Program Details

Jews of Florida: Centuries of Stories

Marcia Jo Zerivitz
Jewish Culture & History / History
Video Catch-up

Course Description

This first comprehensive history of the Jews of Florida, from colonial times to the present, is a sweeping tapestry of voices spanning centuries. Despite not being officially allowed to live in Florida until 1763, Jewish immigrants escaping expulsions and exclusions were among the earliest settlers. They have been integral to every area of Florida’s growth, from tilling the land and developing early communities to boosting tourism and ultimately pushing mankind into space. The Sunshine State’s Jews, working for the common good, have been Olympians, Nobel Prize winners, computer pioneers, educators, politicians, leaders in business and the arts and more, while maintaining their heritage to help ensure Jewish continuity for future generations. This rich narrative, accompanied by 700 images, most rarely seen, is the result of three-plus decades of grassroots research by Zerivitz, giving readers an incomparable look at the long and crucial history of Jews in Florida. Book signing to follow.

About the Instructor

  • Marcia Jo Zerivitz, LHD, founding Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida - Florida International University, has been a Florida community trailblazer for more than half a century, serving in leadership and professional positions for national, state and local Jewish organizations. A native West Virginian, she has been a leader for Hillel, AIPAC, Israel Bonds, ORT, Hadassah, congregations and Jewish Federation where she served both as president (1978-80) of the Greater Orlando Jewish Federation and as a professional (1980-84). From 1984 to 1992, she traveled 250,000 miles throughout Florida, conducting grassroots research and retrieving the state’s hidden Jewish history, resulting in a major archive and the MOSAIC: Jewish Life in Florida traveling exhibit (1990-1994). In 1995, she created the Jewish Museum of Florida on Miami Beach. She initiated Florida Jewish History Month (Jan.) and Jewish American Heritage Month (May) and authored exhibits, books, and films.

Upcoming programs presented by Marcia Jo Zerivitz.

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