Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Kehillah: Century of life in Orlando


The Jewish community of Greater Orlando is gearing up for a big milestone celebration. In collaboration with the Orange County Regional History Center and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, the Orlando Jewish community is planning an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the organized Jewish community.

Sara Stern co-chair explained, “The exhibit idea came about when a steering committee at Ohev Shalom was discussing how to celebrate the centennial of COS. We realized this really marked an anniversary for the entire Jewish community. From a few families and one synagogue in 1917 and 1918, a large, diverse and thriving community has grown that has not only established many congregations and agencies, but has also contributed greatly to the quality of life for all the residents of Central Florida.”

“The idea caught on,” stated Roz Fuchs, Stern’s co-chair. “The Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando (JFGO) awarded the project a $10,000 collaborative grant, and Marcia Zervitz, founding executive director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (and long time Orlando resident and leader in the Jewish Community) volunteered to come on board as guest curator. We have committees actively researching, collecting photos and items, and writing the story of these past 100 years of life in the Orlando Jewish community.”

Although fundraising for this project continues, as of now other sponsors along with JFGO include: the Roth Family, Heller Brothers, Bruce Gould, Brechner Family, Marilyn Crotty and Roz Fuchs, Ginsburg and Kleiman Families, Marc and Henrietta Katzen, Kobrin Family Foundation, Greenberg Traurig, Pearlman Family, Universal Engineering Sciences-Israel Family, Dick and Louise Weiner, and Ben and Maura Weiner. Other sponsors are pending.

While there won’t be room to display everything collected, anyone with photos or items they feel might be meaningful for the exhibit is encouraged to call Roz Fuchs at 407-767-8895. All photos will be scanned and returned to their owner and any items will be on temporary loan. All of the scanned photos will be preserved in our community archives. Richard Schwartz, Peter Burg and Lisa Schwartz will be scanning photos, photographing items and creating a database for everything that is collected.

Chairpersons of committees for the exhibit include: Joanie Kimball, Mardi Shader, Sandi Saft, Teresa Finer, Pat Bornstein, Sheryl Meitin, Phyllis Zissman, Michael Soll, Ryan Lefkowitz, Harriet Weiss, Arlene Van De Rijn, Barbara Chasnov, and Roz Fuchs.

“We are very pleased with the excitement this project is creating and the cross section of community volunteers involved. What a wonderful way to bring the community together as we embark on the next 100 years,” Stern commented. “It takes a lot of time to plan, develop and build an exhibit. Kehillah (community): A Century of Jewish Life in Greater Orlando is scheduled to open at the History Center in the old court house downtown on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. It will be on display for 100 days.”


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