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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

November 17, 2017  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

New exhibit explores Jewish contributions to Orlando’s growth


This store is representative of the nearly 400 owned by Jewish families. (L-R) Sophie, Samuel and Kalman Kanner in their Orange Avenue store, 1905. 
Collections of the JewishMuseum of Florida-FIU,originated by Marcia JoZerivitz, LHD, FoundingExecutive Director This store is representative of the nearly 400 owned by Jewish families. (L-R) Sophie, Samuel and Kalman Kanner in their Orange Avenue store, 1905. Collections of the JewishMuseum of Florida-FIU,originated by Marcia JoZerivitz, LHD, FoundingExecutive Director The earliest Jewish religious services in the Orlando area were held in a citrus grove.

The story of the Orlando Jewish community where only five families were known to live at the turn of the 20th century to a population exceeding 30,000 today, is told in a new exhibition, Kehillah: A History of Jewish Life in Greater Orlando.

The exhibit is currently on display at the Orange County Regional History Center through Feb. 20.

The springboard to create the exhibition was the upcoming centennial of Central Florida’s oldest Jewish institution, Congregation Ohev Shalom. The Conservative congregation was founded in Orlando in 1918.

The exhibit’s name, Kehillah, is Hebrew for community and refers to the entire region including Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties. The display includes 450 photographs, 75 artifacts and an animated map of merchants to show how pioneering Jews arrived more than 150 years ago and helped transform the region from a cow town to a #1 tourist destination.


Rose Gleibman and Aaron Levy married in the Levy orange grove with the entire Jewish community in attendance, 1917. Rose Gleibman and Aaron Levy married in the Levy orange grove with the entire Jewish community in attendance, 1917. Although Jews were first allowed to settle in Florida in 1763, it was not until the end of the Civil War that Jews first arrived in Orlando. In 1875, merchant Jacob R. Cohen helped draft the Town of Orlando Charter and was elected alderman. Dr. Philip Phillips settled in 1897, amassed 5,000 acres to grow oranges and left a lasting philanthropic legacy.

At the turn of the 20th century, only five families comprised the Jewish community in the Orlando area until a migration of Jews from Pittsburgh in 1912 doubled the Jewish population.

Jews organized to preserve their traditions and became pioneers of business and industry entwined in the development of the region. The Jewish community even produced a Nobel laureate, Dr. Marshall Nirenberg, who received the prize in medicine in 1968.

A catalog accompanies the exhibition.

The Orange County Regional History Center is located at 65 E. Central Blvd. in downtown Orlando. For more information on hours and admission cost, call (407) 836-8500.

For more information, visit The- HistoryCenter.org.


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