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.

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

Irene Williams: Queen of Lincoln Road

July 14 – November 5, 2017

Image Miami Beach has always been home to many colorful people. One of them was Irene Williams. Every workday for more than 40 years, Irene dressed in one of her vibrant fashions from a collection of more than 100 handmade hats and outfits, walked to her small office on Lincoln Road. One morning in 1995, Irene was spotted by Eric Smith, a New York City designer, entrepreneur, and founder of E.G. Smith Socks. A friendship ensued and over the next decade, Eric documented on film Irene’s outsider couture, and the heartfelt affection they shared and produced an award winning documentary titled Irene Williams Queen of Lincoln Road. When Irene died in 2004, she left her colorful collection of hats, photos and letters to Smith which are included in the exhibit. In addition to the Irene Williams Collection, the exhibition will include hats and photos on loan from Isabel Bernfeld Anderson and George Neary. The exhibit is sponsored by Robert Arthur Segall Family Foundation,Isabel Bernfeld Anderson, Merle & Danny Weiss, and Pauline Winick.

Ruth Gruber: Photojournalist

October 16, 2017 – January 7, 2018


This exhibition celebrates the remarkable life, vision and heroic tenacity of this 20th century pioneer and trailblazer, Ruth Gruber, born in Brooklyn on September 30, 1911. Gruber became the youngest PhD in the world at age 20, before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist. Photographs included in the show span more than 50 years and four continents, from Gruber’s groundbreaking reportage of the Soviet Artic in the 1930s and iconic images of Jewish refugees on the ship Exodus 1947, to her later photographs of Ethiopian Jews in the midst of civil war in the 1980s. A selection of Gruber’s vintage prints never before exhibited will be presented along with contemporary prints made from her original negatives. With her boundless empathy and razor sharp intellect, a Hermes typewriter and a camera as her tools, Gruber served as an inspiration through her love of adventure, fearlessness, powerful intellect and defying tradition throughout an extraordinary career. She passed away in November 2016 at the age of 105. This traveling exhibition is organized by the International Center of Photography.

Pointing the Way: The Art of the Torah Pointer

November 20, 2017 – March 18, 2018 (dates to be confirmed)

For the first time, the Barr Foundation has made available for public exhibition its remarkable collection of antique and contemporary torah pointers, which are used to guide the reader across the words of the torah. Known by the Hebrew word for "hand," or yad, these artistic treasures were created by artists from different time periods and cultures, and they are made of diverse materials including wood, precious metals, jewels, ceramics and paper. This display of yads transcends religious iconography and appeals to all who appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of fine art.