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

Zerivitz receives honorary degree


Marcia Jo Zerivitz

Marcia Jo Zerivitz, founding executive director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, has demonstrated vision and leadership throughout her life to expand knowledge, enrich collective historic memory and cultivate diversity.

Zerivitz has been a Florida community trailblazer for more than half a century, serving national, state and local organizations. She observed that the Jewish community in Florida had a major challenge-its continuity-and decided to focus on collecting and preserving for future generations the stories and material evidence of the contributions of Jews to the Sunshine State.

From 1984 to 1992, she traveled 250,000 miles throughout Florida, conducting grassroots research and retrieving the state's hidden, 250-year Jewish history, resulting in a major archive and the MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida traveling exhibit (1990-1994).

Under her direction, this project evolved into the Jewish Museum of Florida (1995), which documents and interprets the Jewish experience in Florida in the context of the immigrant experience of all American families. Zerivitz produced 70 exhibits with 500 educational programs. She initiated legislation for Florida Jewish History Month and Jewish American Heritage Month and authored many historical publications and films. She approached FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg about an affiliation, finalized in 2012, to create JMOF-FIU.

Zerivitz is retired from JMOF and continues to write and lecture on Jewish history and discrimination, consult in the field and curate exhibits. She resides on St. Pete Beach with her husband, Elliott, whom she credits as her partner in this journey. She is credited with an innovative process that gave the world something they did not have before: the compelling story of one ethnic group in a hugely diverse Florida.


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