation process of every family and provide an engaging, up close museum experience. The Museum is housed in two former synagogues that served as the first congregation on Miami Beach. The primary building is a restored 1936 Art Deco building with a copper dome, marble bimah and 80 stained-glass windows. The second building is the original 1929 shul. The skylighted Bessie's Bistro connects the two buildings.

Synagogues of Cuba

Currently on view

Pop-up photography exhibition depicting life in the Jewish community of Cuba today.

Hot Couture: Florida Jews on the Fashion Scene

December 2, 2016 – November 5, 2017

Floridian Jews have been involved in all aspects of the fashion industry, designing, manufacturing and dressing and influencing the local and international scene in all types of clothing from beachwear to ball gowns. From the now- 95 year-old Sylvia Whyte designer, whose children’s clothing brought the likes of Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra and Zsa Zsa Gabor flocking to her Miami Beach store in the 1950s, to an 11 year-old entrepreneur now embarking on her first clothing line incorporating her grandfather’s artwork into her designs, Floridian Jews have created a large footprint on this industry. With iconic brands like Perry Ellis and Chico’s, climate-influenced guayaberas, golf shirts and Florida furriers, to funky wearable art and bikinis and belts made out of local snakeskins, this exhibit will surprise and inspire you!

Evil: A Matter of Intent

April 20, 2017- October 1, 2017

cainExhibit on loan from Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion

Evil is not a cosmic accident. It does not just happen. Natural disasters happen. Disease, drought, accidents, and epidemics happen. Evil is the conscious act of an individual or group committing an inhumanity to another individual or group in an effort to achieve a personal goal. Evil is not an idea or a concept; it is a deliberate action or inaction. Evil is defined as a selfish act or behavior with the intent to benefit one’s self or one’s interests irrespective of harm to others and without responsibility and remorse.

The artists included in this exhibition address with clarity and passion the many faces of inhumanity. History is replete with genocides: the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, Bosnia, Rawanda, Darfar, Cambodia, the Trail of Tears, to name recent atrocities. Pogroms, murder, rape, sex slavery, domestic abuse, trafficking in drugs, enslavement, lynchings, terrorist acts, destruction of knowledge and culture, obliteration of cultural heritage, kidnapping, child abuse, deliberate poisoning of water and earth are rampant and unceasing. Evil is fueled by indifference, intimidation, gossip, lying, bullying, denigration. It is achieved through drastic physical action, inflicting pain, injury, starvation, denial of education. The artists in this presentation, using an international visual language, challenge the concept of heroes and villains. Who is the hero? Who is the tyrant? Are the seeds of evil latent in a hero?

Is overcoming evil an active or passive process? Are we “delivered from evil” by a higher power? Must individuals in any society engage in a direct, adversarial struggle to quell wrong and establish right?

Evil is the violation of our common humanity. Human morality requires direct action against evil. Can we develop a society able to embrace selfless acts and behavior to benefit others irrespective of harm to one s person or interests? The Peace Corps, Medecins sans Frontieres, Southern Poverty Law Center, Habitat for the Humanity, Meals on Wheels, amongst many others, strive to defeat evil.

The artists in this exhibition as do many of us, have a vision of how to proceed. Less rhetoric. More action. It is up to each and every one of us to wage war on evil.

Laura Kruger, Curator Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion

Rose Starr, Research Coordinator